Skip to comments.U.S. Navy to test futuristic, super-fast gun at sea in 2016
Posted on 04/08/2014 12:09:10 AM PDT by kingattax
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy is planning sea trials for a weapon that can fire a low-cost, 23-pound (10-kg) projectile at seven times the speed of sound using electromagnetic energy, a "Star Wars" technology that will make enemies think twice, the Navy's research chief said.
Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, the chief of Naval Research, told a round table group recently the futuristic electromagnetic rail gun had already undergone extensive testing on land and would be mounted on the USNS Millinocket, a high-speed vessel, for sea trials beginning in 2016.
"It's now reality and it's not science fiction. It's actually real. You can look at it. It's firing," said Klunder, who planned to discuss progress on the system later on Monday with military and industry leaders at a major maritime event - the Sea-Air-Space Exposition - near Washington.
"It will help us in air defense, it will help us in cruise missile defense, it will help us in ballistic missile defense," he said. "We're also talking about a gun that's going to shoot a projectile that's about one one-hundredth of the cost of an existing missile system today."
The Navy research chief said that cost differential - $25,000 for a railgun projectile versus $500,000 to $1.5 million for a missile - will make potential enemies think twice about the economic viability of engaging U.S. forces.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
I wonder if the projectile is fast enough to catch up with the speed of America’s decline under Obama...
On the bright side he's not busy selling all our stuff to the Chinese like Bubba did. Supercomputers thru Loral Systems, and an endless supply of hardware, software, and support.
How far can it shoot accurately?
Excellent question, at sea level the atmosphere is pretty dense.
With that much kinetic energy, even a near miss is devastating, just from the sonic boom that follows in its wake. Accuracy is not a primary consideration, the range will be relatively limited due to the density of the atmosphere.
The sonic boom will have effects below the surface of the water as well. There will be a lot of marine life rolling up to the surface after such a discharge.
Now as to a potential source for this much electrical power I would suggest the following:
There is a technology called “Plasma arc trash reduction”, a process by which ALL forms of trash are reduced to their constituent atomic structure, then the heat generated by this process is used to drive electric power generation. The primary products of this process are “syngas”, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, both of which are excellent fuels that may be used to drive the generation of electric power, and a silica slag which contains practically all other components of whatever went into the trash stream.
Once up and running, the operating temperature of the plasma torch is about 33,000 degrees F., about three times the temperature of the suns surface. The syngas generated is about 2,200 degrees F., and is passed over a heat exchanger to generate superheated steam (diverted to the generation of electricity), in the process of cooling it. Once cooled, the stream of hydrogen and carbon monoxide may be separated, yielding up pure hydrogen which may be used to power a fuel cell, or burned directly in the presence of oxygen to yield a very hot flame, which may be used to further produce power through the medium of superheated steam. Carbon monoxide itself is an excellent fuel which when combined with oxygen, forms carbon dioxide, a safe, NON-POLLUTING fraction of our atmosphere, and one that is vital for the photosynthesis of oxygen and carbohydrates in green growing plants. The carbon dioxide may also be captured, cooled and compressed into either liquid CO2, or allowed to become dry ice, an intensely cold and solid form of CO2, and an important industrial product.
The hydrogen, of course, when combined with oxygen, becomes water vapor.
Now, if this sounds like “perpetual motion”, keep in mind that the system, once charged up and functioning (by creating the plasma arc in the first place), it is possible to generate from three to six times the power necessary to maintain the arc, so long as the trash stream continues to be fed into the reactor chamber. The surplus electrical energy produced then goes into powering the rail gun, or converting any “syngas”, not consumed in generating additional electric power, into hydrocarbon fuel, among other byproducts.
Scoop up the floating debris on the ocean surface, divert all the existing waste into electric power, and reduce need for and dependence on fossil fuels. And not only the floating debris fields, marine life kill and the sewage sludge that is now dumped by ships at sea could go through this plasma arc, with the decomposed matter adding its bit to the “syngas”.
And we don’t even need either fission or fusion power to power this system.
The Chinese will steal the tech no later that mid 2016.
I dont for a second believe they invented any of the things they have been credited with.
Whatever it is, Obama will sell it.
Thank you Sheldon.
I guess he did not hear,no more Hellfire missiles or cruise missiles by 2016,Obama has spoken
About a hundred miles.
I’m sure they are developing the new tables. Projectile tables are developed for each round developed. They actually going into such detail that they take the earth’s rotation into account which creates a slight curve in the projectiles pattern as well as the current and anticipated ship’s motion. Just using the most basic tables a battleship could place a projectile accurately over the horizon within meters. Most of the 5” and 76mm guns from the 70s on were similarly accurate though without the additonal range. I would guess - and it’s a guess- that they will be able to place it within 20meters of target on a ballistic course depending on weather. The thing is I hear they are already thinking about how to add smart guidance or mrv capability to them ... oof don’t want to be downrange of that.
An article I saw a year or two ago said the rails had to be replaced every few shots, because the massive amounts of electricity they had to handle burned them out.
“a weapon that can fire a low-cost, 23-pound (10-kg) projectile ... $25,000 for a railgun projectile.”
Over $1000/lb. may be cheaper than a guided missile, but it’s not very cheap for an inert lump. I presume it’s a precisely machined lump of tungsten, or depleted uranium, and not a cast lump of lead.
A little bit of apples and oranges here...
Are we talking about projectiles and missiles as defensive, or offensive weapons? While the current missiles may cost more individually, what do the targeting and energy systems for the railgun cost? Are there limitations in environmental conditions that would affect one over the other? What about range...specifically shorter-range targets?
BS..... it has been under development for decades
It is a zombie program that will eat up money but never die.
Heat and structural stress are the real killer here. You’re dealing with a whole bunch of energy in a millisecond, and the heat is brutal. Plus there’s that whole equal and opposite reaction thing that Newton dreamed up.
After that, the drag doesn't pick back up to appreciable levels until it's reentering thick air again.
So the 100 nautical mile range is not far fetched.
And if for some reason your within line of sight... you're toast almost before you see the plasma flash as the projectile leaves the barrel.