U.S. Navy Test Fires 32-Megajoule Railgun, Could See Service by 2020
February 29, 2012 9:38 AM
Bad ass, thy name is railgun
The U.S. Navy has been working on rail guns to replace traditional large bore weapons aboard ships. The first of two new prototypes was delivered on February 6 (the second is due in April) and is now firing projectiles. The USN recently tested a 32-megajoule prototype railgun demonstrator that was built by
. The weapon was fired six times in a single week according to officials.
The weapon fired non-aerodynamic test rounds that are designed to slow down quickly. Tom Boucher, the Navy’s railgun test director at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren, VA added, "But eventually the program intends to fire a very low-drag, high-speed projectile.”
The finished version of the railgun will eventually be able to fire a single projectile up to 220 nautical miles.
“The new guns are a significant step beyond the laboratory-style launchers, which are big, bulky, not anything you would put on a Navy ship,” Roger Ellis, railgun program manager, said.
“The new industry prototypes are a step beyond and much closer to the fit and form that we might want to put on a ship some day — lighter weight, able to train and elevate.”
The Navy hopes to eventually place the railguns on DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers. However, the railguns could find their way on other classes of ships as well since the technology is scalable.
The railgun is being looked at for operational capability between 2020 and 2025, but the Navy is looking for ways to reduce the wait.
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