Electromagnetic Railgun, US Navy’s new futuristic Weapon System

Railgun or Electromagnetic Railgun, this new US navy super gun, truly belongs to the future that every body imagined. I’m talking about all of those space fiction movies with electrical guns that can shoot powerful light bullets. American Navy has just tested the new generation of super weapons. This new generation of the super weapons use super magnetic propulsion instead of the previously chemical based propulsion systems. This new weapon system work just like the high speed electrical trains. This new method of propulsion will increases the range of the big guns, decrease the price of each bullet, reduces the storage place needed to store a certain amount of ammunition needed for certain operation (this is going to help a lot in battle ships). Also, because of the nature of the new gun, and no need to store traditional explosive ammunition in the middle of the ship (which will drastically expand the life of the ship in the middle of the battle).

(courtesy of: usnavyresearch)

And here is another video of the same system, back in 2012. Just look at that magnificent slow motion fly of the load.

(courtesy of: usnavyresearch)

here is a quick rundown on what the railgun (or electromagnetic railgun) is based on wikipedia:

A railgun is an electromagnetic projectile launcher based on principles similar to those of the homopolar motor. A railgun uses a pair of parallel conductors, or rails, along which a sliding armature is accelerated by the electromagnetic effects of a current that flows down one rail, into the armature and then back along the other rail.[2]

Railguns are being researched as weapons that would use neither explosives nor propellant, but rather rely on electromagnetic forces to impart a very high kinetic energy to a projectile, (e.g. APFSDS). While explosive-powered military guns cannot readily achieve a muzzle velocity of more than about 2 km/s, railguns can readily exceed 3 km/s, and perhaps exceed conventionally delivered munitions in range and destructive force. The absence of explosive propellants or warheads to store and handle, as well as the low cost of projectiles compared to conventional weaponry come as additional advantages.[3]

Nevertheless, any cost-benefit analysis between chemical propellant and electromagnetic (EM) propulsion systems for weapons applications should also factor in the reliability and survivability of the EM power supply that must be co-located with the projectile launch system. In addition, many arguments in favor of EM guns revolve around the questionable assumption that greater muzzle velocity is always better.[4] Parametric relationships between range, payload weight, and launch velocity show that this is not a strong argument for many suggested EM gun applications.[5] For example, due to lower aerodynamic drag at launch, a slower but heavier projectile may actually fly farther than a lighter faster one, making the velocity limitations of chemical propulsion perfectly acceptable. In addition, explosive fragmentary warhead lethality is largely unaffected by velocity and does not require more demanding hit-to-kill guidance electronics that may not survive extremely high gun launch accelerations. Significantly, Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP) and shaped charge warheads already drive what is technically a kinetic energy penetrator to velocities well in excess of EM gun launch capabilities, up to 8km/sec for a shaped charge, upon detonation with the target; and it has been demonstrated that with respect to armor penetration, increased impact velocity much above 2 km/sec does not necessarily result in a deeper hole; (although the crater may be wider as more energy is deposited with increased impact velocity).[6]

In addition to military applications, NASA has proposed to use a railgun to launch “wedge-shaped aircraft with scramjets” to high-altitude at Mach 10, where they will then fire a small payload into orbit using conventional rocket propulsion.[7] Alternatively, the extreme g-forces involved with direct railgun ground-launch to space may necessarily restrict the usage to only the sturdiest of payloads or very long rail systems to further reduce launch acceleration (McNab 2003).[8]


Here are couple of images the electromagnetic railgun in operation, from the two videos:


Here is the picture of the bullet, right after its exit from the gun and right after breaking the sound barrier (you can see the sound wave, isn’t that amazing?). Also the wobbliness effect of supersonic air travel (the bullet is a little bit tilted upwards, but it will stabilize)

Electromagnetic Railgun, US Navy 5



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