In April 2010 the U.S. subsidiary of the Australian company Metal Storm has won a $1.48 development contract, awarded by the U.S. Marine Corps, for the development and demonstration of Mission Payload Module for the Non Lethal Weapon System (MPM-NLWS). The system is based on Metal Storm’s FireStorm weapon system.
This weapon addresses the corps’ requirement for an effective crowd control weapon, enabling a single HMMWV to cover a wide area. The system and payload should be effective at distances of 30-150 meters, disperse over 25 m2 or more within 4-8 seconds and incapacitate 75% of personnel within this target area for a minimum duration of 20 seconds or up to five minutes. The Marines intend to buy an initial batch of 312 MPM-NLWS in the first acquisition spiral. For this contract we lead a team including BAE Systems.
Originally, FireStorm was designed as a four barrel, 24 shot automatic grenade launcher, based on the EOS multi-purpose remotely controlled weapon station. The Marines will be able to tailor the system to their requirements, stacking 10, 15, or even 30 barrels on each platform, depending on specific requirements. For the demonstration testing the NLWS will be attached to the overhead gun shield also known as the Marine Corps Transparent Armored Gun Shield or MCTAGS. The FireStorm can fire both lethal and non-lethal munitions. For the non lethal munitions, different munitions could be used to deliver a wide range of effects, with frangible impact node, irritant, cargo rounds and advanced airburst flash-bang projectiles. The same system can also fire lethal grenades as well.
In April 2010 General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS) has won a $3 million contract for a technology demonstration (TD) and evaluation of its competing MPM-NLWS candidate system known as ‘Medusa’, developed in cooperation with ATK Aerospace Systems.
The GD-OTS ATK team plans to modify the advanced 66mm grenade and launcher technology to provide improved counter-personnel and non-lethal capabilities that temporarily incapacitate targets through intense light, sound and pressure stimuli.
The Medusa uses an articulated launcher and fire control system, firing non-lethal grenade munitions with electronic, in-tube, range-programmable fuzing that provides precision placement of the non-lethal effect. In addition to the new MPM, the launcher will retain its capability to deploy the current inventory of 66mm non-lethal and obscuration-effect.
Australian based Metal Storm ltd. has recently won two contracts for non lethal variants of its stacked, electronically fired weapon system. These wins underline the company’s recent shift into the developing market of non-lethal weapon and munitions, expected to rapidly grow in the coming years. The first contract was an order worth $3.36 million received from Papua New Guinea, to equip the island’s corrective service with 500 MAUL weapons and 50,000 non-lethal ammunition rounds. The second was a $1.48 development contract awarded by the U.S. Marine Corps in April 2010. This contract funds the development and demonstration of Mission Payload Module for the Non Lethal Weapon System (MPM-NLWS) based on Metal Storm’s FireStorm weapon system.
According to Dr. Lee J. Finniear, CEO of Metal Storm the two contracts indicate the company’s focus on non lethal weapon systems, realizing that its core technologies – lightweight, high firepower and capability to deliver accurate scalable response are essential capabilities for moderate warfare, peacekeeping and law enforcement applications. The employment of several payloads in succession without reloading is a unique advantage of the electrical firing method employed by Metal Storm. “This requirement is growing rapidly and few, if any technologies can compete with the clear advantage of Metal Storm.” Said Finniear.