US Navy unveils electromagnetic railgun prototypes

 

by sycotik

Prototypes of the US Navy’s much vaunted electromagnetic railguns were unveiled this week. The new technology, capable of firing projectiles at up to 5,600 miles per hour, is set to revolutionize naval warfare.

The Navy demonstrated two working railgun prototypes aboard the USS Millinocket in San Diego, developed by the Office of Naval Research. The high-tech weapons function by using an electrical pulse which creates an electromagnetic force to propel a projectile

In addition to supplementing or replacing traditional artillery aboard Navy vessels, railguns also offer a large price advantage over conventional missiles. Railgun projectiles are believed to cost about $25,000 per unit – 100 times less than traditional missiles, according to Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, Chief of Naval Research.

“We only have so many [missiles] on our ships. I can put hundreds and hundreds of these projectiles on our naval vessels with that gun system,” he said.

The downside to current railtech technology is a shorter projectile range, some 110 miles, as conventional missiles can still travel about twice as far, said Klunder.

“We think that it is part of our future,” he said. “And we think that it truly is going to make our adversaries very, very nervous in the future.”

One additional advantage of railguns is the absence of potentially dangerous propellants. According to John Perry of BAE Systems, which was awarded the prototype contract chosen by the US Navy, that could make future warships safer for the men and women serving aboard them.

The new railguns fit into the Navy’s current three-pronged plan to boost its firepower, which includes reviving its long-range missile capability lost after the retirement of the 600-mile-range Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile system. Defensive missiles would likely be replaced or enhanced by ship-based lasers, while railguns would complement (but not replace) offensive long-range missiles.

Despite any shortcomings, the main advantage of the railgun will be the unprecedented kinetic projectile speed, which is some six times faster than a bullet fired from a standard handgun and delivers 32 megajoules of energy.

“Literally it is like taking a huge freight train and going through the wall that's a few feet to my left at over 100 miles an hour. Right through that wall,” said Klunder.

In anticipation of railgun deployments, the Navy is already building vessels capable of producing the energy needed for operating them – that being America’s newest and largest destroyer class, the Zumwalt. Three DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class vessels will be launched in the coming years.

The Navy predicts that railguns could be rolled out as soon as 2017, and plans to mount a prototype aboard a Joint High Speed Vessel the year prior for further testing.

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Recent Comments »

phydeau site profile image  

7/14/14 1:25 PM by phydeau

What's the RoF?How large is the bank of capacitors that services that thing, compared to a magazine full of Harpoons?

Drunkie site profile image  

7/13/14 4:24 AM by Drunkie

thats called a understand  me maker

Squatdog site profile image  

7/13/14 4:22 AM by Squatdog

...made by British Aerospace.

RockTheVote site profile image  

7/13/14 1:46 AM by RockTheVote

All I'm saying is everything within 110 miles of china's coast is toast if they ever try to sink our economy. Ping pong checkmate, chin.

FETT_Loadin76 site profile image  

7/13/14 1:43 AM by FETT_Loadin76

I want one

GucciGucciGucci site profile image  

7/13/14 1:19 AM by GucciGucciGucci

...

Faux Sho site profile image  

7/13/14 1:13 AM by Faux Sho

USA! USA! USA! USA!

TX_432 site profile image  

7/13/14 1:10 AM by TX_432

Rail

GucciGucciGucci site profile image  

7/13/14 1:10 AM by GucciGucciGucci

'MURICA !!1

Metal Box Combatives site profile image  

7/13/14 1:09 AM by Metal Box Combatives

Rail.



 

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