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Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7 630

Posted by Soulskill
from the playing-instagib-on-the-high-seas dept.
Jeremiah Cornelius writes: "The U.S. Navy's new railgun technology, developed by General Atomics, uses the Lorentz force in a type of linear, electric motor to hurl a 23-pound projectile at speeds exceeding Mach 7 — in excess of 5,000 mph. The weapon has a range of 100 miles and doesn't require explosive warheads. 'The electromagnetic railgun represents an incredible new offensive capability for the U.S. Navy,' says Rear Adm. Bryant Fuller, the Navy's chief engineer. 'This capability will allow us to effectively counter a wide range of threats at a relatively low cost, while keeping our ships and sailors safer by removing the need to carry as many high-explosive weapons.' Sea trials begin aboard an experimental Navy catamaran, the USNS Millinocket, in 2016."

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Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

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  • No jetpacks yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by occasional_dabbler (1735162) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @02:05PM (#46706511)
    ...but at least part of the future is here already.
  • Power? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by asmkm22 (1902712) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @02:09PM (#46706545)

    Can it be efficiently powered, though? It always seemed like the power draw was the main issue with these kinds of guns, effectively limiting them to a few shots.

  • by Immerman (2627577) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @02:31PM (#46706819)

    The railgun might fit, but where are you going to put the nuclear reactor to power it?

  • by psycho12345 (1134609) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @02:50PM (#46707027)
    The range means you can fire it from beyond the horizon, so radar can never spot the firing. The speed means you have no way in hell of dodging it or shooting it down. And the kinetic energy of it means no armor will block it, short of armoring the ship to the point it can't move. Just take aim at the power plant or armory of the other ship and you get a guaranteed kill. I think the key advantage is the inability to be dodged or shot down like a shell, but the range of a missile. Also, I imagine detecting a missile launch is easier then detecting a railgun firing.
  • by ClickOnThis (137803) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @03:39PM (#46707537) Journal

    It's an inert piece of metal that can't be jammed and is probably hard to spot on radar too.

    IAAP, although not an expert in rail guns or radar.

    I would guess that the projectiles would be hard to detect on radar because they're small. However, it would seem to me that the rail gun itself would send out one hell of a large EMP [wikipedia.org] that would reveal the location of the gun and the time of firing.

  • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nitehawk214 (222219) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @04:36PM (#46708079)

    And better.. (or worse, if you are the target)... all 30MJ is hitting you in a spot about 10cm in diameter.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @06:52PM (#46709163)

    Why did you disagree with him "um no[...]" and then set out to say exactly why he is right?

    "Now it is true that while traveling at mach 5 the horizontal distance it drops will be much less over a unit of distance traveled than a slower shell,"

    Pretty much exactly what he said.

    "but it is still falling."

    He never said it wasn't. He said 'less affected' not 'not affected'.

    I would be shocked if the targeting computers did not take gravity into account - unless they are skipping the computers and just using the force.

    So now you are mocking him for what he said, after repeating him. Well played.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @05:09AM (#46711971)
    Now is always the past. Your perception is delayed, unless you are the event.
  • by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @08:29AM (#46712667)

    Brilliantly written papers are ones that explain the subject matter in an understandable way to the target audience.

    You don't send the same paper to theoretical physicist as you send to a senator.

    If you don't realize that, you're not anywhere near as smart and clever as you think you are. Do you expect a guy who's job is politics to REALLY ALSO know all the same shit as the guy who spends his entire life working on the physics of it? Are you really that unaware of the people in the world around you not all knowing what you know?

    You should correct your sig to just say 'I'm an idiot' so its appropriate instead of trying to show everyone else how clever you aren't.

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