After years of speculation and rumor, the public will finally get their first look at the US Navy’s EM railgun at this year’s Naval Future Force Science & Technology EXPO, which will be held on February 4th and 5th in Washington, DC.
This highly anticipated weapon is able to shoot 40-pound, solid projectiles without the need for artificial propellants. Instead, the railgun harnesses the energy from electromagnets that can produce 33 megajoules of power to launch projectiles at more than six times the speed of sound. Although the video shows enough explosions to make even Michael Bay happy, all of the railgun’s impact comes from pure kinetic energy.
The railgun is a true warfighter game changer. Wide-area coverage, exceptionally quick response and very deep magazines will extend the reach and lethality of ships armed with this technology. –Office of Naval Research Science & Technology
The US Navy’s committment to perfecting its railgun demonstrates our military’s continued trend in wanting to have the biggest and most powerful arsenal of weapons, and even during times of peace, which is pretty much never.
The US Navy intends to use this technology for anti-missile defense, long range target destruction (at over 100 nautical miles) and naval warfare. So far, this General Atomics/BAE systems-built weapon has managed to overcome much of the political wrangling and budget cuts that most advanced systems have recently confronted.
As we near the date of the expo and once these railguns are officially placed on ships, additional details will emerge concerning which ships are best suited for handling these canons and their estimated per unit cost.
Watch the video below to see the various stages of the railgun’s development:
Other sci-fi like technologies currently in development include lasers, mech suits (with Call of Duty-esque exo suits also in the works) and lightsabers (preferably with the new T-shaped hilt).