Recently the US Navy made a record setting test for the railgun, which is believed to be the most powerful weapon of the US Navy. This weapon has been a dream for decades and it seems that this dream is turning into reality.A railgun is a weapon that uses electromagnets to accelerate a projectile to very high speeds.This metal rails actually allow the passage of a large electric current to pass through the projectile and interacts with a strong magnetic field generated by the rails.
On Friday, the Navy test fired their electromagnetic railgun, shooting out a projectile nearly 110 nautical miles. In terms of energy and speed, the shot hit 33-megajoules and traveled at Mach 5, five times the speed of sound, or around 3,800 miles per hour.
“This demonstration moves us one day closer to getting this advanced capability to sea,” Rear Admiral Nevin Carr said in a statement.
Tested in the Navy’s Dahlgren Surface Warfare Center in Virginia, the 33-megajoule shot broke the world record, the Navy noted. In 2008, a 10-megajoule railgun was tested.
To put it in perspective, a single megajoule of energy is equivalent to a one-ton vehicle moving at 100 miles per hour.
The super-charged shot places “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,” Carr said, adding, “this demonstration moves us one day closer to getting this advanced capability to sea.”
One of the reasons why the Navy favors firing projectiles out electromagnetically is because it reduces the need to fire off explosive warheads and traditional forms of gun propellants. “Removing explosives and chemicals will reduce the munitions logistic chain,” the Navy stated.
Another reason why the Navy is testing out the technology is because of its range. With further testing, the gun could hit targets nearly 20 times farther than normal Naval combat systems.
According to Roger Ellis, the electromagnetic program manager, the Navy has invested around $ 200 million worth of investment for this program that started back in 1995. And the Navy was inspired to do this project as they try to eliminate the presence of explosives in the ship and bring significant safety and logistics benefits as well.
However, the Navy has a long way to go before it can finally turn the railgun into a working weapon.
Checkout the video below.