Just weeks after the U.S. Navy trotted outimages and a few short videosof its devastating electromagnetic “railgun”, (EM Railgun, blowing a fiery hole in a target at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va., a new and longer video has begun to make the rounds (see below). Whereas previous testing had taken place in the lab, this video indicates the Navy has moved the technology one step closer to combat.
For the uninitiated, a railgun fires projectiles using electricity instead of chemical propellants. Magnetic fields created by strong electrical currents accelerate a sliding metal conductor between two rails to launch projectiles at about 7,200 to 9,000 kilometers per hour, compared to perhaps 5,400 kilometers per hour for a conventional gun. By equipping ships with railguns rather than standard artillery, the Navy could eliminate the hazards of having high explosives on board ships.