back to article Steel Cloud servers to power US Navy robo-cannon kit

Virginia based SteelCloud Inc is to provide ruggedised commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) servers for use in the US Navy's "Gunslinger" programme. Gunslinger seeks to equip combat vehicles, boats and robots with automated weapons turrets which can detect the muzzle blasts and flashes of enemy gunmen and deliver a devastating …


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  1. The Bastard

    Not American, I think.

    When I was a member of the North Sydney Rifle Club, I remember some tests been carried out by some guy whom invented a system to detect where a bullet was coming from. Typically, the Australian Government failed to support him, so I don't know what happened to him over the course of the years, but it was exactly designed to locate and assist in returning fire.

  2. Daniel Wilkie

    Two things then...

    First off, why the Navy? Wouldn't the Army be the more logical choice to investigate this (and don't even ASK how it would be useful on ships, I wouldn't imagine they routinely come under small-arms fire...)

    And secondly, how is it going to differentiate between friend or foe? American troops have trouble doing that with bloody great armoured vehicles painted in recognition markings so how could they tell a man, probably hidden, through a camera?

  3. Adrian

    Already been done

    By Discovery channels 'Future Weapon' program (with the baldie ex-SEAL) - 1 or 2 years ago he did a program whereby sensors listened in for rifle shots and showed on a computer screen where they came from in a 3D sort of simulator.

  4. Seán

    Even Friendlier Fire

    So any shiny bit of metal within 1/4 mile is going to be shot to bits. At least now they will be able to blame the computer instead of just promoting retards for killing allies.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Yeah... but...

    "An automated, powered mount will then whip round, training an M240G medium machinegun on the hostile gunman."

    Translated from the American becomes..

    "An automated, powered mount will then whip round, training an M240G medium machinegun on what it has identified as a source of hot gasses."

    <pedant shield>Yes, Yes, there is a human operator involved at the moment. There has been a human operator involved in almost every case of friendly fire recorded, though.</pedant shield>

  6. John Langham-Service

    BSOD anyone


    Sorry I can't return fire now going for full system reboot in




  7. Matt


    Navy has Marines. They routinely deal with small arms fire.

  8. TeeCee Gold badge


    Presumably anyone firing a high-velocity round at you is either unfriendly or you need to get better friends.

    We should buy this. The Yanks might start taking target identification a bit more seriously once making one of their famous "friendly fire" mistakes means that they're likely to get automatically hosed with robotic gunfire by return......

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Hot gases ?

    So it would be ill-advised to smoke or start an engine nearby to one in action then ?

    Even if you were just a spectator.

  10. Stuart Van Onselen

    Easy to avoid

    I'm under the impression that they're not trying to supress sustained attack here, but rather individual sniper rounds.

    In that case, all you need to do is take one shot, and immediately duck behind a wall. By the time the gun has slewed to your position, you're not visible anymore!

    OK, so now snipers are restricted to one shot at a time. How many were they taking before? I suspect Darwinism has long since claimed any sniper foolish enough to take a second pot-shot at a Humvee - There is already a non-zero chance that one of the crew members will spot you before your next shot, and have the gunner unleash a load-a-pain in your direction.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Navy

    Matt, the US Armed Forces consist of the US Air Force, the US Army, the US Navy, and the US Marine Corps. The Marines are definitely not part of the Navy

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Hey now, unfair!!

    I've read that up to 1/3 of all allied combat deaths since WWI are due to friendly fire. I'm sure that Brits, Canadians, and Aussies wouldn't like to claim that they never, ever pwned their own.

    If Americans are doing most of the damage its probably because we are providing 98% of the air assets in our joint ventures. You guys put more aircraft up and I'm sure you'll soon start enjoying your fair share of own goals.

    Supposedly the blue force locator technology is doing a lot to reduce the number of friendly-fire incidents. I don't know how interoperable this stuff is yet for ground forces.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    stands for "Marines Always Ride in Navy Equipment" though. Navy choppers, Navy planes. ISTR even the drivers for the trucks and AFVs are Navy rates not Jarheads. Their Corpsmen are all Navy. That still being the case, you can see why USN might be doing the vehicle-borne system testing and development, neh?

  14. Neil

    Re: USMC ns Navy

    the US Marines are a separate branch of the military to the Navy BUT are part of the Department of the Navy politically. So its the DoN who would asses the viability of new robo-jarheads.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    A Plan!

    OK so i gaffer tape a AK47 to a side of flimsy constructed infants school / orphanage, attach a piece of string to the trigger, retreat to a safe distance, wait for the GI's to role past, pull, string, blatt off a whole magazine at them, maybe get some collateral damage (hey i am trying to think like a terrorist here), wait for the automated response of a few hundred 7.62mm / .50 calibre bullets or 40mm grenades to come flying back at my gaffer taped gun (and children) and hey presto a nice headline on the news. "US Infidels murder 50 children, pictures courtesy of anonymous source who just happened to be there"

    The only problem i forsee is the human link in the chain who controls the final decision to fire.............. Oh hang on its the Yanks, they shoot first and often dont bother asking questions later ............. better hope they dont get a computer to govern the fire command, probably shoot less often.

    Success, and no bomb building hassles and if i want to save on string i can always get a martyr to help out.

  16. Solomon Grundy

    Re: Navy and AC

    Hahahaha. Idiot. The US Marines are most certainly part of the Navy. The Marines (aka Jarhead's) don't like to admit it but it's the truth. The Navy guys (aka Squids) are the top of the American armed services food chain. They run the ships, the vast majority of aircraft, and a massive surface combat force (Marines), in addition to leading research into a majority of things military-IT oriented.

    If you're in doubt just look at the US Marines official seal and read what it says there at the top - then get back to us.

  17. Turbojerry

    re:Easy to avoid

    Iraqi snipers already do that, Google for Juba.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Reloading metalstorm

    I thought it was easy to reload , the entire barrel/ammo section is dropped and a new one slotted in for the greande launcher or other metal storm products.

    The most impressive was the sniper gun with computer control, nothing complex although the acoustic/heat/flash sensor would be useful. Just that the gun can be zeroed in and pick up wind speed, range and angle to make the best possible shot, and monitor the amount it missed by if needed, then readjust.

  19. StopthePropaganda

    @ "the bastard"

    not only audio detection, but the whole MetalStorm system is Aussie as well. What is it down there that has you guys making up awesome weapons kit?

    Now if only ya hadn't gone after that guy with the homemade cruise missile...or was he NZ? I forget.

  20. nagyeger

    More scary options...

    1) Computer does careful study of sound waves to get a direction. Oops computer confused by an echo, but there's someone there, lets shoot him then.

    2) Detect & locate flash, detect bang, point gun at guy beside flash, pointing something at you, fire. Oops the flash was his camera's flash gun.

    3) Detect a real gun flash, detect bangs, hear bullets going right past you. Shoot your friends who just took out the guy with the RPG on the other side of vehicle.

    I've got itǃ You make your friends wear a uniform that's say.. bright orange, then you won't accidentally shoot them. Oh. that's been tried hasn't it?

    Or maybe you put an RFID on everyone you trust, so you can spot them. No. the enemy just asks father Christmas for an RFID detector.

    So urm...

    Bullet-tracking radar?

    Thicker armour-plating?

  21. Anonymous Coward

    "close enough"

    <The "crack" is the sonic boom of the bullet passing, which you hear if it comes close enough.>

    Actually, you're a lot more likely to hear it if it doesn't come /too/ close.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Metalstorm ?

    How could someone dare to name his futuristic roman candle gun

    "Metalstorm" ? This is one of the worst Sci-Fi movies ever made.


    For the roman candle, see:

    (17h century scottish guns)

  23. kain preacher


    The LAPD has been using a acoustic system to pen point gun shoots for the last 7 years now. Funny thing is its not always manned

  24. Charles Manning

    The cops use gunshot locators

    These use microphones mounted up high with differential timing to determine where the guns were fired. Apparently works pretty well.

    No need to return fire. Just let the gangstas shoot the shit out of eachother.

  25. Mike Hocker

    Re: Easy to Avoid

    Typical sniper has to man his gun personally (not yet by proxy... yet).

    Of more concern are urban areas, maybe a max bullet travel time of 1S more likely 0.5S or less.

    Computer and mechanical response 0.5S

    human response 1S (IFF, could be shorter with more complicated cameras)

    Return fire 0.5-1S transit.

    OK Mr Sniper you have 2.5-3.5S (and possibly as much as 1S less than that) from pulling the trigger to escaping The Wrath of Robo the Kid, of which 0.5S is likely wasted having to stabilize the gun. You also need to avoid the inevitable indirect fire lobbed grenade (in case you think an armored wall will help).

    In free fire zones, the perp will typically only get a few meters, a lethal blast radius of 2-5M will probably exterminate the pest. Like rats they will get smarter though-- jump down 3 story deep holes in the building after firing, shoot from bus loads of orphans, etc..

    But what I really want to know about Robo the Kid and his injun sidekick Steel Cloud is: what is the name of the steel horse he rides??

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Jared Syn?

    God, what an awful flick

  27. Ishkandar

    Wonderful !! Wonderful !!

    I just can't wait for its first full rollout to the press !! Just imagine the tons of press photographers and their flashguns popping away at it .......

  28. crayon

    @Easy to avoid

    "In that case, all you need to do is take one shot, and immediately duck behind a wall. By the time the gun has slewed to your position, you're not visible anymore!"

    No, in that case the jerks will fall back to SOP and call in airstrike(s) to level the wall/building that you're hiding behind/in, and maybe the surrounding ones too for good measure.

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