Rocket Balls - Pentagon's Kinetic Fireball Incendiaries
Rocket Balls are the latest Pentagon secret weapon to be splashed over the Internet. The idea is that you take a hollow sphere with a hole in it, made of rubberized rocket fuel. When lit, the rocket balls get very hot inside, and eject a high temperature exhaust through the hole. Then, they propel themselves every which way, bouncing off hardened walls and breaking through doors into whatever they can get into.
The key element is that they are not intended as explosives; it's the "rocket exhaust" that matters. The burning gas that propels the rocket balls will quickly heat the interior of a building or a bunker to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, destroying the contents.
The inventor, Kevin Mahaffy, worked as an engineer at Air Force Research Laboratory's Rocket Propulsion Division, and then spent three years as the Chief of the Motor Branch overseeing solid and hybrid rocket propulsion.
(Gas molecules in a chamber like rocket balls)
The random nature of the motion makes rocket balls ideal for destroying the interior of a structure. This might be your preference when taking out a chemical or biological warfare facility. Rather than blowing it up, and spreading deadly agents over the countryside, the building interior could be destroyed.
A similar idea - called a cracker - was used in Philip E. High's 1968 novel The Time Mercenaries:
The "bumblebees" are alien soldiers chasing the troops. The men retreated down the tunnel in good order, strewing pill-mines and the new human-Revain "crackers" as they went. Before they had gone a hundred yards, there was a livid flash and a brittle explosion. He caught a glimpse of three bumblebees being flung backward in gruesome pieces; behind them, however, the tunnel was packed with the things. A cracker started up, bouncing from roof to floor with each detonation and leaving wide gaps in the black, tightly packed ranks.
From Secret Rocket Balls Target WMD Bunkers; thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip and the sf reference for this article.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/14/2008)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 5 )
Related News Stories -
Squad X Core Technologies For Infantry
'You can flip through your several types of radar displays quicker than you can change channels to avoid a commercial...'- Robert Heinlein, 1959.
EXACTO Bullets Change Course In Mid-Air
'This little weapon ejects a rather ingenious missile...'- Philip E. High, 1966.
US Navy Laser Ready For Use
Fifty years from cartoon to reality. Thanks to a lot of engineers and visionaries.
China's Crab Walker Robot Tank In Firing Mode
'The mechanism was to consist of eighteen segments, each equiped with a pair of legs...'- Jack Vance, 1964.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Autonomous Cars Will Own Themselves
'The robot drew his cab up before Eric's modest six-room bungalow.'
World's First 3D Printed Villa
'It makes drawings in the air following drawings...'
Hyperloop Track Starts Next Year
Brainflight Brain-Controlled Drone
'Mr Gant, you must think in Russian. Can you do that?'
Students Control Lab Experiments Remotely Via App
'Hello, Europa... Is this your robot I'm looking at, in sector 94?'
ROBEAR Nursing Care Robot
What other robots are strong enough to carry you? Do you want them to do so?
Testing New Spacesuits In 1929 And 2015
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'
Space Station Kitchens 1929 and 2015
'Plates and cups ... slowly floated down to the floor and were not broken.'
Volvo's 'Drive Me' Program Offers Autonomous Cars In 2017
'She woke just before the signal from the car which would have called her...'
Squad X Core Technologies For Infantry
'You can flip through your several types of radar displays quicker than you can change channels to avoid a commercial...'
Neptune Duo Smartwatch Wearable Wristband
'[He] pressed several buttons on the wide bracelet he wore upon his left wrist...'
FAA Drone Rules Beta Ready For Comments
Drones, big and small, you're going to like them all.
'Cortical Modem' Latest On DARPA's Wishlist
'...inside his skull... is a little cylinder, that neuronic receptor-transmitter.'
The Martians Are On Their Way!
'Dense clouds of smoke or dust, visible through a powerful telescope on earth...'
GuardBot Robotic Sphere Of War
Much more ominous looking when they come after you.
Sony Aibo Robotic Dog Now With No Repairmen
'...they break down and then everyone in the building knows.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories