Need to disarm an IED? Make sure you've got your Super Soaker handy. Sorry, make that your "Fluid Blade Disablement Tool."
The Stingray, the military's newest bomb-fighting tech, is a small water gun developed by Sandia National Laboratories and a firm called TEAM Technologies. Far from dousing roadside bombs with water, it uses an ultra-high-pressure water beam to slice through steel, ripping bombs open before they can harm troops. Watch below as a propane tank meets an untimely end.
The Stingray involves a clear plastic water tank, about the size of a coffee pot, attached to an explosive charge. The detonation creates a shock wave that propels water toward a concave opening in the reservoir, which shapes the water into a blade. The device works at short range and over long distances, according to Sandia Labs.
Its plastic legs can be attached in various configurations so it can be placed almost anywhere to disable bombs. Paul Reynolds, TEAM Technologies' program manager, said it is simple enough for robots to set up.
Sandia first built the Stingray in 2009 and licensed the technology to Albuquerque-based TEAM Technologies for mass production. Perhaps appropriately, the water gun's inventors include retired Navy personnel, including a sailor with IED experience and a former Navy SEAL explosives expert.
The water acceleration happens too quickly to be observed by the human eye, so researchers had to use computer simulation and high-speed flash X-rays to fine-tune their design. Active-duty troops visited New Mexico to test the Stingray, according to Sandia Labs.
TEAM Technologies sent its first shipment of about 3,000 Stingrays to Afghanistan this summer.
we used something similar to this while I was deployed in Afghanistan. similar as in a water charge. but we just used a 1 gallon water jug and a couple ft of det cord. we usually put it near the inside corners of an exterior wall to blow a huge hole in it. (MOS 0351)
In some ways I'm surprised that this is only happening now, or maybe it is only happening now because they figured out a xouple years ago that it could be widely used.
Water-jet technology has been around since the 1980's. It was developed at the University of Missouri-Rolla, where they cut a scale-model (functional) Stonehenge as a proof-of-concept. It was then used to expand the museum beneath the St. Louis Arch because conventional methods might have caused the Arch to fall. Those were both stone-cutting, but they were able to cut through steel, too.
I guess the real advance here is using an explosive to propel a small amount of water to make it portable.
Cool device, though, and hopefully it will save a lot of lives!
I guess the real event now is the fact that is now mass produced.
ouch... a supersoaker that simulates a water bullet. now thats serious water fighting.
but at such high velocity, why doesnt the water vaporize?
I just hope the terrorists dont figure out how to use it.
Water is kept coherent by the focusing effects of the narrow opening, so that the water streams through as a large mass instead of as droplets.
Same way a waterjet works. Without the opening, I'm sure the explosion would push the water in every direction and not be too effective.
But, what I want to know, is how much material can this device cut through? They probably don't want to advertise that, as it would allow terrorists to know it and just use something just a bit thicker than the device can cut through, though.
If the device uses explosives anyway, why do they even need water? just blow up the thing and get it over with.
lol i was expecting to see a watergun that could saw people in half, like they make clean cuts in steel/other stuff with.
which would have been more awesome, btw. who is going to walk up beside an IED with a bag of explosives and water, really? i mean, i thought IEDs involved someone with a remote control hiding behind a sand dune practicing animal husbandry with a camel, waiting for someone to get close to the bomb so they can push the button. and then others probably set up more like a claymore..
but this is not a super soaker. it's not a watergun. it is more like a water claymore. i play the video and instead of seeing someone shoot a killer supersoaker at a propane tank, i see them sit a bomb beside it. i could have achieved the same results with a bullet, and stayed at a much safer distance at all times.
I don't get this. How is blowing up the IED with water explosives better than blowing it up with explosives we already have? What isn't PopSci telling us in this article?
@darcon77 and suddenmischief:
I think what is happening is that they are not actually blowing up the IED but rather disabling by cutting through it with water. As water does not compress, its entire mass gets pushed out at high velocity, which allows it to cut the IED without detonating it.
Thanks Prime, that kind of makes sense. Though I might need a good old fashioned diagram to actually understand how it accomplishes this. Still, weak report on part of PopSci to leave us with such fundamental questions.
@thor0997 huh? why? it would be awe-full if terrorists decreased the number of bombs in the world. I have seen a ton of stuff like this on the now canceled show: future weapons. They did a lot of stuff with water. Like the first poster was saying. blowing holes in walls was one of them
@Domin8or yeah but what if you are driving along and some dude throws one in your lap. or you enter a house and there is one sitting right there. There are lots of instances in the battle field where you need and want a lot of different approaches.
They have had 12,000psi, even with silica sand or aluminum particles added to the stream, cleaning steel hulls, concrete, and will quite literally cut through 8" of concrete or 1/2" steel plate,,, making the equipment smaller would be the issue.. the other issue is physics...only 200lb guys could operate the so called wand which looked like a space gun with a half circle shoulder stock. Some lighter guys were literally lifted into the air.... the third and last problem is where does the water come from.... True story: construction job, General Contractor/ Engineer in charge would not let us have a 4" water main for a water source..when we subsequently attached to the airport's water hose bib (one of country's ten largest airports), the 12,000 psi water blaster sucked ALL the water out of the airport, there was no water to flush a toilet, nor any at a sink or water fountain, anywhere in the entire airport terminal. When they finally figured who was the cause, we had airport manager, police, GC and the Engineer rushing out 'stop, stop'. We got the 4" water main (separate water supply for fire)
Well I just rolled up my pant legs, its getting kind of deep in here. davzway, your equipment sucked the water system of one of the nation's largest airports dry? Come on guy, a large airport will have multiple water feeds for its use. You state your equipment requires a 4" main for supply, yet when you hooked onto a hose bib it sucked the water mains dry? The last major airport I worked on had multiple 12" water mains supplying water and there is absolutely no way equipment requiring a 4" supply would suck even a portion of the airport dry. Your story doesn't hold water. I'm assuming you meant fire hydrant rather than hose bib? The smallest fire main I ever installed was 4" pipe, standard is 6" and either one would provide the volume of water you said your equipment required.