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Navy Railgun Breaks New World Record

Navy Railgun Breaks New World Record

The Navy’s electromagnetically powered rail gun breaks a new world record…

The Navy’s railgun has broken its own record by electromagnetically launching a bullet with a force of 33-megajoules, sending it hurtling at Mach 8 speed for 125 miles.

In the tests, conducted at Dalghren Naval Surface Warfare Center, the railgun successfully fired a 23lbs projectile at 5,500 feet per second, for a distance of 125 miles. Naval Research Officer said that the force used to send the bullet so far would have been ‘powerful enough to launch 33 Smart cars at 100 mph.’ [PopSci]

In clip below you get to see the array of generators and transistor that power the device. You’re then treated to a sound-less slow mo’ demo of the weapon in action; followed by another, this time with sound. The sound you hear in the clip is not the sound of explosives – as the weapon doesn’t use any – it’s actually the sonic boom produced by the bullet as it breaks the sound barrier.

The previous record was set back in 2008 when the same weapon was fired at 10-megajoules. The recent test more than doubles the amount of power used in previous tests, but the Navy is not stopping there.

The ultimate goal is to fire the railgun at 64-megajoules, which should hopefully launch the projectile 200 miles in under 6 minutes, at speeds of around 8,000 feet per second.

The weapon come with many benefits, namely its range, would allow its operators to be located at a safe distance from their target. It would also eliminate the need to carry explosives on ships or even to the battleground if the technology was adapted for use on land.

The Office of Science and Technology will keep testing the weapon until 2017, then all being well, the Navy guesstimates that could be deployed for shipboard defense sometime between 2020 and 2025.

Related Posts:


  1. Rebecca Boyle: Video: Navy Railgun Sets New Record, Launching A Metal Bullet To Mach 7 Speeds. PopSci, 12/10/2010.
  2. Spencer Ackerman: Video: Navy’s Mach 8 Railgun Obliterates Record. Danger Room, Wired, 12/10/2010.
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