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Toy company hired to arm US military Answered

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A gun that fires variable speed bullets and which can be set to kill, wound or just inflict a bruise is being built by a US toy manufacturer. The weapon is based on technology used to propel toy rockets.

Lund and Company Invention, a toy design studio based near Chicago, makes toy rockets that are powered by burning hydrogen obtained by electrolysing water. Now the company is being funded by the US army to adapt the technology to fire bullets instead.

Bruce Lund, the company's CEO, says the gun works by mixing a liquid or gaseous fuel with air in a combustion chamber behind the bullet. This determines the explosive capability of the propellant and consequently the velocity of the bullet as it leaves the gun. "Projectile velocity varies from non-lethal at 10 metres, to lethal at 100 metres or more, as desired," says Lund.

The existing VWS design is a .50 calibre (12.7 mm) rifle weapon, but Lund says the technology can be scaled to any size, "handgun to Howitzer".

Experts warn that fatal mistakes could be made in stressful situations, with angry soldiers turning the dial up on mobs, or forgetting to turn it up when confronted by a situation that requires a lethal response.

Me, I think we're more likely to find all the secret Star Trek fans crawling out of the military woodwork, cries of set weapons to "stun", Number One echoing across the training grounds...

As an aside, Lund are the people behind Tickle Me Elmo as well, which makes images of armies of armed Elmos marching towards a mob; Hee hee hee, this will tickle, hee hee hee!

Article in New Scientist

19 Replies

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Capt. Howdy (author)2009-04-25

LOL another attempt at the gyrojet. I remember those from the 70's. You could stick your finger in the barrel and thats as far as the bullet went. It could take you down if you were 50 yards out though. The bullets took a long time to reach lethal velocity.

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its a lion (author)Capt. Howdy2009-04-25

That's exactly what I thought of when I read this, just couldn't remember the name of it.

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Capt. Howdy (author)its a lion2009-04-25

I just put two and two together. Your picture + it's a lion. I really did LOL

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its a lion (author)Capt. Howdy2009-04-26

Yep. It comes from this picture:

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Capt. Howdy (author)its a lion2009-04-26

Hilarious, i want that on a T-shirt.

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Capt. Howdy (author)its a lion2009-04-25

Would love to have one for a conversation piece.

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Kiteman (author)Capt. Howdy2009-04-26

The gyrojet used rocket-bullets - effectively small missiles - with all the fuel, casing etc going with the bullet. This is is very like the standard bullet - an inert slug propelled by a single explosion in the chamber. The difference is that, in normal bullets, the explosive is a fixed amount of cordite or similar, whereas this uses a variable amount of hydrogen/oxygen, which is what changes the lethality of the projectile.

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Capt. Howdy (author)Kiteman2009-04-26

Oh,i see. I'll have to keep an eye on this and see how it turns out.

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KentsOkay (author)2009-04-26

Way cool, I planned on building a rocket working on the same principles so I didn't have to buy one form Estes...

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DJ Radio (author)2009-04-25

I hope they dont mix up the toy guns they sell in toy stores with the guns for the US army.

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Kiteman (author)DJ Radio2009-04-26

It doesn't matter if they do - it is now illegal to sell toy guns to under 18s in the UK, on pain of a £2000 fine.

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KentsOkay (author)Kiteman2009-04-26

LAME Y'all are too gun sensitive, it's not going to do your country any god in the long run....

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DJ Radio (author)Kiteman2009-04-26

But this is a US toy company making guns for the US army.

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Kiteman (author)DJ Radio2009-04-26

And the idea will probably be bought by the UK.

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TwistedParadox (author)2009-04-22

It's like Toy Soldiers, also NewScientist rocks

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Big Bwana (author)2008-07-25

Sure why not we have arms companies that make cluster sub-munitions / landmines which look like toys and balls and they even paint them bright orange and pink..... (( eyes roll )) So why not have a toy company make arms maybe they can make them look like weapons so unsuspecting kids know what they are and don't mistake them for a toy ??

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Gjdj3 (author)2008-07-24

Wow. That's an interesting article. A toy company, of all things! I'm not quite sure what I think of the technology. It just sounds too prone to accidents.

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