Navy cranks up experimental railgun rate of fire (VIDEO)
By Chris Eger
The Office of Naval Research quietly released footage of the all-electric railgun spitting out a couple of rounds back-to-back at Mach 6.
The undated footage comes from Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, named after the famous 19th Century admiral whose “Dahlgren Gun” changed naval warfare leading to his nickname as the “Father of American naval ordnance.” And the electromagnetic railgun may be just as revolutionary.
As noted by the ONR’s page on the weapon, the 32-megajoule prototype launcher uses magnetic fields created by electrical currents to rapidly accelerate a projectile cradling armature between two rails– hence the term. This shoots a 35-pound kinetic projectile that carries no explosive to distances as far as 100-miles away at speeds of 4,500 mph. That is a couple of times faster than any current artillery and is inexpensive compared to a missile of the same range. Further, since the shells are inert, it simplifies storage and transport, enabling ships using them to not only buy them cheap, but stack them deep.
The electromagnetic railgun projectile is a 35-pound dart encased in a discarding sabot shown being exhibited by Adam Jones, a Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division engineer, to Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall, director of Surface