U.S. Navy electromagnetic railgun appears dead in the water as researchers eye hypervelocity projectile

May 12, 2020
The hypervelocity projectile (HVP), which can fire from the Navy’s 127-millimeter deck guns, has a top speed of Mach 3 from a chemical-energy gun.

DAHLGREN, Va. -- The U.S. Navy’s $500 million electromagnetic railgun -- capable of slinging projectiles at hypersonic speeds -- lacks funding and has no coherent plan to deploy on warships. Popular Mechanics reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

12 May 2020 -- The Navy instead is pursuing an offshoot of the railgun, a hypervelocity projectile it can fire from existing gun systems.

The electromagnetic railgun (EMRG) is a weapon that uses electricity instead of gunpowder to send projectiles downrange. Railguns use magnetic fields created by high electrical currents to accelerate a projectile to Mach 6, or 5,400 miles an hour. The velocity is sufficient to give the EMRG an effective range of 110 nautical miles, or 126 miles on land.

The alternative hypervelocity projectile (HVP) is the same projectile developed for the EMRG but modified to fire from the Navy’s 127-millimeter deck guns. The projectile has a top speed of Mach 3 -- only half the speed as from an EMRG -- but still an improvement over current 127-millimeter projectiles.

Related: BAE Systems to continue development of shipboard power for Navy's electromagnetic railgun

Related: The Navy's killer electromagnetic railgun: are other directed-energy weapons programs higher priorities?

Related: Saft to provide energy storage and power electronics support for Navy electromagnetic railgun

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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