Rods From... Well, Not God. Maybe Saint Barbara.

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This baby step towards Rods From God could also be called "Brads from Brad," Brad being any Redleg firing this munition, coming soon to a tube near you:

The modern military is borrowing an idea from Robin Hood to deal with unexploded landmines. Patents filed by US defence contractor Raytheon concede that current landmine clearance is ineffective, especially if mines are in sand or under water.

But the company has developed a shell containing hundreds of steel "arrows" – 155 millimetres long and 15 mm in diameter – that can trigger landmines with a single shot.

Each rod has a flared rear end, like the feathers of an arrow, and hundreds can be packed into a single cylindrical shell. This shell can be lobbed into a mined area and just before impact a charge behind the arrows will fire them downwards. The metal flights will keep the arrows on a straight course so that they pepper the area at high velocity and at regular spaces.

Tests show that a shell containing hundreds of arrows can wipe out every mine in an area several metres square, even when the mines are buried under sand or under nearly a metre of water. GPS can also be used to guide the shells into overlapping patches in order to safely clear a wide area.

Let's think about some unintended consequences:

  • Scrap metal dealers in landmine-heavy areas overjoyed at the thought of money falling from the sky
  • Every crop grown in a field cleared this way will be iron-fortified
  • It'll drive metal detector-wielding battlefield scavengers batty - how are you supposed to find that ultra rare swivel hook from the Zimbabwean model ZM-214 field mess kit if your detector is going off every second?
  • A two-fer: ground mole and turf aeration problems solved forever!
  • For seaborne application, thousands of metal rods quickly moving through salt water will disrupt the earth's magnetic field, possibly waking the Elder Gods (I know Dave is hoping for this one)
[Full Disclosure and disclaimer - I work for Raytheon. That doesn't necessarily mean I think this is a good idea.]

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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on November 28, 2005 3:04 PM.

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