The U.S. Office of Naval Research is looking to develop GPS-guided projectiles for its high-power electromagnetic railgun.
The railgun, which is still currently being tested under lab-controlled environments, utilizes powerful magnets to propel projectiles at thousands of miles per hour, over a range of around a hundred miles. And once it’s ready to be fielded, the Navy wants GPS-guided projectiles that have the ability to alter their flight path whilst travelling at 5,600 mph.
GPS Guided Projectiles For Navy’s Railgun
The GPS-guide round, which will be developed as part of the Hyper Velocity Projectile program, will operate more like a cruise missile than a mortar. The new rounds would be 24-inches long, weigh between 20 and 30 pounds, and have an effective range (in standard naval artillery format) of more than 30 miles.
But before the railgun can be installed on ships, researchers must first figure out how to generate the massive amount of electric required to power the weapon without draining a naval ships power resources.
Nevertheless, the Navy say’s the railgun could potentially fire these rounds over a range of 200 miles, and hope that the weapon will debut on its next-gen Zumwalt class destroyer – scheduled to enter service in 2015 – early next decade.
Live fire demonstrations of the Hyper Velocity Projectile are scheduled for 2017.