Guidance for hyper velocity projectiles will involve the most rugged electronics ever developed

THE MIL & AERO VIDEO BLOG, 6 Aug. 2012. Imagine a naval surface battle without missiles. Okay, it's really not that hard; many of the big ones -- Trafalgar, Jutland, Leyte Gulf -- didn't have missiles. They only had the most powerful naval guns of their eras.

To add punch and accuracy to surface warfare, the Navy later added anti-ship missiles like the Harpoon to its arsenal. Big guns and big missiles are effective, but they have their drawbacks. Missiles are expensive, with their rocket engines and precision guidance. Big naval guns cause lots of damage to the enemy -- sometimes too much -- and they're dangerous for the users, as well. In 1989 a turret on the USS Iowa fitted with three 16-inch guns exploded, killing 47 crewmen.

Now imagine a naval surface battle fought not with missiles, and not with big guns, but with hypervelocity projectiles launched from shipboard electromagnetic railguns. The U.S. Navy is imagining doing just this, and to do it they need some of the most rugged electronics and guidance systems ever developed.

Now everybody has an idea of how naval guns and missiles work. The 16-inch main guns on Iowa-class battleships travels at about 1,800 miles per hour, give or take; it's about the speed of a bullet. The shell reaches its top speed shortly after leaving the gun's barrel, so that projectile is under some pretty impressive G forces at the instant of firing.

Now think about a naval anti-ship missile like the U.S. Harpoon, or French Exocet. That weapon has a top speed of about 540 miles per hour -- or less than a third the speed of a battleship shell. A missile, moreover, builds up to its top speed much more gradually than an artillery shell, and so safeguards its guidance electronics from excessive and potentially damaging G forces.

But now think of future generations of hyper-velocity projectiles launched from shipboard electromagnetic railguns. These naval munitions will travel at about six thousand miles per hour, or eight times the speed of sound. That's more than three times the speed of a battleship shell -- which will subject these projectiles to 20,000 to 30,000 Gs at launch.

Now these hyper-velocity projectiles of the future won't simply be dumb munitions like a battleship shell. They will have their own electronic guidance systems, which will have to survive the crushing G forces of launch, and intense heat of hypervelocity flight, to guide these future weapons to their targets.

This isn't just science fiction either. The Office of Naval Research has announced the Hyper Velocity Projectile program, which seeks to develop rugged electronics, strong materials, and warheads for accurate high-velocity weapons. Navy researchers demonstrated an electromagnetic railgun prototype four years ago. Trust me, this kind of weapon is coming.

Hyper-velocity projectiles destroy targets by pure speed; they don't even need conventional explosive warheads. The kinetic energy alone is enough to make vehicle-size targets disappear in balls of fire.

Shoot an electromagnetic railgun at a target 10 miles away and the projectile gets there in less than six seconds. For a target 200 miles away it gets there in about two minutes. A missile would take more than 20 minutes to reach such a distant target. Furthermore, no one would hear it coming, and probably wouldn't even be able to see it.

I guess that's the idea.

Follow Military & Aerospace Electronics and Avionics Intelligence news updates on Twitter

Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.


The Innovation That Matters™ Quiz

Innovation is one of the key drivers in the Defense industry. View this short video of Leon Woo, VP of Engineering at Mercury Systems, on the role of innovation. Then, answer 3 simple questions correctly to be entered into a drawing to win an Eddie Bauer fleece jacket!

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR TWO MOST RECENT WINNERS. "Nick from SPARWAR" and "Bridget from AOC."


Featured Slideshow

Evolution of the American soldier

The American soldier has come a long way since the beginning of the Republic 237 years ago. While uniforms for early soldiers were based on cost and utility, soldiers' clothing eventually considered ballistic protection, increasing storage space, protection from poison gas and other contaminants.

Related Products

RR2P Removable Canister RAID System

Transportable data storage for mobile field use aboard planes, ships and ground transport. 2U, du...

API DC Link Power Film Capacitors

High reliability DC link capacitors for power inverter applications which require superior life e...

XPort9200 Conduction- or Air-Cooled 12-Channel High-Speed CAN Bus XMC or PMC

The XPort9200 is a conduction- or air-cooled 12-channel CAN bus XMC or PMC module. Each high-spee...

Related Companies

Winchester Systems Inc

At its founding in 1981, Winchester Systems introduced its first 5 MB disk system for Intel development system users....

API Technologies Corp

Who We Are API Technologies is a dominant technology provider of RF/microwave, microelectronics, and security technol...

Extreme Engineering Solutions Inc (X-ES)

 Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a leader in the design, manufacture, and support of standard and ...

Most Popular Articles

Webcasts

On Demand Webcasts

Engineering the VPX high-speed data path for physical and signal integrity

Join Arrow Electronics and TE Connectivity, for an overview webinar of the standards, technologies and trends involving VITA and TE.

Design Strategy Considerations for DO-178C Certified Multi-core Systems

Join Wind River to learn how system architecture and design choices can minimize your DO-178C certification challenges.

Sponsored by:

Flying, Sailing or Driving - The Rugged, Embedded Intel-based Server that goes where you need it!Flying Sailing or Driving

Leveraging the power of server-class processors is no longer relegated to the confines of data centers. Through several innovations, Mercury Systems has ruggedized Intel’s server-class chips for deployment. ...
Sponsored by:

social activity

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2014
Volume 25, Issue 2
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE