November 13 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Security Year: 2010 Rating: 3
The Pentagon is being very hush-hush about it, but a secret weapon we posses in the US military is a solid rocket-fuel incendiary fireball. Meant to take out chemical weapons labs or underground bunkers, these fireballs burn up anything located inside the structure without blowing it up. “These are hollow spheres, made of rubberized rocket fuel; when ignited, they propel themselves around at random at high speed, bouncing off the walls and breaking through doors, turning the entire building into an inferno.” If there’s one thing that could ruin a persons day, it’s a bunch of solid rocket-fuel fireballs bouncing around in a small area.
Due to the secretive nature of the new weapon, not much is being said, but Wired, who initially reported the story, says that it’s quite possible the fireballs (named “CrashPAD” and “Shredder”) have been put into some sort of low-rate production. One wonders if this was the secret military weapon Bob Woodward was talking about a few months ago.
Does this have a future in the US Military?
The great thing about the fireballs is that they are relatively harmless to the actual building they are set off in. The high temperatures achieved by the rocket balls burn so hot for so quick that it leaves the structure intact. There’s no explosion, there’s no fragments, and surrounding buildings wouldn’t be harmed. The quick high temperatures are ideal for chemical weapons labs — chemicals are burned up and not spread around by any explosion.
The problem lies in the fact that most of the world frowns upon such weapons. Flamethrowers were an effective weapon in quite a few wars over the centuries, but the public scorned them due to the “horrific death they inflict.” It’s questionable if rocket balls could fare any better, especially once people see the kind of damage they can inflict. But the government being tight-lipped about it insures the fireballs survival for now.
What sort of weapons could we see coming from this?
If the rocket balls get the green light, expect it to become as handy to a soldier as a grenade. Hostiles in buildings are incredibly hard to weed out, unless of course you take out the whole building. With a fireball grenade, you could empty a building and still leave it standing. With no building safe from fireballs, enemies may have to hide out in much more open places (which make them easy pickings).
A truly shocking weapon when one stops to think about it. Against a weapon such as that, who has a chance?
Image: millicent_bystander (Flickr,CC-Attribution)