Railgun is still in testing with first maritime firing a few years away
The US Navy has bee testing future weapons of all sorts over the last few years. The Navy is getting ready to deploy its first shipboard laser weapon this summer and it is also ready to show off its new railgun reports UT San Diego.
The railgun is able to shoot a metal projectile out of the muzzle of the weapon at incredibly high velocities without using any gunpowder or propellants. The projectile is ejected from the weapon using electromagnetic energy. This July the Navy plans to put its $500 million electromagnetic railgun prototype on display for the first time.
The weapon will be aboard the Joint High Speed Vessel Millinocket. The Navy plans to perform the first maritime firing of the weapon in 2016.
“The American public has never seen it,” said Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research, in a recent telephone press conference.
“Frankly, we think it might be the right time for them to know what we’ve been doing behind closed doors in a Star Wars fashion,” he said. “It’s now reality. It’s not science fiction. It’s real and you can look at it.”
The Nay railgun is able to shoot a projectile down the barrel of the weapon at up to mach 7 that weighs 23-pounds. The projectiles can travel about 100 miles and cost about $25,000 each. That sounds like a lot of money, but it is 1/100th the cost of a conventional missile. The Navy is currently testing two prototype weapons made by General Atomics and BAE Systems.