US Navy Railgun field demo ready and shows video of 4.8 shots per minute
By brian wang
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced that the Navy’s electromagnetic railgun is out of the laboratory and ready for field demonstrations at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division’s new railgun Rep-Rate Test Site at Terminal Range.
Initial rep-rate fires (repetition rate of fires) of multi-shot salvos already have been successfully conducted at low muzzle energy. The next test sequence calls for safely increasing launch energy, firing rates and salvo size. Railgun rep-rate testing will be at 20 megajoules by the end of the summer and at 32 megajoules by next year. To put this in perspective, one megajoule is the equivalent of a one-ton vehicle moving at 160 miles per hour.
Video shows the navy railgun manages to build to full power and send a projectile down Dahlgren’s 25-mile Potomac River test range twice in 25 seconds, a firing rate of 4.8 shells a minute. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) demonstrated the Navy’s electromagnetic railgun initial rep-rate fires of multi-shot salvos at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division. The revolutionary railgun relies on a massive electrical pulse, rather than gunpowder or other chemical propellants, to launch projectiles at distances over 100 nautical miles – and at speeds that exceed Mach 6.
SAN DIEGO (July 8, 2014) One of two electromagnetic railgun prototypes on display aboard joint high speed vessel USS Millinocket (JHSV 3) in port at Naval Base San Diego. The railguns are being displayed in San Diego as part of the Electromagnetic Launch Symposium, which brought together representatives from the U.S. and allied navies, industry and academia to discuss directed energy technologies. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher Kirsop/Released)
“Railguns and other directed-energy weapons are the future of maritime superiority,” said Dr. Thomas Beutner, head of ONR’s Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department. “The U.S. Navy must be the first to field this leap-ahead technology and maintain the advantage over our adversaries.”
The revolutionary railgun relies on a massive electrical pulse, rather than gunpowder or other chemical propellants, to launch projectiles at distances over 100 nautical miles—and at speeds that exceed Mach 6, or six times the speed of sound. That velocity allows projectiles to rely on kinetic energy for maximum effect, and reduces the amount of high explosives needed on ships.
The railgun shoots the high-velocity projectile (HVP), a next-generation, low-drag, guided projectile that can be used in different gun systems. With its increased velocity, precision guidance and extended range, the railgun realizes the full range of the HVP’s scalable lethality. Together, both technologies will enable naval forces to address threats in the mission areas of surface fire support, anti-air and anti-surface warfare.
The Navy currently is developing and testing railgun barrels capable of firing many rounds per minute with a tactically relevant barrel life—as well as the associated power and auxiliary systems needed to make that possible. In addition, the weapon’s power system now …read more
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