Australian company Metal Storm, which came up with a number of innovative firearm and ammunition designs, has gone into receivership with $115 million in debt.
Famous for inventing an electronic weapons system that did away with brass shell casings and could fire a million rounds a minute, Metal Storm has been struggling to sell its technology, especially in the ongoing world financial crisis.
The basis of Metal Storm’s technology was a system that lined up propellant and projectiles in a barrel, with an electronic system to fire them one at a time in quick succession.
Formed in 1994, Metal Storm claimed to be the first to perfect this kind of system after inventor and founder James O’Dwyer eliminated the tendency for the first round to set off those behind it.
The guns were quick-shooting and, because the ammunition did not rely on metal casings, light. A primary use was in multi-barrelled military weapons designed to cover a large area.
Metal Storm also produced multi-shot grenade launchers and other weapons for the military, and its main focus became 40mm weapons.
The company won some contracts with the US military and established additional offices in the US.
Earlier this month it was organising finance that failed to come through, leaving it in a perilous situation and forcing a freeze on share trading.
“The board of Metal Storm hope that the company can be successfully restructured though the voluntary administration process or its business sold as a going concern,” the company said in a statement.