shockwave cannon consists of a tubular barrel with a mathematically defined
tapering diameter within the chamber, an intake nozzle valve with flash
arresters for fuel and oxygen, a purge valve for air, and a spark ignition
device. This particular shockwave
cannon is approximately 1 meter in length with a 10 cm I.D. chamber.
It operates by producing a small explosion in the back of the chamber
that in turn fires a burst of compressed air that is formed by the specific
physical and dynamic properties of the shockwave cannon and the barrel’s
internal geometry. At no time is a
projectile loaded or fired from the shockwave cannon.
Only a burst of compressed air exits the barrel.
This burst is a high speed rotating vortex of air.
The sensation of this vortex as it impacts on a person or object is not
unlike being hit by a pillow. Thus, local individuals successfully targeted by
the system will feel a real impact of air on their body and react accordingly.
study and several previously constructed and operated shockwave cannons have
been used for research into this portion of the project. The chamber is purged
with compressed air as part of the automatic cycling process.
This system can operate continuously for long periods time without human
Vortex Gun History below (note that the version described below is of a much
larger scale than the current gun used in the Gallery Shooting Gallery system):
Vortex Gun was originally designed and built by Dr. Zimmermeyer, an Austrian
scientist, at an experimental institute in the Tyrol at Lofer. It basically was
a mortar barrel of a large caliber sunk in the ground. The first experiments
with compressed air were a failure. It was originally intended to have the
function of creating an artificial whirlwind or tornado that would hopefully
make enemy airplanes lose control and thus knock them out of the sky. If all
circumstances were perfect and favorable, the strange device seemed to work
fairly well. Numerous high-speed films were taken and processed for analysis and
study, which concluded that the rotation and forward-moving vortex was in fact
able to start the formation of a fairly large vortex. Although it was unknown
whether the pressure changes of the tornado would be strong enough to cause
frame failure in enemy aircraft caught in the air current, it was known that the
pressure on wing loading might be excessive. In the years before this invention,
it was known that clear-air turbulence had brought down large airliners and
broken them into pieces. It seemed possible and feasible that Dr. Zimmermeyer's
unlikely-sounding cannon could have the same effects too. The range of the
prototype was estimated to be about a hundred yards, even though the gun was
never used in practice. But similarly designed guns have been used as Non-Lethal
weapons in several uprisings and confrontations.