Railgun comes closer to becoming reality?

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Renegade334
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Railgun comes closer to becoming reality?

Post by Renegade334 » Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:21 am

I guess a lot of you already know that certain nations such as the US, Great Britain and France are already dishing a lot of monies in order to create a real, operational railgun - although they have met a lot of technical issues so far such as overheating, power output and whatnot. I already know actual railguns (meant for battleships such as the US Navy's DDX/DD-21) were already fired at test ranges such as Dahlgren but so far I haven't seen any actual test. Well, I just saw this off Yahoo!

Looks like it's working just fine.

Click here for the Yahoo! video.
The U.S. Navy yesterday test fired an incredibly powerful new big gun designed to replace conventional weaponry aboard ships. Sci-fi fans will recognize its awesome power and futuristic technology.

The big gun uses electromagnetic energy instead of explosive chemical propellants to fire a projectile farther and faster. The railgun, as it is called, will ultimately fire a projectile more than 230 miles (370 kilometers) with a muzzle velocity seven times the speed of sound (Mach 7) and a velocity of Mach 5 at impact.

The test-firing, captured on video, took place Jan. 31 in Dahlgren, Va., and Navy officials called it the "world's most powerful electromagnetic railgun."

The Navy's current MK 45 five-inch gun, by contrast, has a range of less than 23 miles (37 kilometers).

The railgun has been a featured weapon in many science fiction universes, such as the new "Battlestar Galactic" series. It has also achieved newfound popularity among the 20-something-and-under generation for its devastating ability to instantaneously shoot a "slug" through walls and through multiple enemies in video games such as the "Quake" series of first person shooters.

The Navy's motivation? Simple destruction.

The railgun's high-velocity projectile will destroy targets with sheer kinetic energy rather than with conventional explosives.

"I never ever want to see a Sailor or Marine in a fair fight. I always want them to have the advantage," said Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gary Roughead. "We should never lose sight of always looking for the next big thing, always looking to make our capability better, more effective than what anyone else can put on the battlefield."

The railgun's lack of explosives means ships would be safer, said Elizabeth D'Andrea, Electromagnetic Railgun Program Manager.

The Navy's goal is to demonstrate a full-capability prototype by 2018.
URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/200 ... cifiweapon
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South Burning
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Post by South Burning » Fri Feb 08, 2008 6:32 pm

Interesting that the test was at a place called Dahlgren, the name of a weapon from Gundam Seed. I have seen tests of rail guns. Only the size and weight of the components keep them from being common on the battlefield. But the future is almost here...

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Darth Optimus
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Post by Darth Optimus » Fri Feb 08, 2008 8:44 pm

Holy Crap. Once they find a way to put that on the battlefield...ugh, makes me shudder just thinking about it.
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Post by Chang_Blu » Sat Feb 09, 2008 2:07 pm

Closer maybe, but not by much. While powerful they never mentioned details about if they've improved on the problems with previous rail guns. Problems like extreme heat/repulsion of the weapon damaging the rails, and if it would be able to last longer than previous generation rail weapons that have been tested (typically the rails fail and need to be replaced only after a few shots). Another problem is the power requirement, can you put it on the ship and power it too?

Can you imagine needing to replace the rails after 5 shots in the middle of combat? Or how about if you couldn't fit the latest and greatest power supply so every shot takes in excess of 10 mins to charge.

I think that in the short term it maybe better to investiage the railgun's cousin the coil gun, its quiet and doesnt wear out nearly as fast, but its not as effective in terms of destructive power.

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yukikaze
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Post by yukikaze » Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:00 pm

ah yes, cant wait until they mount these on Zumwalt Class Destroyers.

they still arent even close to completion. but within ten years they will be mounted on ships. land based combat will be a problem, they dont exactly seem portable.
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Ryujin
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Post by Ryujin » Sun Feb 10, 2008 4:13 am

Chang_Blu wrote:Closer maybe, but not by much. While powerful they never mentioned details about if they've improved on the problems with previous rail guns. Problems like extreme heat/repulsion of the weapon damaging the rails, and if it would be able to last longer than previous generation rail weapons that have been tested (typically the rails fail and need to be replaced only after a few shots). Another problem is the power requirement, can you put it on the ship and power it too?

Can you imagine needing to replace the rails after 5 shots in the middle of combat? Or how about if you couldn't fit the latest and greatest power supply so every shot takes in excess of 10 mins to charge.

I think that in the short term it maybe better to investiage the railgun's cousin the coil gun, its quiet and doesnt wear out nearly as fast, but its not as effective in terms of destructive power.
Actually, the tests being currently conducted are focused primarily on addressing the problems associated with the rails themselves, such as durability, erosion, arcing, etc.

They're not even firing at any 'real' targets at the moment, although, at 10 megajoules, the KE achieved at the muzzle is almost twice that of a sabot round fired from the M1A2, and the test railgun's supposed to be rated at about thrice that.

With regards to coilguns, it already has a place with DARPA further up in its development tree. The plan is to focus on railguns in the short term, coilguns in the intermediate term, and an unspecified type of 'advanced' mass driver in the long term. Of course, they didn't exactly mention how long a period of time 'short term' is supposed to represent.

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