Saturday, December 11, 2010
The US Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia demonstrated their railgun to a group of journalists by shooting a 20-pound slug of aluminum at seven times the speed of sound for 5,500 feet. The railgun produced a world-record of 33 meagajoules of force out of the barrel (See video below).
By 2020, the US navy plans to install railguns on ships. Railguns do not need explosives to accelerate a bullet, because the non-explosive projectile is fired with a huge jolt of electricity. That makes the ship safer for the crew (as they don't have to store explosives) and allow the vessel to carry ten times more ammunition. The bullet will be hurled into the atmosphere in seconds and descend on a target in minutes, at a speed of about Mach 5. The high speed of the bullet makes railguns also promising defensive weapons to intercept incoming cruise missiles.
Railgun, futuristic weapon, tested by Navy