The Office of Naval Research (ONR) of the United States has demonstrated the electromagnetic railgun initial rep-rate fires of multi-shot salvos at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division Wednesday.
Developed by BAE Systems for the Navy, the electromagnetic railgun relies on a massive electrical pulse, rather than gunpowder or other chemical propellants, to launch projectiles at distances over 100 nautical miles – and at speeds that exceed Mach 6.
The EM railgun has already been in development and testing for over a decade with total costs exceeding $500 million for the project.
The 25-pound projectile is a non-explosive bullet filled with tungsten pellets inside an aluminum alloy casing, or sabot that falls away after the projectile leaves the barrel. The Navy is also developing resistant electronics that go inside the projectile to make it possible to aim the weapon with GPS, technology that could eventually give the EM railgun effective missile-defense capabilities.
Inside Defense reported Thursday that ONR will conclude its electromagnetic railgun program at the end of FY-19.