by David Crane
June 10, 2004
The following article contains a link to the DREAD Weapon System Video. This is the first time this video has ever been shown to the public. The DREAD depicted in the video is a functional prototype that operates on a less-than-lethal mode. This prototype was dismantled for security purposes to protect the technology, after the making of this video. As of this posting, DefenseReview (DefRev) is the ONLY publication in the WORLD that has any written materials or video footage, or any information whatsoever, for that matter, on this revolutionary new weapon system.
Imagine a gun with no recoil, no sound, no heat, no gunpowder, no visible firing signature (muzzle flash), and no stoppages or jams of any kind. Now imagine that this gun could fire .308 caliber and .50 caliber metal projectiles accurately at up to 8,000 fps (feet-per-second), featured an infinitely variable/programmable cyclic rate-of-fire (as high as 120,000 rounds-per-minute), and were capable of laying down a 360-degree field of fire. What if you could mount this weapon on any military Humvee (HMMWV), any helicopter/gunship, any armored personnel carrier (APC), and any other vehicle for which the technology were applicable?
That would really be something, wouldn’t it? Some of you might be wondering, “how big would it be”, or “how much would it weigh”? Others might want to know what it’s ammunition capacity would be. These are all good questions, assuming of course that a weapon like this were actually possible.
According to its inventor, not only is it possible, it’s already happened. An updated version of the weapon will be available soon. It will arrive in the form of a tactically-configured pre-production anti-personnel weapon firing .308 caliber projectiles (accurately) at 2,500-3000 fps, at a variable/programmable cyclic rate of 5,000-120,000 rpm (rounds-per-minute). The weapon’s designer/inventor has informed DefRev that future versions of the weapon will be capable of achieving projectile velocities in the 5,000-8,000 fps range with no difficulty. The technology already exists.
The DREAD Weapon System is the brainchild of weapons designer/inventor Charles St. George. It will be 40 inches long, 32 inches wide, and 3 inches high (20 inches high with the pintel swivel mount). It will be comprised of only 30 component parts, and will have an empty weight of only 28 pounds. That’s right, 28 pounds. The weapon will be capable of rotating 360 degrees and enjoy the same elevation and declination capabilities of any conventional vehicle-mounted gun/weapon.
The first generation DREAD (production version), derived from the tactically-configured pre-production weapon, will most likely be a ground vehicle-mounted anti-personnel weapon. Military Humvees (HMMWV’s) and other ground vehicles (including Chevy Suburbans) equipped with the DREAD will enjoy magazine capacities of at least 50,000 rounds of .308 Cal., or 10,000 rounds of .50 Cal. ammo.
But, what is the DREAD, really? How does it work? In a sentence, the DREAD is an electrically-powered centrifuge weapon (a.k.a. centrifugal weapon), or centrifuge “gun” (a.k.a. centrifugal gun). So, instead of using self-contained cartridges containing powdered propellant (gunpowder), the DREAD’s ammunition will be .308 and .50 caliber round metal balls
(steel, tungsten, tungsten carbide, ceramic-coated tungsten, etc…) that will be literally spun out of the weapon at speeds as high as 8000 fps (give or take a few hundred feet-per-second) at rather extreme rpm’s, striking their targets with overwhelming and devastating firepower. We’re talking about total target saturation, here. All this, of course, makes the DREAD revolutionary in the literal sense, as well as the conceptual one.
According to the DREAD Advantages
Sheet, “unlike conventional weapons that deliver a bullet to the target in intervals of about 180 feet, the DREAD’s rounds will arrive only 30 thousandths of an inch apart (1/32nd of an inch apart), thereby presenting substantially more mass to the target in much less time than previously possible.” This mass can be delivered to the target in 10-round bursts, or the DREAD can be programmed to deliver as many rounds as you want, per trigger-pull. Of course, the operator can just as easily set the DREAD to fire on full-auto, with no burst limiter. On that setting, the number of projectiles sent down range per trigger-pull will rely on the operator’s trigger control. Even then, every round is still going right into the target. You see, the DREAD’s not just accurate, it’s also recoilless. No recoil. None. So, every “fired” round is going right where you aim it.
One of the ammunition types the DREAD Centrifugal Weapon will be delivering downrange is the “Collision Cluster Round”, or “CCR”, that will be used to penetrate hard targets. The Collision Cluster Round (CCR) is explained in more detail on the munitions page
of the DREAD Technology White Paper (links below). The DREAD Advantages
Sheet also lists all the other advantages that the DREAD Weapon System enjoys over conventional firearms.
And, all this from a weapon that doesn’t jam. Remember how at the beginning of the article I wrote “no stoppages or jams”? The DREAD won’t jam because, according to its inventor, it can’t jam. The DREAD’s operating and feeding mechanisms simply don’t allow for stoppages or jams to occur. It thus follows that the DREAD Centrifuge Weapon will be the most reliable metallic projectile launcher/ballistic device on the planet. DefRev is not at liberty to publish exactly why the DREAD can’t jam, since Mr. St. George hasn’t given us permission to describe the gun’s operating and feeding mechanisms in any detail.
The only thing the DREAD’s operator will really have to worry about is running out of ammo, which isn’t likely. Any reasonably skilled gunner (Humvee, APC, Apache attack helicopter, etc.–doesn’t matter) should be able to avoid running through all 50,000 (or more) rounds of .308 Cal. or 10,000 (or more) rounds of .50 Cal. ammo prematurely, especially when he or she can dial down the DREAD’s cyclic rate to 5,000 rpm or slower, if necesssary. Even if it becomes necessary to increase the DREAD’s magazine capacity to upwards of 100,000 rounds (.308 Cal.) or 20,0000 rounds (.50 Cal.), and run the weapon all day and all night for weeks on end, this will have absolutely no effect whatsoever (positive or negative) on the reliability or durability of the weapon system. The DREAD is both heatless and frictionless, and doesn’t generate any high pressures. So, there’s virtually no wear and tear on the system, no matter how many rounds are fired through it back-to-back, even if it’s run constantly on full-auto at 120,000 rpm, the whole time.
Here’s the kicker: because it’s electrically powered and doesn’t use any powdered propellant for it’s operation, the DREAD Centrifuge Weapon
is virtually silent (no sound signature), except for the supersonic “crack” of the metal balls breaking the sound barrier when they’re launched. This makes the direction that the rounds are coming from, and their point of origin (firing source), very difficult for enemy forces to identify. It also allows the operator to communicate easily with his team, or with his command structure, while
he’s still firing on the enemy (with the DREAD). With the DREAD, he won’t have to fight to communicate over his own weapon’s firing report. And, since the gun doesn’t generate any muzzle flash or heat (it’s heatless and frictionless, remember?), it doesn’t produce any flash signature or heat signature. So, identifying the gun itself with IR (infrared) sensors will be impossible. The vehicle that the DREAD is mounted on is the only thing that will display a heat signature. That leaves you with a difficult-to-detect/locate weapon with a virtually endless suppy of ammo. Even if the DREAD-equipped vehicle does get identified and fired upon by the enemy, the risk of a catastrophic explosion from a bullet strike on the ammunition supply is zero, because the DREAD’s ammunition doesn’t contain any propellant. There’s no gunpowder onboard to blow up. That just leaves the gas tank (vehicle’s). Nothing’s foolproof.
There’s more. Since the DREAD/MPDS (Multiple Projectile Delivery System)
is a centrifuge weapon, projectile velocity can be adjusted instantly back and forth between lethal and less-lethal/non-lethal modes. This means it can be utilized just as effectively for embassy security and peacekeeping roles. As an embassy security weapon, the less-lethal/non lethal mode would most likely be the way to go, in most cases. Less-lethal is usually adequate for any crowd control or riot control situations. However, let’s say the crowd starts storming the gates, and now presents a lethal threat to the occupants inside. Well, just pull your Marines inside, switch your remotely-operated battery of DREAD’s on over to lethal mode, and make survival above ground impossible for anyone outside the embassy. No one gets in. Same thing goes for military base security. Remote DREAD Centrifuge Gun Pods can be outfitted with heat and motion sensors, and left in unmanned areas. These remote pods can be either human-operated, or pre-programmed with both less-lethal/non-lethal and lethal protocols that will function automatically and not even require human operation. Mobile robotic platforms, including remote-controlled Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicles (UGCV’s), could also be outfitted with DREAD systems. And, the list goes on. The technology application possibilities/potential uses are virtually endless.
So, what’s the upshot? It’s DefenseReview’s opinion that, if the DREAD Weapon System works as advertised, it will have a profound impact on U.S. infantry warfare capabilities. It has the potential to literally change the way we fight on the ground, and perhaps even in the air. No question, it will revolutionize both ground and air vehicular armament and firepower capabilities. The DREAD will have a similarly profound impact on U.S. embassy security and military base perimeter security capabilities. This paradigm shift in firepower isn’t limited to the ground and air, either. The DREAD’s complete lack of recoil will allow it to be fired from space-based platforms, i.e. satellites, without knocking them off of their respective orbital paths. Zero recoil, plus 8,000 fps projectile speeds, 5,000-120,000 rpm capability, and huge on-board ammunition supplies, equals a viable and relatively inexpensive option for satellite defense (and enemy-satellite neutralization), and possibly even a fast-realizable armament solution/alternative for a U.S. Space-based defense network.
Look out, DREAD’s comin’.
DREAD Video Download Intstructions:
to read about the DREAD Weapon System’s advantages over conventional small arms.
The links below will take you to the specific pages of the DREAD Technology White Paper:
Charles St. George
has been working in the small arms field for quite some time, now. He started Leader Dynamics, a small arms design and development firm, in Australia in 1978. This is where he designed and developed the Leader assault rifle. St. George left Leader Dynamics in 1981. In 1982, he formed Armtech (also in Australia). At Armtech, Charles and his team, four men total, including him, created the M18 Assault Rifle, which was subject of a tender. St. George and his team were able to put a technical data package (TDP) together for the M18 and produce a complete, fully interchangeable weapons family, i.e. a light machine gun, assault rifle, and submachine gun, plus 350 production drawings, in 90 days to satisfy the Australian government’s 1986 Small Arms Replacement Program’s Request for Tender (RFT). Keep in mind that the technical data package had to conform to D14 NATO trial requirements.
During those 90 days, St. George’s team also produced the video and brochures for the M18 weapons family. When they issued the Request for Tender (RFT), the Australian government didn’t think that anyone in Australia would actually be able to submit a candidate weapon, especially not within the time deadline. Private companies ended up sponsoring the Armtech team, because the Australian government had said it would give preference to an Australian submission. Ultimately, this wasn’t true. The Australian government, instead, gave preference to the Steyr AUG. They told the Armtech team that the M18 wasn’t “combat proven”. Keep in mind this was during peacetime.
The assault rifle version of the M18 later became the ART 30 bullpup rifle. The Bushmaster M17S is based on the ART 30 bullpup assault rifle. However, Bushmaster made some design changes to the rifle, so the M17S is significantly different from the Armtech ART 30, especially in the area of combat performance.
So, how does a guy go from designing/developing conventional small arms to creating a centrifuge weapon? Well, for a couple of years, before he even entered the infantry small arms field, St. George worked at Sharples Centrifuges (1964-1966). St. George simply combined his centrifuge knowledge with his knowledge of infantry small arms to create the DREAD.
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