“Unexpectedly discovered”: Kinetic Rocket Fireballs

Exotic munitions expert and DEW Line pal David Hambling has uncovered the most intriguing idea for an agent defeat weapon I’ve ever seen in the open press.

It’s called … (wait for it) … kinetic rocket fireballs.


Hambling reports today on Wired’s Danger Room blog that the kinetic rocket fireballs — truly, a term unblemished by repetition — are a real thing. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency thinks it might be a new way to bomb bunkers without inadvertently releasing any chemical and biologically weapons into the atmosphere.

I checked out the patent to find out how they work. Here’s what it says. Note the term “unexpectedly discovered” — bet that’s a good story!

“The present invention provides an incendiary munition comprised of anouter shell or bomb casing, one or more incendiary submunitionstherein, and an igniter therefore. The incendiary submunition comprisesan incendiary portion, and at least onerocket motor that fires when the incendiary portion ignites. It wasunexpectedly discovered [emphasis added] that, during operation, the combustion of thesurface of the incendiary portion comprised of solid propellant createsa gas cushion that results in thelevitation of the incendiary submunition above the ground.

While being levitated by the combustion of the outer surfaceof the incendiary submunition, the rocket motor disposed within thesubmunition ignites and propels the submunition and the incendiaryportion violently around within the targetstructure. The combustion of the surface of the incendiary submunition,along with the firing of the rocket motor therein, liberates sufficientheat to produce elevated temperatures inside of a target structurewithout creating a substantialoverpressure or explosive effect.”


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4 Responses to “Unexpectedly discovered”: Kinetic Rocket Fireballs

  1. Fred 12 November, 2008 at 7:31 pm #

    Goodness gracious, great balls of fire!

  2. Mike 13 November, 2008 at 12:56 am #

    I think NASA has launched a few kinetic rocket fireballs over the years. Don’t think they actually planned it that way though.

    Great name for a band too.

  3. Matthew G. Saroff 13 November, 2008 at 5:12 pm #

    Ummmm…bad link on the patent.

  4. Stephen Trimble 13 November, 2008 at 8:43 pm #

    Sorry about that. I wonder if others are having the same problem? It works for me. Your browser needs to be able to use iPaper.

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