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 The Navy’s Electric Cannon Fires (rail gun) Its First Shots 
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Modmin Dude
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Post The Navy’s Electric Cannon Fires (rail gun) Its First Shots
finally comes to the real world:

Popular Mechanics wrote:
The Navy’s Electric Cannon Fires Its First Shots
The U.S. Navy has had an electromagnetic railgun—a weapon that uses electromagnetic fields to fling projectiles at incredible speeds—in development for years. Last week it fired its first successful test shots. Watch the video here.
By Sharon Weinberger
February 28, 2012 4:51 PM

A futuristic weapon that uses electricity rather than traditional propellant to shoot high-speed projectiles took a step closer to the battlefield last week. The U.S. Navy fired the first live demonstration of its prototype electromagnetic railgun at a test range, program manager Roger Ellis says. Now some military officials at the Office of Naval Research say that it might even be possible to have the weapon—which had been plagued by delays and technical problems—ready sooner than previously planned.

In this test at a range in Dahlgren, Va., the Navy fired a 32-megajoule half-power prototype of the electromagnetic railgun, developed by BAE Systems. (The Navy compares one megajoule of energy to a 1-ton vehicle moving at about 100 miles per hour.) The full-scale system is expected to be 64 megajoules. General Atomics is scheduled to deliver its own 32-megajoule prototype to the Navy in April to compete with the BAE design.

The BAE Systems prototype has yet to fire at full power. Tom Boucher, the Navy’s test director for the railgun, says that after the Navy commissioned it last week, it fired the gun six times at 20 megajoules. "As we evaluate the data, we’ll take it up to 32 megajoules," Boucher says.

Officially, the Navy has always estimated that an electromagnetic railgun would be ready in about 2020 to 2025. But now, with this early success, "naval planners are looking for ways to make that sooner," Ells says. Perhaps, he says, the scaled-down 32-megajoule version could become an early version of the weapon in the field.

Electromagnetic railguns work using a combination of electric current and magnetic fields created by two sliding rails, which accelerates the projectile. The projectile, which travels up to seven times the speed of sound, doesn’t even need a chemical explosive; its kinetic energy alone is enough to destroy what it hits.



Navy officials believe an electromagnetic railgun, which could shoot projectiles at a range of over 100 nautical miles, could be used to protect warships by intercepting cruise and ballistic missiles, or to attack enemy ships using the high-energy projectiles.

One of the challenges of the Navy’s electromagnetic railgun is providing the tremendous pulsed power needed to launch the 40-pound projectile, that’s why the Navy has talked about putting the weapon on the DDG-51 destroyer, whose propulsion systems would be able to provide the needed power. That warship would have enough power to fuel the railgun, Ells says, but the Navy is looking at other power sources—such as using batteries similar to those that power hybrid cars—that would allow it to put the gun on less powerful ships.

While the results so far are encouraging, Navy officials say the weapon is still just a development program, and it has not decided whether the weapon will actually be deployed, or even what ship it would ultimately go on.

Nevertheless, moving the prototype from the lab to a live-fire test range is a significant step forward, Ells says. Here’s how he describes the reaction from people watching the video of the test firing: "Now that looks a real gun."

Read more: The Navy’s Electric Cannon Fires Its First Shots - Popular Mechanics
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technol ... 29?src=rss

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March 1st, 2012, 11:48 am
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Post Re: The Navy’s Electric Cannon Fires (rail gun) Its First Sh
all i can say is.....COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL :idea:

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March 1st, 2012, 5:59 pm
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