Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Railgun; Electromagnetic Weapon

The US military is developing an incredible new weapon called a railgun. There is little, if any, defense against it. It is unlike a common gun that uses some type of explosive charge to propel a bullet; this is an electromagnetic device that fires a non-explosive projectile at a staggering velocity causing great damage on impact.

A railgun uses a pair of parallel conductors, or rails, along which a sliding armature is accelerated by the electromagnetic effects of a current that flows down one rail, into the armature and then back along the other rail. While explosive-powered military guns cannot readily achieve a muzzle velocity of more than about 2 km/s, railguns can readily exceed 3 km/s, and thus far exceed conventionally delivered munitions in range and destructive force.
Increased muzzle velocities increase firing ranges while increasing terminal velocities. The use of a kinetic energy round acts as a replacement for explosive shells.
Railguns can muster the equivalent kinetic energy of a school bus weighing 5 metric tons, travelling at 509 km/h (316 mph).

The first weaponized railgun planned for production, the General Atomics Blitzer system, began full system testing in September 2010. The weapon launches a round at 5,200 ft/s, (about Mach 5). During one of the tests, the projectile was able to travel an additional 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) downrange after penetrating a 1⁄8 inch (3.2 mm) thick steel plate. In October 2013, General Atomics unveiled a land based version of the Blitzer railgun. The company claimed the gun could be ready for production by 2016.
Railguns are being examined for use as anti-aircraft weapons to intercept air threats, particularly anti-ship cruise missiles. A supersonic sea-skimming anti-ship missile can appear over the horizon 20 miles from a warship, leaving a very short reaction time for a ship to intercept it.
A railgun projectile can reach several times the speed of sound faster than a missile. It can hit a target, such as a cruise missile, much faster and farther away from the ship.