Naval Group in 9-member European Consortium to Develop Electromagnetic Railgun

  • Our Bureau
  • 08:52 AM, June 13, 2020
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Naval Group in 9-member European Consortium to Develop Electromagnetic Railgun

The European Defence Agency (EDA) has selected a nine-member consortium to build an "innovative electromagnetic railgun," as part of the EDA's plan to break free from depending upon the United States for cutting-edge defense technology.

The PILUM (Projectiles for Increased Long-range effects Using ElectroMagnetic railgun) consortium was selected a year after the EDA called for applicants to conduct a research project on an electromagnetic rail gun. The PILUM project is an integral part of the preparatory action research program on defense research (PADR) funded by the European Commission and managed by the European Defense Agency.

This project, planned to last two years, aims to demonstrate that a rail gun is capable of launching hyper-velocity projectiles with precision over a distance of several hundred kilometers. This new technology can reach a hypersonic speed increasing the range of the shooting by a factor of five, Naval Group said in a statement on June 11.

Rail gun technology is able to accelerate a projectile at initial speeds much higher than those obtained with powder cannons. This is due to the electromagnetic force of high voltage currents flowing in conductive rails. 

Initially, the objective of the project will be to validate the concept of the gun based on numerical simulations and scientific experiments, followed by a study which considers the integration of the rail gun in land and naval platforms. This project represents a decisive new step towards the development of a full-size demonstrator in the coming years. It also includes a work of reflection on concepts allowing to envisage future applications.

The project will also examine the possibility of integrating the railgun into terrestrial and naval platforms.

PILUM Consortium’s nine-member team:

  • Franco-German Research Institute of Saint-Louis (ISL)
    electromagnetic acceleration and project coordinator,
  • The Von Karman Research Institute (Belgium) specializing in fluid dynamics and propulsion
  • Two system integrators: Naval Group and Nexter Systems (France)
  • Two manufacturers of ammunition: Diehl Defense (Germany) and Nexter Munitions (France)
  • Explomet (Poland), an SME specializing in the coating of metals by explosion
  • ICAR (Italy), manufacturer of high density electrical capacitors
  • Erdyn Consultants (France), expert in the management of European collaborative projects
Naval Group in 9-member European Consortium to Develop Electromagnetic Railgun
Electromagnetic Railgun in a naval environment: EDA illustration
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