U.S. Navy releases video of badass railgun test firing
The U.S. Navy has released a November 2016 video of a functional railgun test firing at Dahlgren.
DAHLGREN, VIRGINIA — The U.S. Navy recently released footage of its electromagnetic railgun test fire that was carried out in November 2016.
The test was performed at Dahlgren naval facility’s new Terminal Range in Virginia, Popular Mechanics reported.
Using an electromagnetic force known as the Lorentz Force, magnetic fields created by high electrical currents accelerate a sliding metal conductor, or armature, between two rails to launch projectiles at speeds of over 4,500 mph, according to the Office of Naval Research website.
Railguns require 20 to 32 megajoules of energy to launch projectiles 50 to 100 nautical miles, according to a Congressional Research Service report.
The projectile is a non-explosive shell filled with tungsten pellets inside an aluminum alloy casing that falls away after the projectile leaves the barrel, according to Popular Mechanics. Targets are then destroyed by kinetic force.
“Using its extreme speed on impact, the kinetic energy warhead eliminates the hazards of high explosives in the ship and unexploded ordnance on the battlefield,” the Office of Naval Research website explains.
Railguns also eliminate the need for chemical propellants such as gunpowder meaning they could potentially operate much cheaper and fire faster than current Naval weaponry.
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