Navy's New Railgun Zaps Old Record

A railgun is the stuff of science-fiction and video games. Instead of firing an explosively fired projectile, a railgun uses an electromagnetic current to accelerate a non-explosive bullet to several times the speed of sound. On Friday, at 11 AM today, the Navy set a record, by producing a 33-megajoule firing, more than three times the previous record it set in 2008.

Rear Adm. Nevin Carr, chief of naval research, said in a Navy report on the test:
"The 33-megajoule shot means the Navy can fire projectiles at least 110 nautical miles, placing sailors and Marines at a safe standoff distance and out of harm's way, and the high velocities achievable are tactically relevant for air and missile defense. This demonstration moves us one day closer to getting this advanced capability to sea."

Compare that distance with the capabilities of the Iowa-class battleships, the last great battleships of the U.S. Navy. These could hurl an armor-piercing shell 24.06 miles.

Friday's test was run at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, VA, the same place where the prior record was set. Without the need for explosives to propel the shells, life on a Navy ship would be a lot safer. The Navy still many issues to overcome. However, the Navy expects fully functional railguns on the decks of U.S. Navy ships in the 2025 timeframe.

Watch a video on the test firing below.
Via:  US Navy
inspector 4 years ago

So what will we be launching with this rail gun? Maybe some rocks? xD

MMcCutcheon 4 years ago

thats sweat. thats a huge distance too!

SammyHayabuza 4 years ago

A huge distance it is!! By 2025 , The Navy will be playing "Asteroids" from earth!!

Der Meister 4 years ago



realneil 4 years ago

It hurls compressed blocks of pre-shredded Aluminum so far, but there are other ideas in the works. It's kinetic energy is awesome.

Check this link for another weapon that we're perfecting these days.


EDIT: It seems that we can't upload an ASX streaming media file here, or I'm too old and slow to get it done. So if you search for the file name, you can see it through your trusty Google search connection. It's a clip of the Boeing Airborne Laser in action and it's impressive as can be.

The 'Star Wars' Weapons System finally works as planned. (Lordy, just don't ask what it cost to get to this point!)

lipe123 4 years ago

To use "railgun tech" it has to be a metallic projectile because the propulsion is basically a series of magnets that accelerate the object.

Better explanation:

pinya 4 years ago

maybe those who make "mac art" will use the railgun to make mac art :D

DeathPaladin 4 years ago

You all joke, but does nobody see how frightening this is? Imagine what's going to happen when they perfect this. Imagine if they manage to make firing a nuke with this thing feasible, i.e. Metal Gear Solid (video game reference was all I could think of). You're talking undetectable long-range nuclear strikes moving so fast as to be virtually unstoppable by ANY modern-day missile defense systems.

Why couldn't we have just stuck with swords, lol. Maybe those ridiculous LARP kids are onto something. At least the death toll would be reduced.

realneil 4 years ago

[quote user="DeathPaladin"]You're talking undetectable long-range nuclear strikes moving so fast as to be virtually unstoppable by ANY modern-day missile defense systems[/quote]

Yes, it probably could be developed in that direction, but why. We already have undetectable stealth bombers and probably undetectable stealth cruise missiles by now too.

From what I have read so far, the main benefit to this weapon is it's kinetic energy delivered upon strike. Heavy weight traveling at incredible speeds produces incredible shocking power and tremendous damage.

Humans really do think of some weird ways to kill lots of people fast,.......

Joel H 4 years ago

The lightest nuke ever built was 50 lbs. The projectiles used in previous tests weighed about 5 lbs. Can't find info on the projectile this time, but firing railguns creates tremendous amounts of heat which can easily warp the rails used to build the gun in the first place. Warped rails = useless gun.

Besides, the idea of firing nukes is silly when a railgun can accelerate a 2 lb bar of tungsten fast enough to punch through a tank.

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