Ruin on Rails: The US Navy’s Rail Gun Project
CSBA paper would move railguns front-and-center within US Navy for air defense – what are the possibilities and issues?; Background and additional readings improved.
June 2/16: Russia has announced that it is developing its own rail gun technology as the first pictures of US efforts made their way to press . The “battlefield meteorite” is capable of firing a projectile at an initial speed of 4,500 miles per hour, piercing seven steel plates, and leaving a 5-inch hole — able to “blow holes in enemy ships, destroy tanks and level terrorist camps.” For Russia, the new weapon will not replace traditional weapons “even in the mid-term perspective,” as much time needs to pass from the first tests to the mass production, especially considering the high price of the production, according to Russian senator Franz Klintsevich.
Back in March 2006, BAE Systems received a contract for “design and production of the 32 MJ Laboratory Launcher for the U.S. Navy.” Some hint of what they are talking about can be gleaned from the name. BAE isn’t the only firm that’s working on this program, which the US Navy sees as its gateway to a game-changing technology. The project is an electro-magnetic rail gun, which accelerates a projectile to incredibly high speeds without using explosives.
The attraction of such systems is no mystery – they promise to fire their ammunition 10 or more times farther than conventional naval gun shells, while sharply reducing both the required size of each shell, and the amount of dangerous explosive material carried on board ship. Progress is being made, but there are still major technical challenges to overcome before a working rail gun becomes a serious naval option. This DID FOCUS article looks at the key technical challenges, the programs, and the history of key contracts and events.
Rail Guns: Concept & Technology Developments
Rail Guns: The US EMRG Program
EMRG: Industrial Players
EMRG: Parallel Research
EMRG: Key Contracts & Events
FY 2015 – 2016
FY 2013 – 2014
FY 2009 – 2011
FY 2007 – 2008
FY 2005 – 2006
Program & Technologies
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