BAE Systems famous for making many military vehicles and weapons systems has released news that it has reached a milestone in it's rail gun development for the US navy.
Previously the best rail gun developed was around 8 megajoules which was capable of firing shells at Mach 7! Recently BAE delivered a functional prototype of its 32 megajoule railgun to the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va. and is currently being installed at the center, where they (the Navy) intend to install capacitors to power the thing. Why does it need capacitors you ask? Well it needs 3 Million Amps to fire!
One challenge is that the destructive force and mechanics of the device can easily damage the gun in its current state. A few shots can dislodge the rails or even damage the gun barrel.
BAE sees the 32-megajoule cannon as a key milestone in its goal of deploying a 64-megajoule cannon, on ship, within 13 years or less. Such a cannon would be able to fire at speeds in excess of Mach 7 at targets as far as 220 miles away using cheap metal slugs. At the moment, the only ships that are capable of powering them are nuclear powered. Full Article
Rileyon March 29 2013 10:08:55
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