Feel The Power of the Railgun

Posted: December 12, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Short of a nuclear weapon, the Navy’s railgun has to be considered the most potentially awe-inducing warfighting tool in some time…like something from a Schwarzenegger movie before he became a politico.  And remember, never underestimate the power of the schwartz.

Ah, but the railgun.  Let’s see:

Mach 7 and maybe mach 8.

Range 100 miles (and going to 200 miles).

Anti-ship potential?  In spades.

Anti-missile potential?  Tally ho.

All this is…energetically active.  From the Fox story:

An electromagnetic railgun offers a velocity previously unattainable in a conventional weapon, speeds that are incredibly powerful on their own. In fact, since the projectile doesn’t have any explosives itself, it relies upon that kinetic energy to do damage. And at 11 a.m. today, the Navy produced a 33-megajoule firing — more than three times the previous record set by the Navy in 2008.

“It bursts radially, but it’s hard to quantify,” said Roger Ellis, electromagnetic railgun program manager with the Office of Naval Research. To convey a sense of just how much damage, Ellis told FoxNews.com that the big guns on the deck of a warship are measured by their muzzle energy in megajoules. A single megajoule is roughly equivalent to a 1-ton car traveling at 100 mph. Multiple that by 33 and you get a picture of what would happen when such a weapon hits a target.

That ain’t one point twenty-one gigiwatts, but it’ll do.

Will the arms controllers soon trot out their standard protestations (it won’t work; it’s too expensive; it’s destabilizing)?  Count on it.

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