Watch the straight test here (slow-motion added):
Video report here:
The U.S. Navy has now officially rolled out its newest projectile weapon. The electromagnetic railgun.
Very interesting to see that the builders of the H.A.A.R.P. IRI antennas , BAE Systems, are now building other electromagnetic weapons for the United States.
BAE systems is based out of the UK. They specialize in several areas of next generation weaponry. Radio Frequency, magnetic, laser, and beyond.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy is planning sea trials for a weapon that can fire a low-cost, 23-pound (10-kg) projectile at seven times the speed of sound using electromagnetic energy, a “Star Wars” technology that will make enemies think twice, the Navy’s research chief said.
Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, the chief of Naval Research, told a round table group recently the futuristic electromagnetic rail gun had already undergone extensive testing on land and would be mounted on the USNS Millinocket, a high-speed vessel, for sea trials beginning in 2016.
“It’s now reality and it’s not science fiction. It’s actually real. You can look at it. It’s firing,” said Klunder, who planned to discuss progress on the system later on Monday with military and industry leaders at a major maritime event – the Sea-Air-Space Exposition – near Washington.
“It will help us in air defense, it will help us in cruise missile defense, it will help us in ballistic missile defense,” he said. “We’re also talking about a gun that’s going to shoot a projectile that’s about one one-hundredth of the cost of an existing missile system today.”
The Navy research chief said that cost differential – $25,000 for a railgun projectile versus $500,000 to $1.5 million for a missile – will make potential enemies think twice about the economic viability of engaging U.S. forces.
U.S. officials have voiced concerns that tight defense budgets could cause the Pentagon to lose its technological edge over China, Russia and other rivals, who have been developing antiship ballistic missile systems and integrated air defenses capable of challenging U.S. air and naval dominance.
Weapons like the electromagnetic rail gun could help U.S. forces retain their edge and give them an asymmetric advantage over rivals, making it too expensive to use missiles to attack U.S. warships because of the cheap way to defeat them.
Railguns use electromagnetic energy known as the Lorenz Force to launch a projectile between two conductive rails. The high-power electric pulse generates a magnetic field to fire the projectile with very little recoil, officials said.
The U.S. Navy has funded two single-shot railgun prototypes, one by privately held General Atomics and the other by BAE Systems. Klunder said he had selected BAE for the second phase of the project, which will look at developing a system capable of firing multiple shots in succession.
“We’re talking about a projectile that we’re going to send well over 100 miles, we’re talking about a projectile that can go over Mach 7, we’re talking about a projectile that can go well into the atmosphere,” Klunder said.
(editors note) Mach 7 = 5,328.45 mph
Ships can carry dozens of missiles, but they could be loaded with hundreds of railgun projectiles, he said.
“Your magazine never runs out, you just keep shooting, and that’s compelling,” Klunder said.
The 2016 sea trials will be conducted aboard the joint forces high-speed cargo ship because it has the space to carry the system on its deck and in its cargo bay. Officials said they would begin looking at integrating the system into warships after 2018.
How does a railgun work? US Navy has a full explanation here.
The above summed up, the basics are simple. A projectile (non-explosive) is loaded into the electromagnetically charged firing chamber.
Different sized (and shaped) projectiles can be used, each must have an outer casing made of metal — the outer casing is literally partially vaporized as it picks up inertia traveling down the length of the gun.
When the gun “fires” , an very powerful electromagnetic force propels the projectile down the barrel , using opposing charges being driven down the “rails” of the device, the projectile is forced (at the opposing speed of the magnetic charge) — in this case — near Mach 7 (5,328.45 mph).
Ultimately, the projectile exits the weapon at speeds which tear the outer casing of the projectile apart.
After exiting the weapon, the shredded outer casing is jettisoned, and the inner projectile continues on its way (at excessively fast speeds) towards its target.
Once the outer casing is gone, the projectile continues on its trajectory , causing complete destruction of any object upon impact.
BAE Systems.. builders of the HF (high frequency) transmitters at the H.A.A.R.P. facility in Gakona, Alaska.
From 2004 :
The Office of Naval Research has awarded BAE Systems a $35.4 million contract to manufacture 132 high frequency (HF) transmitters for installation in the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program’s (HAARP) phased array antenna system. The contract was finalized April 19 with BAE Systems Information & Electronic Warfare Systems in Washington, D.C.
The HAARP program collects and assesses data to advance knowledge of the physical and electrical properties of the Earth’s ionosphere. “We look forward to contributing to this critical program. This is an opportunity for BAE Systems to play an important role in expanding knowledge of the Earth’s ionosphere. Significant potential applications include long-range communication, sensing and satellite vulnerability to nuclear effects,” said Ramy Shanny, BAE Systems vice president and general manager for Advanced Technologies (AT).
“We look forward to contributing to this critical program. This is an opportunity for BAE Systems to play an important role in expanding knowledge of the Earth’s ionosphere. Significant potential applications include long-range communication, sensing and satellite vulnerability to nuclear effects”
In 1992, AT was awarded a contract to design and build the Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI), the HAARP program’s primary tool used to study ionospheric physics. The IRI is currently composed of 48 antenna elements and has a power capacity of 960,000 watts. When installed, the additional 132 transmitters will give HAARP a 3.6 mega-watt capacity. The HAARP build-out is jointly funded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
BAE Systems is an international company engaged in the development, delivery, and support of advanced defense and aerospace systems in the air, on land, at sea, and in space. BAE Systems Information & Electronic Warfare Systems is a major producer of aircraft self-protection systems and tactical surveillance and intelligence systems for all branches of the armed forces.