So who wants to play with a railgun? no… Really?

15 11 2007

So a railgun works by sending electric current along parallel rails. It creates an electromagnetic force so powerful it can fire a metal projectile at tremendous speed.
We saw such portable guns in the film Eraser and almost certainly everyone thinks of Quake3 and has flashbacks to numerous frustrating deaths when the railgun is mentioned!

The US Navy are testing a railgun that could be in operation by the year 2020! The test unit is an 8 megajoule device but the Navy hopes that the final model will generate 64 megajoules and have a 200 to 250 nautical mile range. This is an enormous increase over current Navy guns which generate about 9 megajoules of energy and have a range of about 15 nautical miles.

The device BAE Systems shipped to the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va. is the 32-megajoule Electro-Magnetic Laboratory Rail Gun (32-MJ LRG for short, but we’ll call her “Julie”). It is about four times as strong as the last generation of rail guns, but demands 3 million amps of power per shot—enough to drain your Metal Gear’s battery in a heartbeat. You’ll notice the word “laboratory” stuck in there. Real-life rail guns have kinks that still need to be worked out:

Effective rail guns will require a major breakthrough in capacitor technology between now and 2020, as well as a way to keep the barrels from being shredded by each high-velocity shot.

Mind you, the Navy isn’t like pissing its pants for joy that it gets to play with a 32-megajoule rail gun.
This is America, after all. What the Navy really wants is a 64-megajoule rail gun. But since that might take 13 years and would require, yep, 6 million amps per shot, the Navy’s gonna have to quit bitching and enjoy the toys it has, at least for now.

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One response

15 11 2007
Travis Seitler

Actually, when I hear of railguns I think of StarCom. (What’s that? Exactly—it was a toy line and single-season cartoon. Think something between Star Trek and Star Wars, but limited to our own Solar system.)

It’ll take 13 years for widespread use, sure—but I’ll bet they at least have one prototype already. 😉

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