Navy evaluating second electromagnetic railgun innovative naval prototype

Oct 10, 2012

The Office of Naval Research's (ONR) Electromagnetic (EM) Railgun program is evaluating the second of two industry railgun prototype launchers at a facility in Dahlgren, Va., officials announced today.

The EM Railgun launcher is a long-range naval weapon that fires projectiles using electricity instead of traditional gun propellants such as explosive chemicals. Magnetic fields created by high electrical currents accelerate a sliding metal conductor, or armature, between two rails to launch projectiles at 4,500-5,600 mph.

The Navy is pursuing development of the launcher system through two industry teams— and BAE Systems—to reduce risk in the program and to foster innovation in next-generation shipboard weapons.

"It's exciting to see how two different teams are both delivering very relevant but unique launcher solutions," said Roger Ellis, EM Railgun program manager.

General Atomics has delivered its prototype launcher to Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division, where engineers have engaged in a series of tests similar to the evaluations conducted on the prototype demonstrator made by BAE Systems that arrived on Jan. 30.

"We're evaluating and learning from both prototype designs, and we'll be folding what we learn from the evaluations into the next phase of the program," said Ellis.

Both General Atomics and are commencing work on concept designs for a next-generation prototype EM Railgun capable of increased firing rates. This includes continued development of automatic projectile loading systems and for the barrel. Officials plan to evaluate the concept designs at the end of the year.

The EM Railgun is an Innovative Naval Prototype being managed by ONR's Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department. The two prototype demonstrators incorporate and improved barrel life performance resulting from development efforts on laboratory railgun systems located at the Naval Research Laboratory and NSWC-Dahlgren Division.

The EM Railgun laboratory demonstrator based at NSWC-Dahlgren Division fired a world record setting 33-megajoule shot in December 2010. One megajoule of energy is equivalent to a 1-ton car traveling at 100 miles per hour.

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hemitite
not rated yet Oct 10, 2012
I wonder if they could use something like this as an EMP weapon?
ValeriaT
not rated yet Oct 10, 2012
EMP weapon requires high voltage, whereas the railgun works best with as low voltage, as possible (it uses a single loop coil, so you need high current instead). For purposes of EMP weapon the coilgun construction is more compatible. Which is the reason, why the railgun is not powered with capacitors, but with homopolar generators (sorta shortcut dynamo).
hemitite
not rated yet Oct 10, 2012
Thanks Val!
Lex Talonis
1 / 5 (2) Oct 11, 2012
I like the tech, the research and the capabilities of the weapon.

I also like the idea of developing a reliable mass accelerating system, where a minimum of reliable launches, can be made without any or at least excessive barrel wear.

To be able to get beyond 1 shot = worn barrel to 3 shots = totally fucked barrel; up to say 300 to 500 absolutely reliable firings with negligable barrel wear.

Forget the Bank Financed, Tax Payer Funded, Wars of Jew Theft, Fundamentalist NAZI USA stand over merchant schemes, of robbing everyone else for what they can....

If the tech and materials can be sorted out to give high rates of reliable firing with minimal barrel wear, this is starting to put space launches of the hardware into the realm of 1000Kg launches, in say 100 firings per day.

That would make space launches very cost effective.

I still like the idea of the space elevator though.
Lex Talonis
1 / 5 (2) Oct 11, 2012
I like the tech, the research and the capabilities of the weapon.

I also like the idea of developing a reliable mass accelerating system, where a minimum of say 500 reliable launches, can be made without any or at least excessive barrel wear.

To be able to get beyond 1 shot = worn barrel to 3 shots = totally fucked barrel; up to say 300 to 500 absolutely reliable firings with negligable barrel wear.

Forget the Rothschild / Fed Reserve (private bank) Financed, Tax Payer Funded, Wars of Jew Theft, Fundamentalist NAZI USA stand over merchant schemes, of robbing everyone else for what they can....

If the tech and materials can be sorted out to give high rates of reliable firing with minimal barrel wear, this is starting to put space launches of the hardware into the realm of 1000Kg launches, in say 100 firings per day.

That would make space launches very cost effective.

I still like the idea of the space elevator though.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Oct 11, 2012
I like the tech, the research and the capabilities of the weapon.

Except that it's - by all possible military scenarios - a fairly useless weapon.
NotAsleep
not rated yet Oct 16, 2012
In its current state it's not militarily useful. Like every weapon that came before it, this will need to mature before it finds a home. The final product (if it comes to fruition) will be a valuable asset