The U.S. Navy railgun video that has been released may give us a glimpse into the sheer awesomeness of the electromagnetic railgun, but in February, the general public will have a chance to check out the railgun in person.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, you might be surprised to find out that much of the advanced weaponry in the video game Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare is based upon real research being developed by DARPA, defense contractors, and NASA.
On February 4 and 5 of this year, the U.S. Navy railgun will be on public display at the Naval Future Force Science and Technology (S&T) EXPO in Washington, D.C. for the first time. Experts from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Naval Sea Systems Command, and BAE Systems, Inc., will be available to take questions at the display. The expo will also feature special panels where the experts will address the technical developments of the U.S. Navy railgun.
“This year’s Expo will showcase the naval portfolio of innovative breakthrough technologies that are shaping our warfighting tactics today and changing the way our sailors and Marines will operate in the future,” said Chief of Naval Research (CNR) Rear Adm. Mat Winter, according to the DoD science blog. “The Electromagnetic Railgun is among several disruptive capabilities that the Naval Research Enterprise is championing to ensure a dominant, capable and relevant naval force for the future.”
The U.S. Navy plans on having their electromagnetic railgun weapon start at-sea testing in 2016. The railguns are capable of firing non-incendiary projectiles at speeds in excess of 5,600 mph, which is six times faster than a bullet, over distances of 110 miles. Of course, even traveling at Mach 6, or six times the speed of sound, the time to target would be about one minute, 11 seconds.
The Navy railguns were developed by BAE Systems, and deliver up to 32 megajoules of energy. They operate by sending electrical pulses over magnetic rails to generate electromagnetic force, which drives the hyper-velocity projectile. Each one of these projectiles costs around $25,000, but traditional missiles are much more expensive. The round currently has what’s called command guidance, and can already be used to intercept nuclear cruise missiles, but may be engineered for self-guidance in the future.
“We’re talking about a projectile we’re going to send well over 100 miles. We’re talking about a projectile that can go over Mach 7. We’re talking about a projectile that can go well into the atmosphere. We’re talking about a gun that is going to shoot a projectile that is about one-one hundredth of the cost of an existing missile system today,” said Adm. Matthew Klunder, Chief of Naval Research, said according to Military.com.
There are other benefits to the projectile design. The 23-pound projectile can be fired from Navy 5-inch guns and even 155mm artillery weapons. Since the railgun’s firepower relies upon kinetic energy instead of conventional explosives, this means U.S. Navy ships will no longer need to take on as many high explosives, which also minimizes the dangers of unexploded ordnance remaining on the battlefield.
“The Electromagnetic Railgun brings significant technological advances to our sailors and Marines,” said Roger Ellis, program manager at ONR. “As the system moves forward along its planned schedule from the laboratory launcher, we’ve achieved breakthroughs in compact power and gun design, and will test the next phase of prototype at both sea- and land-based sites in 2016 and 2017.”
If you want to register for the expo to see the U.S. Navy railgun up close, more information can be found here