Gamers and scifi enthusiasts are familiar with the much-vaunted railgun — an electrically powered projectile launcher capable of propelling objects at speeds reaching Mach 7. We've seen the Navy's railgun in action before — but we've never actually seen it destroy stuff. Until now.
Reports of the USS Zumwalt's christening being delayed until next spring have been greatly exaggerated. In a surprise move, the US Navy instead launched the next-generation destroyer from its berth in Bath, Maine early this morning.
Ubiquitous in science fiction, rail guns are a hot area of military research in real life too. But will we ever really get to use them the way people in science fiction do? And could rail guns be used for a non-violent reason — inexpensively launching payload into space?
How have I not seen this project before? It may not be quite as powerful as the Navy's, but this DIY rail gun packs 5.6kJ. That's five point six kilo Joules of Oh-my-dear-sweet-Geezuss-I'll-never-piss-off-a-DIYer.
The US Navy has just completed a 10-megajoule test fire of their huge rail gun. For the first time ever, they fired a projectile with a velocity of 8,270 feet per second. That's an amazing 5,640 mph, and the gun is only firing at a third of its potential power. The other video shows you what the projectile looks like…
Like every other red-blooded American boy, I enjoy the notion of propelling a piece of lead at up to Mach 8 and at "extreme" ranges. That's why I was glad to hear that BAE Systems has delivered a rail gun capable of such feats, and that the US Navy signed for the package.
The Navy is working on a 5,000 projectile-per-minute railgun designed to shoot explosive hell on a target up to 300 nautical miles away. While this definitely doesn't make for good vacation video footage, it does put 100% of North Korea at risk, provided we ever decided to send them a bit o' honey from the old U S of…