Washington, Dec 11 (ANI): U.S. Navy engineers at the Office of Naval Research have successfully test-fired a weapon that can hit a target 100 miles or more away within minutes.
Rather than relying on an explosion to fire a projectile, the technology uses an electromagnetic current to accelerate a non-explosive bullet at several times the speed of sound.
The conductive projectile zips along a set of electrically charged parallel rails and out of the barrel at speeds up to Mach 7.
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.
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," Fox News quoted Roger Ellis, of the Office of Naval Research, as saying.
A railgun offers 2 to 3 times the velocity of a conventional big gun, so that it can hit its target within 6 minutes, he said.
Furthermore, current U.S. Navy guns can only reach targets about 13 miles away. The railgun has been tested to reach an enemy 100 miles away.
"We're also eliminating explosives from the ship, which brings significant safety benefits and logistical benefits," said Ellis.
Admiral Carr, who calls the railgun a "disruptive technology," said that not only would a railgun-equipped ship have to carry few if any large explosive warheads, but it could use its enemies own warheads against them. He envisions being able to aim a railgun directly at a magazine on an enemy ship and "let his explosives be your explosives." (ANI)