Feeds

'Blitzer' railgun already 'tactically relevant', boasts maker

US Navy preps flyswatter for Muscovite 'Mosquito'

SANS - Survey on application security programs

It's all go in the world of hypervelocity railguns this week. Following Friday's 33-megajoule test shot carried out at a US Navy laboratory, it has also been announced that a different railgun known as "Blitzer" has recently carried out firings which suggest that it is almost combat ready.

The Blitzer comes to us courtesy of famous radical-tech company General Atomics, well known to Reg readers for its development of robot warplanes and electromagnetic mass-driver catapults for aircraft carriers among other things.

Now, in a statement which is dated 7 December (but which didn't appear on the firm's website until yesterday*) General Atomics would like to inform the world that the Blitzer was carrying out highly interesting and "tactically relevant" shoots back in September, actually, while the johnny-come-lately test job at Naval Surface Warfare Centre Dahlgren hadn't even got its boots on.

The Dahlgren railgun shot was a stepping stone towards projectiles launched at Mach 7+ with muzzle energies of 64 megajoules, which would (once weaponised) be able to fly 200 miles and hit their targets still going at Mach 5. Such long-range over the horizon bombardment is one of the stated aspirations of the US Navy's railgun project: but the test guns at Dahlgren are not weapons and their projectiles are not yet designed to fly through the air for any distance - they are focused on movement along the launching rails, from which they emerge at Mach 7.5.

Blitzer, however, is less about ultimate velocity and muzzle energy and more about proving a viable weapon. Its projectiles fly at only Mach 5: but they are much more advanced towards being actual munitions. In the Blitzer, the armature which moves along the rails and carries the driving current between them is merely a "sabot" which propels the actual projectile to launch speed and then falls off shortly after clearing the muzzle - rather as in the case of modern armour piercing tank ammo, which consists of a fin-stabilised penetrator dart which rides down the cannon barrel on discarding sabots.

According to the new GA statement:

This test demonstrated the integration and capabilities of a tactically relevant EM railgun launcher, pulsed power system, and projectile... The projectiles were launched by the Blitzer system at Mach 5 speed with acceleration levels exceeding 60,000 gee, and exhibited repeatable sabot separation and stable flight.

Blitzer will provide leap-ahead multi-mission capability in both naval and land-based applications. Using one weapons system, it provides defensive capability against a number of advanced air and surface threats and delivers strike capability against land- and sea-based targets. With demonstrated muzzle velocities greater than twice that of conventional gun systems, Blitzer provides a dramatic increase in standoff and lethality at lower cost, without the need for propellants or high explosives.

Apart from long-range bombardment of surface targets, another application seen for railguns is naval anti-aircraft work. At the moment, aircraft and ship-killing missiles present a terrible menace to naval forces: a sea-skimming aircraft or missile can appear above the horizon just twenty miles off. In the case of a supersonic missile, this leaves only a very short time for a warship to do anything about it.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release
Result? 'Way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.