US Navy Scraps Sci-Fi Railgun For New Advanced Weapons Tech In Response To China
In what feels like a Déjà vu moment, the U.S. Navy has decided to ditch its electromagnetic railgun weapons system. Back in 2018, we reported on a Chinese warship spotted with its own railgun after the Navy scrapped the idea then. Now, the railgun has seemingly been tossed once more in favor of hypersonic missiles in a hyper-expensive game of catchup.
In the past several years, the Associated Press reports that the Office of Naval Research has spent approximately $500 million on research and development for the now-defunct railgun project. While the technology could have been close to being deployed, the range, rate of fire, and wear and tear with every shot posed massive issues for use at sea according to Bryan Clark, an analyst at the Hudson Institute.
Now, the Defense Department is reportedly turning its eye to hypersonic missiles and other directed-energy weapons systems like lasers. These weapons have been selected for research to keep up with China and Russia in the short-term, but Lt. Courtney Callaghan, a Navy spokesperson, explained that the Office of Naval Research could pick up the railgun research in the future if it so chooses.
As the Department of Defense pivots to this new research, it does leave some ships, such as the USS Lyndon B. Johnson, without a planned main weapon. There is, however, the potential for a conventional weapons system to be installed and then retrofitted later so it can shoot hypervelocity projectiles.
Whatever the case, it is an interesting move to try and keep up with other countries, and we will be curious to see where the research goes. In any event, let us know what you make of all of this in the comments below.