The Rail Gun Is The Worst Nightmare For America’s Enemies…Why…Because “Speed Kills”
The U.S. Military started trials for this weapon in 2016 and from all appearances, it can be mounted on several different delivery systems (naval vessels for one). A railgun is an electrically powered electromagnetic projectile launcher based on similar principles to the homopolar motor. A railgun comprises a pair of parallel conducting rails, along which a sliding armature is accelerated by the electromagnetic effects of a current that flows down one rail, into the armature and then back along the other rail.
Railguns are being researched as a weapon with a projectile that would use neither explosives nor propellant, but rather rely on electromagnetic forces to achieve a very high kinetic energy. While current kinetic energy penetrators such as an armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot can achieve a muzzle velocity on the order of Mach 5, railguns can potentially exceed Mach 10, and thus far exceed conventionally delivered munitions in range and destructive force, with the absence of explosives to store and handle as an additional advantage. Railguns have long existed as experimental technology but the mass, size and cost of the required power supplies have prevented railguns from becoming practical military weapons. However, in recent years, significant efforts have been made towards their development as feasible military technology. For example, in the late 2000s, the U.S. Navy tested a railgun that accelerates a 3.2 kg (7 pound) projectile to hypersonic velocities of approximately 2.4 kilometres per second (8,600 km/h), about Mach 7. They gave the project the Latin motto “Velocitas Eradico”, Latin for “I, [who am] speed, eradicate” (in the vernacular usage, “Speed Kills”.)
A railgun requires a pulsed, direct current power supply. For potential military applications, railguns are usually of interest because they can achieve much greater muzzle velocities than guns powered by conventional chemical propellants. Increased muzzle velocities can convey the benefits of increased firing ranges while, in terms of target effects, increased terminal velocities can allow the use of kinetic energy rounds as replacements for explosive shells. Therefore, typical military railgun designs aim for muzzle velocities in the range of 2000–3500 m/s with muzzle energies of 5–50 MJ. For comparison, 50MJ is equivalent to the kinetic energy of a school bus weighing 5 metric tons, travelling at 509 km/h (316 mph). For single loop railguns, these mission requirements require launch currents of a few million amperes, so a typical railgun power supply might be designed to deliver a launch current of 5 MA for a few milliseconds. As the magnetic field strengths required for such launches will typically be approximately 10 tesla, most contemporary railgun designs are effectively “air-cored”, i.e. they do not use ferromagnetic materials such as iron to enhance the magnetic flux.
H/T – Wikipedia