Feeds

US Navy preps railgun for tests

Bedding down BAE Systems prototype

The Power of One Infographic

The US Navy’s Office of Naval Research is preparing to test a prototype railgun delivered by BAE Systems under a $US21 million contract signed in 2010.

The industry prototype – a kind of dream machine for Mythbusters’ fans – is due for tests in coming weeks at a facility in Dahlgren, Virginia.

The ONR’s aim is to develop a weapon launcher with a 50-100 nautical mile range, and up to 220 nautical miles in the longer term.

Railguns use high-current electrical pulses able to accelerate a conductive armature to as much as 5,600 mph (more than 9,000 km/h). The ONA says the railgun will be suitable for naval surface fire support, land strikes, cruise and ballistic missile defense, and surface warfare.

The BAE Systems kit, the first railgun launcher built by industry rather than the ONR’s researchers kicks out 32 megajoules (equivalent, the ONR says, to a one-imperial-ton vehicle travelling at 100 mph, or a London bus going bloody fast).

Another prototype launcher built by General Atomics is due soon; while the launchers undergo their tests, the ONR will work on developing projectile loading systems and heat management, to increase the weapon’s firing rate. Within five years, the office hopes to have firing rates of between six and ten rounds a minute.

Last December, the ONR demonstrated a 33 megajoule test firing with its own kit, achieving an impressive Mach 7.5 muzzle velocity. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.