Toy Rocket Inspires Variable Speed Bullets

Lund and Company Invention, a toy design studio based near Chicago, makes toy rockets that are powered by burning hydrogen, allowing them to travel at various speeds. Now the company is being funded by the US army to adapt that technology to fire bullets which can be set to kill, wound, or just inflict a bruise instead. This technology could help the US Army which is interested in arming soldiers with weapons that can be switched between lethal and non-lethal modes.


 Hydrogen Fuel Rocket (Credit: Lund and Company Invention, L.L.C.)
Hydrogen Fuel Rocket toy
(Credit: Lund and Company
Invention, L.L.C.)

This new weapon, know as the Variable Velocity Weapon System, or VWS, enables the soldier to use the same rifle for crowd control and combat by simply altering the muzzle velocity. While loaded with rubber bullets it can deliver blunt impacts on a person while it can also deliver full-speed lethal rounds or projectiles somewhere between the two.

The gun works by mixing a liquid or gaseous fuel with air in a combustion chamber behind the bullet. The mixture determines the explosive capability of the propellant which consequently determines the velocity of the bullet as it leaves the gun.

The weapon, which produces less heat and light than traditional guns, can also be made lighter and potentially have a high power setting for long-range sniping.

While police already fire non-lethal projectiles from standard shotguns, they are termed non-lethal but can cause bruising or even broken ribs.Lund says that the new weapon system will use different bullets for lethal and non-lethal use, preventing police forces from using separate shotguns for non-lethal and lethal occasions.

The existing VWS design is a .50 caliber (12.7 mm) rifle weapon, but Lund says the technology can be scaled to any size, “handgun to Howitzer.” A demonstration version will be ready within six months and the VWS could go into production within 18 months of approval, according to Lund and Company.

TFOT recently covered a gunship that fires lasers instead of bullets as well as a gun which stops bullets in mid air and a robot to participate in a shooting competition.

More about the new toy inspired rifles could be found at the Chemical & Engineering News’s website.