As if bullets weren't good enough, we might soon find ourselves shooting each other around with molten projectiles. The MAHEM, or the Magneto Hydrodynamic Explosive
Munition, currently in development at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is supposed to shoot jets or chunks of molten metal which are able to take aerodynamic shape during flight with the help of a powerful electromagnetic field, allegedly created by an explosion.
The idea of shooting slugs of high velocity metal which melts on impact is, in fact, much older than many of us imagine. During World War II, similar projectiles shot with bazookas were used as High-Explosive Anti-Tank rounds, capable of penetrating the armor of the enemy tank by simply melting a whole into it.
"MAHEM could be packaged into a missile, projectile or other platform and delivered close to target for final engagement and kill," says DARPA. Not surprisingly, it could also be used as anti-tank munition and other missiles.
According to DARPA, MAHEM has the ability to disable the use of chemical explosives energy to form jets and fragments of metal, thus machining of the metal liners from which the fragments and jets are formed will no longer be required - a high precise and inefficient process.
Chemical explosives may eventually produce multiple jets and fragments from a single explosive charge, however neither timing or control is available for this process. With MAHEM, a single explosive charge can generate multiple jets and fragments which can be accurately timed and aimed for increased kill precision.
Because it can be packed into a small missile or projectile, MAHEM has greater mobility than other conventional weapons. For example, a lightweight vehicle could protect itself by using counter armor, mine countermeasures, and anti-ship cruise missile as final layer of defense.