Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to carry out initial feasibility studies for an unmanned air vehicle gun system capable of firing rates of tens of millions of rounds per minute against ground targets.

DARPA's $350,000 funding is an extension to a $10.5 million contract awarded in March to develop a sniper rifle based on emerging multiple barrel, electronically controlled weapons technology. Metal Storm managing director Michael Dwyer says the funding will also support studies for a new close-in weapons self-defence system for warships and military vehicles.

Dwyer says the proposed UAV gun system is intended to "provide robotic and remote control vehicles with capabilities ranging from a mix of calibres and types of ammunition within the same weapons system for offensive and self-protection applications, tothe delivery of chemical teargas - and smoke rounds for use in tactical operations."

Earlier this year Metal Storm revealed initial work for a ground attack system based around 40mm grenade "boxes" that would be carried beneath a manned fighter in a pod or integrated into the fuselage of a dedicated UAV (Flight International, 4-10 April).

Source: Flight International