JCC US Navy tests its hypersonic, electromagnetic "superweapon"... may be installed on ships in 8 years

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ghost, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Ghost Chosen One

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    [image=http://images.wikia.com/starwars/images/5/50/Superlaser2.jpg]




    New Navy Railgun Tests Leading to Ship Superweapon by 2020


    The first weapon-scale prototype of a futuristic Navy railgun began undergoing firing tests last week, the next big step toward putting the electromagnetic superweapon on U.S. warships by 2020. The Navy envisions using railguns to destroy enemy ships, defend against enemy missiles, or bombard land targets in support of Marines hitting the beaches.

    Newly released video shows the prototype railgun using an electric-powered launcher rather than gunpowder to fire a huge hypersonic bullet in a cloud of flame and smoke. The Office of Naval Research hopes its new test phase ? scheduled to last until 2017 ? leads to a Navy weapon capable of hurling 40-pound projectiles at speeds of 4,500 mph to 5,600 mph over 50 to 100 miles (7,240 to 9,010 kilometers per hour over 80 to 161 kilometers).

    The full-size prototype, made by BAE Systems, "looks like a real gun," said Roger Ellis, program manager for the railgun at the Office of Naval Research, during a media teleconference today (Feb. 28). Previous tests involved clunky laboratory prototypes that would never see action aboard a Navy warship.


    U.S. Navy commanders ultimately want a weapon capable of firing up to 10 guided projectiles per minute at targets up to 100 miles away. Navy warships currently have 5-inch guns capable of firing at distances of 13 miles.

    "There is potential to replace the 5-inch gun, but it would do far more," Ellis said in response to an InnovationNewsDaily question. The railgun could hit the same distant targets that Navy missiles strike today, he said.

    A second railgun prototype, built by General Atomics, is set to arrive for testing in April, Ellis said. Having railguns built by different companies gives the Navy a choice if it ultimately decides to deploy the superweapon.

    Both General Atomics and BAE Systems committed millions of their own dollars during the first $240 million test phase, which recently ended. The newly begun Phase II is funded at about the same amount. It is testing prototypes capable of harnessing 32 megajoules of energy. Just one megajoule would be enough to throw a 1-ton car 100 mph.

    During the five years of Phase II, the Navy plans to test cooling systems and a battery that could store the energy required by the railgun. It has contracted with General Atomics, BAE Systems and Raytheon for designs for a pulsed power system.

    Because of its hypersonic speed produced by the railgun, a projectile shaped like a bullet could deliver devastating damage even without exploding. It could include electronic guidance systems such as GPS that would be protected against the immense heat of the giant bullet's hypersonic passage.

    "The rounds we are firing currently are non-aerodynamic slugs," Ellis said of the testing. "They match the interior ballistics of what the launcher is expected to see but are intended to slow down quickly."

    If all goes well, the Navy could end up equipping its ships with railguns of all different sizes. Companies such as General Atomics have already built smaller railguns for their own testing purposes.

    "We believe this is game-changing technology, and in our case we've invested internal funds of more than $20 million for a subscale prototype to move the technology forward," said Tom Hurn, director of railgun programs at San Diego-based General Atomics.




    There's a video of a test at the link.
  2. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    I think this would be a better lead-off image.

    [image=http://images.wikia.com/metalgear/images/a/ac/7099680metal-gear-rex-jpg.jpg]

    Since, y'know, railgun =/= weaponized lasers.
  3. EHT New Films Manager

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    Fear will keep the local systems in line.
  4. solojones Chosen One

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    Imagine the kinds of headphones everyone on deck will have to wear to keep their ears from exploding.


    -sj loves kevin spacey
  5. MarcusP2 Games and Community Reaper

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    I wonder how they solved the problem of the rails being destroyed from the massive heat within a couple of shots. If this project is actually successful there would be a lot of interesting materials science coming out of it. Though I tend to predict in 5 years time a 'railguns by 2025' article.
  6. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

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    Apr 25, 2004
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    This railgun program seems to be coming along rather smoothly. Too smoothly, in fact....
  7. Lord Vivec Chosen One

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    Hooray using scientific knowledge to find more and more ways to kill each other!
  8. MarcusP2 Games and Community Reaper

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    Couldn't they also use this to shoot satellites into space?
  9. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    It also has potential applications at the circus.
  10. MarcusP2 Games and Community Reaper

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    In any case I'm not really interested until they have man-portable versions that can lock on to people's hearts and shoot them through buildings.
  11. Lord Vivec Chosen One

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    Apr 17, 2006
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    Really? I'd be more interested in the applications this has on making 'fast travel' a reality.
  12. Souderwan Chosen One

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    Jun 3, 2005
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    Actually, this same technology is being looked at as an alternative to the steam catapults in use today for launching aircraft off carriers. Does that count?
  13. MarcusP2 Games and Community Reaper

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    I was referring to Eraser.

    Anyway wouldn't 'fast travel' on this destroy people from the acceleration?
  14. Aytee-Aytee Force Ghost

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    [image=http://tfwiki.net/w2/images2/thumb/b/b9/ROTF_rail_gun.jpg/350px-ROTF_rail_gun.jpg]
    AIM FOR THE TESTICLES!
  15. PRENNTACULAR VIP

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2005
    star 6
    This is scary and seems unnecessary. I would rather we spend our money, time, and brains researching things that will HELP people, like renewable energy or something.
  16. Darth Guy Chosen One

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    Aug 16, 2002
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    Don't worry, in all likelihood it'll just be brown people.
  17. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
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    How about this?

    [image=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Railgun_usnavy_2008.jpg]
  18. Lord Vivec Chosen One

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    Obviously. I was being facetious.
  19. Billy_Dee_Binks Force Ghost

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    Coming soon: Tazers firing Neutron Bombs! Comes with two working cartridges and a holster!

    Seriously, weapons like these will someday end human existence. Mark my words...no wait, no one's gonna be left by then.:oops:
  20. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    Gotta love that "BWUZZ!" sound it makes when it fires... ironically similar to that popular movie trailer "BWOM!" sound effect that was introduced with Transformers 2 and Inception...
  21. Aytee-Aytee Force Ghost

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    Actually introduced with Attack of the Clones
  22. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    I'm not sure it's the same effect, but even if those trailers didn't invent the sound, they certainly popularized it into the the modern "In a world..." that it's become.