Ambitious Military Techno-Failures: Top 10 Amazing Weapons That Never Made It

From Popular Mechanics, don’t miss 10 Weapons That Never Made It, with photos of super-cool failures. Below are two of my favorites. The Rocket-Bullet? How can you not want a Rocket Bullet?

Erik Schechter reports: Making a list of failed weapons systems, the temptation is to trot out the infamous ice-and-sawdust ship, the giant tricycle tank, or some other ridiculous doohickey. But the world of military programs is not neatly divided between the sublime and the stupid. There are a lot in-between cases.

never-weapons-01-1013-lgn-1Flying Platforms

Developed by Hiller Helicopters in the 1950s, the VZ-1 Pawnee was a one-person flying platform kept aloft by two rotors housed in a duct, allowing a single soldier to fire from the air. The vehicle lacked fixed wings or a tail rotor, so if the pilot wanted to bank to the left or right, he had to do so by shifting his body weight. (Think Marty McFly’s hoverboard in Back to the Future Part II.) Although it performed well during tests, the U.S. Army never deployed the VZ-1 Pawnee because it considered the craft too slow, too small, and too delicate for combat. Nowadays, the concept lives on in quirky recreational vehicles.

never-weapons-03-1013-lgn

Rocket-Bullets

In the 1960s, MB Associates developed the Gyrojet, a family of experimental guns that fired tiny rockets instead of bullets and did so in near silence. Despite making a cameo in the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice, though, the Gyrojet ran into plenty of problems. The rocket-bullet picked up speed only once it left the barrel, so the gun was useless at close range. It also jammed frequently and was not very accurate.

Nevertheless, alternatives to the conventional bullet still pop up now and again. Just last year, Sandia National Laboratories researchers developed a laser-guided, dart-like bullet that can hit a bull’s-eye a mile away.

 

Read more: 10 Weapons That Never Made It – Popular Mechanics


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