What weapons will the US Army have in the near future?
WASHINGTON, (BM) – Today, lasers, all kinds of electromagnetic guns and other latest weapons of varying degrees of complexity no longer seem like something fantastic and supernatural. Yesterday, we could see all this only in the Hollywood blockbuster, but very soon such equipment will go into service with the US Army, and some experimental models are already being tested in full swing.
If in a scientific way, then this is an electromagnetic mass accelerator that accelerates a conductive projectile along two metal guides using the Lorentz force.
A feature of a rail accelerator is that it is capable of accelerating ultra-small masses to ultra-high speeds, while the velocity of a projectile in firearms is limited by the kinetics of the chemical reaction taking place in the weapon.
One of the main advantages of the installation is the economy. The cost of a railgun shot is significantly lower than that for a ship-based missile of a similar range: 25 thousand dollars against one million dollars. The small size of the shells for the railgun can increase ammunition. Effective fire range – up to 200 km. The disadvantage is that the current pulse must be so powerful and sharp that the projectile does not have time to evaporate and fly apart, but there would be an accelerating force that accelerates it forward.
The Americans plan to adopt railguns this year. They will be equipped with destroyers of the Zamvolt type. In 2012, a gun with a muzzle energy of 32 MJ was tested, and by 2025 it is planned to double this parameter.
In the arsenal of the US Army very soon a new gadget will appear. Another drone, the fighters will launch into the sky with the help of … an M320 grenade launcher. As a result, soldiers will get a bird’s eye view of the battlefield. The Grenade Launched Unmanned Aerial System (GLAUS) drone can soar for up to 90 minutes, giving even small groups of soldiers an extra view from above. It can be launched from an army 40mm Heckler & Koch grenade launcher that is mounted under the barrel of an M4A1 army assault rifle. The grenade produced by the M320 has a speed not more than a paintball, so you can not worry about vulnerable electronics and drone blades.
After launch, the drone spreads its wings and stays in the air, control is carried out using a joystick or portable device. The drone has a camera for transmitting video to the receiver. The asset has a 850 mAh battery, and the range is approximately 600 meters.
Weapons with electromagnetic radiation
The US Air Force in the field of specific directed energy weapons has two promising developments at once – the electromagnetic guns PHASER and THOR from Raytheon. The first complex is a microwave radar transmitter mounted on a transport container, inside which is located the place of the operator-gunner. The emitter itself consists of an antenna and a reflecting mirror with guidance drives in two planes. This powerful microwave gun emits electromagnetic waves in a conical beam.
The main task of the Phaser is to destroy small targets, such as drones. He needs only one microsecond to destroy the electronics of a small drone so that it falls to the ground. The complex against a group of drones is especially effective due to the conical nature of the beam.
THOR, like PHASER, is delivered in a transport container, and its configuration takes only three hours. The complexes also have similar main goals – with microwave radiation, it destroys groups of small drones. Both guns are already undergoing field trials, so that soon the systems will go into service.
Another type of weapon directed energy – a laser gun. The United States ordered one of these naval forces from Kratos Defense & Security Solutions back in 2010. In August 2014, the current experimental model of a 30 kW installation was installed on a USS Ponce warship; in 2020, it is planned to install a complex on a 60 kW USS Preble destroyer, the testing of a 150 kW installation is not far off.
The main objective of laser guns is the defense against drones and small ships, work as air defense. The installation can work in one of the modes both for blinding control systems and for causing physical damage to attackers. As in the case of the railgun, such weapons have a low cost per shot (in the case of a laser less than one dollar), which makes it attractive for dealing with low-budget, including artisanal, shells. The aim of the laser weapons program is to create combat systems with a capacity of 300 kW and 500 kW by 2024 by 2022. Such power will allow the weapon to destroy not only small enemy vehicles, but also full-size missiles and warheads. Arming the first batch of laser guns is planned in 2022.
Raytheon is working on other weapons in this area – the HELWS-MRZR mobile laser complex. The high-energy laser combat system is mounted on the Polaris ATV ATV and is complemented by a proprietary multispectral aiming system. While the MRZR must be in place to destroy the moving target, Raytheon is assured that it is only a matter of time and engineers will soon be taught the laser system to fire on the go. The mobile power source lets you shoot up to 30 times from a laser at a single charge.
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