The US Navys Still Working on a KickAss Railgun

first_img If you’ve seen just about any sci-fi since Star Wars, you should be at loosely familiar with the notion of a rail gun. Essentially, the weapon uses powerful electrical currents and magnetic fields to launch a projectile tens of thousands of miles per hour. Unlike bombs and other weapons, there’s no explosive. You just hit something as hard as you can and let the dust fall where it may.If we could make them here in the real world, they have some pretty ridiculous potential. You could fire a small pellet half-way around the planet and still hit a building with the force of a small bomb. Plus, once you have the technology, the pellets are extremely cheap — especially compared to something like a $1.4 million Tomahawk missile.Saves money, has better range, and is just as powerful as the gear we have, why don’t we have millions of these things already, you may ask? Because the tech that drives it really is tough to work with it. The forces are so extreme that early guns will rip themselves apart after just a few shots.But the Navy is determined to keep up the research. Afterall, having a ship loaded with bombs that could go off at any time is never something you want to do if you can avoid it.The latest tests on the weapon are… actually pretty impressive. It’s clearly got some force behind it. You can watch the test below, posted by the US Navy Research channel.While the music’s a little over-the-top, the video’s pretty impressive, showing the shot from several different angles. Each round requires almost 25 megawatts — enough for a small town — which is positively ludicrous when you remember that all that energy gets shunted into a projectile not much bigger than your arm.Generating that kind of power can be a challenge on its own, too. Many US naval ships have one or two engines or even small nuclear reactors to help with energy needs and leave the potential open for powering a gun like this. The USS Zumwalt, the Navy’s latest toy, is a stealth destroyer with four generators that crank out a total of 78 MW — more than enough for one of these railguns. The hope is that, eventually, a weapon system like this could be hooked into a Zumwalt-class destroyer and dramatically improve ship. But we’ve got a long way to go yet. U.S. Navy Swaps Touchscreens For Dials After Fatal CrashHere’s What It’s Like to Fly Upside-Down in a Fighter Jet Stay on targetlast_img