Ranged Weapons
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ID: 3959


June 6, 2007, 6:17 pm

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Nanofoam Ordinance


The initial use of Nanofoam Ordinance on large scale was clearly credited to the Army of Redemption, the militaristic offshoot of the Salvation Army.  Though unafraid of using military force to address wrongdoing in the colonies, the AIR is always looking for less-lethal weapons. 

Full Item Description

Nanofoam bombs have no specific appearance.  They can appear as typical gravity bombs, warheads on missiles or similar devices.  The foam itself before use is generally a thick, translucent liquid of varying colors (added to help in identification).  When expanded, the foam appears as white foam with a faint tinge of the color it was tagged with.


The initial use of Nanofoam Ordinance on large scale was clearly credited to the Army of Redemption, the militaristic offshoot of the Salvation Army.  Though unafraid of using military force to address wrongdoing in the colonies, the AIR is always looking for less-lethal weapons. 

The weapon has been derived from the same research that went into the RR80 Corpsman‘s Envelopment foam.

Since the initial introduction of gas-permeable impeding foam, other military groups have added their own formulations with varying effects and ranges of lethality.


The primary property of this substance is significant impediment to movement within an area. Secondary properties of the foam vary greatly with different applications in mind.  The foam is quite stiff and adhesive in nature once activated.  Fibrous linkages within the foam serve to impede movement of infantry as well as wheeled and legged vehicles.

Both expansion and subsequent collapse are triggered by nanobots included in the foam.  Upon activation, the bots release catalysts which trigger rapid expansion or disintegration of the foam. 

The foam can be produced in formulations with differing levels of gas-permeability.  Foam which is gas-impermeable is vary dangerous to any air-breathing lifeforms as they can be easily suffocated by sufficient quantities.  Even small quantities can be dangerous to individuals in low or enclosed places.

Other variants

1.  Insulating Foam
    While powered armor and environmental suits can prevent suffocation by the foam, when enclosed by heavy insulation suits and vehicles can experience dangerous to deadly heat-buildup unless most systems are powered down.

2. Conductive Foam
   This foam is highly conductive to electricity and when combined with shock discharge devices imbedded in the foam can serve numerous roles depending on the severity of the discharges used.  It can be used for crowd control or as a lethal weapon with the advantage that much less foam is required.

3. Obscurative Foam
   This foam is far less rigid then normal foam and is little more then a long-lasting smoke.  It would be laid heavily into an area prior to orbital drops.  The foam serves to block IR and can block radar with the correct additives.  Soldiers dropped into the foam are somewhat protected from being targeted before they recover from the drop.  It can also be used in any situation where smoke would be used, but with much more controlled persistence.

4. Bioactive Foam
   This foam is laced with other chemical or biological agents.  It is not generally dense enough to seriously impede movement, but is resistent to dissipation by wind. As a result, it can deny areas for much longer then typical chemical agents. 

5. Pyrotechnic Foam
   Related to Napalm, this foam is generally somewhat impeding in nature but will ignite on command once expanded.


The foam can be delivered by a wide range of systems, from hand thrown grenades, AFVs, mines, gravity bombs, missiles, etc.  It can be used pretty much wherever conventional explosives would be used against land targets. The foam expands too slowly to be of much use vs fast-moving targets.

A pillbox even occupied by power-armored infantry can be neutralized without casualties by a well-thrown Foam grenade - it will fill the entire interior of the fortification immobilizing the defenders.

AFVs can use Foam Grenades in place of smoke grenades to obsure themselves.  The foam in this case would be electrically conductive and IR blocking to aid in hiding the vehicle in question.

An airfield or planetary spaceport can be greatly impeded by a thin coating of adhesive foam.

Use in crowd control is an obvious use, with political concerns determining the level of lethality employed.


With sufficient enemy intelligence available, the command signals for the nanobots can be ‘hacked’ and the foam can be deactivated.  These singnals are of course heavily encrypted and difficult to hack, but not impossible.  The processors carried by the nanobots have limited capability.

A suit or vehicle can have counter-foam chemical sprayers installed. 

Infantry can actually carry foam grenades of the permeable type to create ‘bubbles’ of non-lethal foam around themselves to survive until the hostile foam dissipates.  The foam bubble would still only have a limited oxygen supply.

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Comments ( 10 )
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Voted Scrasamax
June 6, 2007, 12:48
The first thing that came to mind was a James Bond-ish nanofoam bomb concealed in a travel sized container of toothpaste or mouth wash. A twist of the cap and a toss and a room is suddenly filled with narcotic laced foam, or acidic foam. Interesting idea, but I dont think it would see widespread use in military and paramilitary units. Great for slowing down and stopping riots though.
June 6, 2007, 12:58
Any particular reasons it would not be used? The US army is currently looking at using it for less-then-lethal situations:

In addition as a non-lethal weapon, its use for concealment (ie smoke), vehical impediment have been actively explored in real life. Apparenlty patents for the above have been applied for.

For why it would used for lethal warfare, it would fill the same role as chemical or neutron weaponry - kill poorly equipped personnel and leave hardware untouched.

In the case where the battlefield is dominated by very good assault armor, difficult to defeat with light weapons, entombing such units would be a viable solution.
June 6, 2007, 14:53
Okay, I tried to read the links but they are full of intensive terminology and beaurocratic lingo. Made my eyes cross. But what I did get from it before going half blind was that non-lethal solutions were to be used in Operations Other Than War (OOTW). this would be peace-keeping and police actions not troop on troop combat.

Otherwise, it's foam, don't go munchkin with it.
June 6, 2007, 15:30
You really should'nt use the term 'munchkin'. Them's fighting words... :)

But I agree that in a true 'shooting war' where powers of similar strength are duking it out, these would have little use against line troops. One can create a much larger killing zone with conventional explosives pound per pound, then you would with a lethal foam.

The Setting I was envisioning (but not detailing enough) has many opportunities for less-lethal weapons to be deployed. With space travel and equipment being expensive, ways to fight without wrecking valuable equipment, or destroying useful labor forces has greater appeal then it would have in a Big War.
Voted Wulfhere
June 6, 2007, 13:05
Well-presented and credible, these materials seem to be a reasonable advance on current aerogel-type technologies. Like Scrasamax, I picture nanofoam readily used as riot-control gear: A material that can be used to immobilize civilian rioters, then selectively shut down to enable police/troops to deal with the rioters.

The incindiary foam could readily be used as an area denial weapon or deployed for demolition work, while the bioactive foam would be used as a medium to support other agents when adverse wind conditions would otherwise prevent their use.
Voted manfred
June 6, 2007, 16:46
So here's the foam that one occasionally heard about, and very nicely developed up to the more specialized/exotic forms. The titles didn't need to be that big, it is a fine item. :)

To add another type:


Constructive foam

Soft as any foam upon initial dispersal, it becomes hard after a condition is met (typically after a set time, an issued command, or when the right catalyst is added). Of course it is not concrete, and you can forget making it a bulletproof wall, but it will provide a quick shelter, hold that collapsing dam for a little extra time together, imitate buildings, or allow some creative souls to make themselves a pretty little home, or a piece of art. If a soldier has duct tape in his pack (and he should have), a little foam could be also useful.

Warning: do not attempt to create or visit multiple story buildings made of foam, injuries may occur.
June 6, 2007, 18:16
I was playing with formats. I'll demote them. They will get over it...
Voted Cheka Man
June 6, 2007, 16:53
Only voted
Voted Siren no Orakio
June 6, 2007, 17:24
Now this.. is good nanotech. Two thumbs up.
Voted Murometz
June 6, 2007, 20:43
cool. Foam Wars!


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