The Navy’s new Railgun can launch a shell at over 5,000 MPH


US Navy use the power of the Force to wage war.

His latest weapon is an electromagnetic rail launcher. It uses a form of electromagnetic energy known as the Lorentz force to launch a 23-pound projectile at speeds exceeding Mach 7. Engineers have already tested this futuristic weapon on land, and the Navy plans to begin testing in sea ​​aboard a joint high-speed ship Millinocket. in 2016.

“The electromagnetic railgun represents an incredible new offensive capability for the US Navy,” Navy chief engineer Rear Admiral Bryant Fuller said in a statement. “This capability will allow us to effectively counter a wide range of threats at relatively low cost, while ensuring the safety of our ships and sailors by removing the need to carry so many highly explosive weapons.”

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The huge rail cannon that only needs a single sailor to operate it relies on the electromagnetic energy of the Lorentz force – the combination of electric and magnetic forces on a point charge – for its power.

The Navy loves the weapon for several reasons including its 100 mile range and not requiring explosive warheads. This makes it much safer for mariners and cheaper for taxpayers. According to the Navy, each 18-inch projectile costs about $ 25,000, compared to $ 500,000 to $ 1.5 million for conventional missiles.

“[It] will give our opponents a huge moment of pause before they leave: “Do I even want to go engage a warship?” Rear Admiral Matt Klunder told reporters. “Because you are going to lose. You can throw anything at us, frankly, and the fact that we can now shoot a number of these cartridges at a very affordable cost, I think they don’t win.

The Navy has been talking about using railguns for ten years. The Office of Naval Research launched a prototype program in 2005, with an initial investment of $ 250 million committed through 2011. The Navy plans to spend significantly more by 2017.

Of course, the military is also interested in having one, and the Pentagon is generally interested in many aspects of the technology. In July, the Navy will present the prototype electromagnetic rail gun at Naval Base San Diego.

“Frankly, we think it might be a good time for them to find out what we did behind closed doors in a Star wars fashion, ”Klunder said. “This is now the reality. This is not science fiction. It’s real and you can watch it.

120621-N-PO203-041DAHLGREN, Va. (June 21, 2012) The second of two Office of Naval Research (ONR) electromagnetic (EM) Railgun industry prototype launchers is being evaluated at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Division Dahlgren. General Atomics and BAE Systems have both designed prototypes of next-generation EM Railguns capable of increasing rates of fire. The EM Railgun is a long-range weapon that launches projectiles using electricity instead of chemical propellants and is under development by the Department of the Navy for use on board ships. (US Navy photo by John F. Williams / released)Photo: John F. Williams / US Navy
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