US Navy railgun

The US navy have successfully tested a railgun. The idea was to fire a solid projectile up to 100 miles at Mach 7, but this time it only went 5,500 feet. The report also mentions an explosion and a column of fire behind the projectile, which seems odd if it was fired electrically. Anyway, who cares as long as it works. Give them time, and there will be a mini version to mount on your helmet.

Navy's sci-fi railgun breaks record for most powerful gun on the planet (VIDEO)
The flames are the plastic sabot burning up.
You have to get the sabot moving before you hit it with the magnetic pulse otherwise it will just melt. Typically a chemical propellant is used to fire the sabot and then the magnetics get to work.

If you mess up the timings then odd things happen.


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"Instead of relying on explosive propellants like gunpowder to fire, the gun uses a giant surge of electricity to propel the slug out of the barrel at speeds that can approach Mach 8 and can strike targets more than 100 miles away."

If you can hit the target 100 miles away....

If the round is 'dumb' then your fire control system is going to have to be psychic to predict the effect of wind and pressure differences on the way to a target over the horizon. Not to mention ballistic problems with a projectile going at that speed.

And if the round is 'smart' then I'd love to see the electronics that can stand up to (a) the EMF and (b) the acceleration from the rail gun.

Well, let`s all remember V1, V2 and Peenemunde! In 1936 they were still essentially a pipe dream of Wernher von Braun and various others.

Around 1941 or so the things were still doing just about everything that they were not meant to and going in directions other than that intended - and producing some marvellous film footage of tons of propellant going up in flames. Plus, the RAF had been over to mess the place up a little.

The first successful launching appears to have taken place (Wikipedia) on 11 June 1943. Production was moved underground because of the bombing.

As of 12 June 1944 the first V1s were landing on London and causing all manner of alarm and consternation. Jeez, they even made it into "The Glenn Miller Story". As of September 1944 we were treated instead to V2`s - a whole 1,402 of them arriving by 27 March 1945! Just for interest, 1,664 of them landed on Belgium; 1,610 in Antwerp.

As bullet-catcher says, just give them a bit of time to sort the bugs out.
Any projectile planned to fly at Mach seven would benefit from rocket assist or base bleed technology, to help fill the vacuum behind the round. Hence the column of smoke and flame.
Old news I'm afraid - thew Brits have been testing EM rail guns for at least 10 years. The problem is that the battery to fire it looks like Sellafield.

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