Thursday, January 25, 2007

US Navy proves Railgun not just for Quake

Once believed to be the invention of video game programmers; the railgun is now a glorious reality as the Navy now has a fully working 8-megajoule electromagnetic mass driver. Normally, new weaponry tends to make defense more expensive. But the US Navy likes to say its new toy "delivers the punch of a missile at bullet prices".

A flashy demonstration of the futuristic and comparatively inexpensive railgun weapon on January 16th at the Naval Surface Warfare Center had Navy brass smiling. The weapon, which was successfully tested in October at the King George County base, fires nonexplosive projectiles at incredible speeds, using electricity rather than gun powder. The technology could increase the striking range of U.S. Navy ships more than tenfold by the year 2020.

"It's pretty amazing capability, and it went off without a hitch," said Capt. Joseph McGettigan, commander of NSWC Dahlgren Division. "The biggest thing is it's real not just something on the drawing board," he said. "It could go to the field right now. We just want to improve it, to make it better."

The railgun works by sending electric current along parallel rails, creating an electromagnetic force so powerful it can fire a metal projectile at tremendous speed. Because the gun uses electricity and not gunpowder to fire projectiles, it's safer, eliminating the possibility of explosions on ships and vehicles equipped with it. Instead, a powerful pulse generator is used.

The concept is not new. It was born in the 1970s, then promoted two decades ago when President Ronald Reagan proposed the anti-missile "Star Wars" Strategic Defense Initiative.

Sources: Wired, Military.com

11 comments:

vaughan said...

Wait a second Colonel, what about covering the news that the U.S Army have finally revealed their "Secret" Heat Ray gun!!!!! Is your failure to promote this down to???
A.It's Army so what the hell do you care?

B.Its Non Lethal so whats the point?

c. Since your demotion you've been deliberately left out of the loop?

D. You just couldn't be arsed to read todays Irish Examiner?

PF said...

Vaughan you beat me to it, I was going to point out this to the Lt Col.
Oh hear it is any way....
The US military has given the first public display of what it says is a revolutionary heat-ray weapon to repel enemies or disperse hostile crowds (ooooo!!!)
Called the Active Denial System (maybe the Lt Col has been zapped by it?), it projects an invisible high energy beam that produces a sudden burning feeling (you get that from STD's...apparentley).
Military officials, who say the gun is harmless (say no more), believe it could be used as a non-lethal way of making enemies surrender their weapons.
"This is a breakthrough technology that's going to give our forces a capability they don't now have," defence official Theodore Barna told Reuters news agency.
(source-BBC)

Lt. Colonel Creedon said...

What the fuck is the matter with you people and your non-lethal weapons??? We have railguns now, real railguns!!!!

sith apologist said...

Now if only we can find a way to make them easier to use in one-on-one situations as per the screenshot :)

Anonymous said...

They won't be deployed 'til 2016 at best.- by which time Putin will have stolen the technology and sold it to Iran.
Apparently the rails wear out.
Fuck me, we can levitate trains on magnetic fields, what's wrong with these engineers? Why do we need rails, when the projectile travels up the middle of a magnetic field?? Just a little tweak of the software, - seems to me!!
And if 2016 is correct, and not bluff, w t f are we bragging about it now??????

anon said...

It's a PR cluster-fuck

Anonymous said...

Given the "muzzle velocity" of mach7, or 8, it seems to me that the operational range must be larger then advertized. Granted an impact velocity of mach5 +/- is needed for the kinetic energy to work its beeuuutiful destructive force, the engineers should be working to increase the muzzle velocity to orbital/sub-orbital velocities, then it can be mounted on home soil, not ships, which seem currently to have difficulty generating the power to fire the projectile, which (temporary engine shut-down, - even on nuclear)makes them vulnerable.
I like the idea on cost figures, although some GPS guidance will need to be built-in, but given current fuckups with GPS satellitesthat might be difficult.
I just can't see any bragging rights for a few years yet.

Lt. Colonel Creedon said...

As it works; they can brag about it. When they start using it they won't be able to because the world press will be so upset that millions of dirty wogs will be "sencelessly slaughtered" and President Schwartzenegger will want the mighty Rail Gun "played down". So I say: "KEEP BRAGGING - Hoooo-Rah!!

I'm delighted that destructive, lethal projectile weaponary is been actively developed and not all the resources of the invincible US war-machine R&D isn't going into godamm Heat Rays and what have you.

Civilian Overseer said...

Pathetic, just Pathetic, If this is all an over blown miltary budget at the tax payers expense can come up with, I am appalled what happen to mass destruction?, I demand to see Planet Busters, ET-Charlie is out there right now watching our asses and laughing their's off.

Lt. Colonel Creedon said...

That's the plan: They'll be so busy laughing that they won't notice us sneaking up on them and zapping them with our "uncomfortable heat ray".

Civilian Overseer said...

Why not just invite 'em home and ask 'em to marry our daughters instead. You've lost your nerve along with your rank, Creedon!