US tested a Navy’s 32-megajoule railgun and a 120mm powder gun

WASHINGTON — General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems [GA-EMS] has announced that its contract with the Pentagon to design, prototype, and test projectiles in railgun and powder gun environments has ended after the company announced successful tests.

US tested a Navy’s 32-megajoule railgun and a 120mm powder gun
Photo credit: General Atomics

Simultaneously at two landfills in the United States – White Sands, New Mexico, and Dugway, Utah GA-EMS fired projectiles from the Navy’s 32-megajoule railgun and a 120mm powder gun. The development and testing of these weapon systems are part of the most modern US projects for the development and future commissioning of protective interceptor projectiles.

The shells fired by the two cannons reached hypersonic speeds, GA-EMS said in a press release. After being launched, projectiles’ guided flight capabilities were tested at both ranges. This test was important for GA-EMS because it was this company that supplied projectiles with integrated gun-hardened guidance electronics.

“Close communication among team members was critical to the outcome of this effort,” said Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “We tested significant advancements in our projectile design, demonstrating survivability and good aerodynamic performance at these velocities while testing guidance capabilities that promise greater precision and accuracy to effectively meet and defeat airborne threats.”

The company said it worked closely with the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center [DEVCOM-AC] and the Naval Surface Warfare Center – Dahlgren Division [NSWC-DD] during the projectile development and testing process.

US tested a Navy’s 32-megajoule railgun and a 120mm powder gun
Photo credit: General Atomics reminds you that the idea of ​​using railguns is becoming more and more applicable in the plans and military budgets of other countries as well. Japan, for example, has come up with the idea of ​​using railguns to launch magnetic projectiles to intercept hypersonic missiles.

What railgun is?

Railgun is a pulsed electrode mass accelerator that converts electrical energy into kinetic energy using the Lorentz force. It emerged as a modification of the Gaussian cannon, capable of launching shells of any material and without the need for complex control and safety devices. Railgun is a promising weapon.

Japan will 'catch' hypersonic missiles with magnetic railgun
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The railgun consists of two parallel electrodes, called rails, connected to a source of high-power direct current. An electrically conductive projectile or projectile carrier [armature] is located between the rails, closing the electrical circuit. “Armature” acquires acceleration under the action of the Lorentz force, which occurs when the circuit is closed in an excited increasing current magnetic field. A “reinforcement” can also be a clot of conductive plasma, which turns into a foil placed between the rails. When the “armature” is pushed by Lorentz force at the ends of the rails, the electrical circuit opens.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Railguns in orbit have the potential to be an effective weapon for destroying enemy missiles or protecting against asteroids. Also, railguns can launch cargo into orbit directly from the planet’s surface. In addition, they are suitable for initiating fusion or melting reactions of metals by colliding their samples at high speed.


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