Rail Gun Pumps Rounds At Swarms

Rail Gun Pumps Rounds At Swarms

One of the more intriguing technologies spotted at this week’s Navy League Sea-Air-Space Expo was General Atomics’ electromagnetic rail cannon. The company has been working for a number of years with the Office of Naval Research on a 200-nautical mile gun system. In a parallel effort, they’ve been developing a smaller, pulse-power technology demonstrator, called the Blitzer, for ship defense against anti-ship cruise missiles and small boat swarms.

Two million amps launch a guided projectile at twice the speed of a conventional gun, but at much lower cost than the usual surface-to-air missile systems on most naval ships. General Atomics is working on a cannon that can launch an airburst round at a rate of one per second. Each round dispenses sub-projectiles, so its equivalent to firing 14,000 rounds a minute, which is a higher rate of fire than the Phalanx close-in weapons system, says Tom Hurn, General Atomics director of advanced weapons systems.


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Be nice to see this or something like it on a Royal Navy vessel in the future.

I think this will go a long way to helping solve the percieved future problem with China’s ship swarms.

Like any organization you have people of mixed opinions who will sometimes pull in different directions. This is not intially intended as an offensive weapon but rather a defensive one. Many nations have identified the glaring weakness of our fleet composition. Swarms of smaller ships and cheap cruise missile are considered the most viable means of attacking our fleets. This weapon system is targeted directly at that type of enemy.

The Navy has wanted nuclear destroyers, frigates, and cruisers for the last decade. There was just too much anti-nuke sentiment, but now with sky rocketing fuel costs and environmental concerns nuclear reactors have shed enough of the ill will to be a viable choice. That said a railgun has better safety and is cheaper to operate.

Boomer, you’re mistaking Gates’ perspective on this. He’s saying that the navy needs to rethink how they approach the fundamental missions of getting access to an area that is increasingly tougher to get into. Look at how China is threatening our carriers potentially with their ASBM’s or how Iran has likely purchased the Russian Shkval super cavitating torpedoes. Gates is simply saying we can’t continue to attack the problem in the same way and perhaps revising the current force structure is a way of not only exacerbating the enemy’s plans, but also a chance for the US Navy to meet the goals in a new way. Gates would support the railgun.

Boomer, you’re mistaking Gates’ perspective on this. He’s saying that the navy needs to rethink how they approach the fundamental missions of getting access to an area that is increasingly tougher to get into. Look at how China is threatening our carriers potentially with their ASBM’s or how Iran has likely purchased the Russian Shkval super cavitating torpedoes. Gates is simply saying we can’t continue to attack the problem in the same way and perhaps revising the current force structure is a way of not only exacerbating the enemy’s plans, but also a chance for the US Navy to meet the goals in a new way. Gates would support the railgun.

He is double talking though, They keep pushing gear to the front of the line that is not really needed right now and still burried in R&D projects that will not do us any good for years to come. I agree with restructuring — we need to make everyone above 05 get out because they are (most of them) brainwashed on academy trained warfare. There is a lot of stuff out there already that will fill the current needs of the military at less cost than current contracts that the brass signed off on that wont be ready for years. I’m just saying dont ignore what we need now to fund items that wont be ready for years to come if then.

I think this will go a long way to helping solve the percieved future problem with China’s ship swarms.

Here is my question — while on one hand they claim we need to down size the NAVY and reduce thier procurement — and on the other claim there is no need for expeditionary forces or amphib ops; then what is the reasoning behind funding this program any longer and what will its purpose be, I mean we got rid of the battle wagons again because the brass saw coastal bombardments from ships as not being needed in the future. Seems to me that as usual they are not thinking straight, but that is OK I guess since the NAVY will get new ship designs to deploy these on, more than likely nukes to provide enough constant juice to them (can you say very expensive) and then they will be left looking for a way to use them and justify thier cost, lets see will it be somalia or korea or china they demonstrate on???

Greg, this sounds like another expensive answer to a low tech threat. can anyone say NLOS-LS?

He is double talking though, They keep pushing gear to the front of the line that is not really needed right now and still burried in R&D projects that will not do us any good for years to come. I agree with restructuring — we need to make everyone above 05 get out because they are (most of them) brainwashed on academy trained warfare. There is a lot of stuff out there already that will fill the current needs of the military at less cost than current contracts that the brass signed off on that wont be ready for years. I’m just saying dont ignore what we need now to fund items that wont be ready for years to come if then.

Mike, NLOS is an Army system.

mayo,
I suggest you read up on the USN’s LCS program.
The NLOS-LS (Launch System) that uses, or rather would’ve used, NetFires missiles (PAM) was going to be part of the Surface Warfare Modules for the LCS (Littoral Combat Ship).

It was actually an Army/Navy joint program, that the Army has recently pulled the plug on, leaving the Navy to decide to fund its troubled development all by themselves, or scrap it altogether for an alternative system,…of which there really aren’t any.

$.02.

“…200-nautical mile gun system. ” Voot! Does this mean we are back to armored ships lobbing projectiles at each other!?! I mean with lasers zapping ASSM and Blitzers to boot who knows where this will go.

This is a great option in the defense and assault areas. On the wone hand you can knock out a swarm of missiles or hostiles. Then on the other you could use this system in a larger version to launch Space devices. You could launch supplies or data links into orbit for the shuttles and space station. If it isnt striclty used for combat purposes only then this will go along way in solving part of the budget for NASA.

Sorry for the spelling its late and I’ve had a few cold ones.

The only thing for sure about this technology is that scatter brains designed it.…

Sure this may fire more “rounds” per minute then the phalanx but how accurate is it. From the sound of this article it seams to be a giant shot gun that uses electromagnets instead of gun powder.

Sorry Jonathan, this administration will probably give that technology to Iran instead of Great Britain. The new American Foreign Policy is to screw our allies and help our enemies.

What it means is that we need to find ways to defend our country cheaper, better, faster. The rail gun can bring back the firepower of the battleships! When we can accurately send a payload 200 miles to a target with precision, do we need an attack aircraft? The Navy has not had the naval gunfire support for ground troops for a long time, this can revitalize this mission. No longer do you need an aircraft carrier to do this type of mission. Maybe we can reduce the number of CBGs to 5 and replace that with LCS, SSGNs and Rail Gun Ships.

I know its far fetched, but.…

Rick

This was in the works over 20 years ago — for Star Wars.

Great gun. All you have to do is tow a small nuclear electro power station around to warm up the 2.5 million gig watts. Once again its nice to see, but how practical is this system. does the ship take an electro brown-out or lose all the ship juice it can muster to fire it? At the cost of energy, it doesn’t appear a simple lock, load and fire repeating weapon.

Metal Storm technology from Australia can remove clouds of ships with up to 1 million rds/min.

The railgun is pin point accurate; we’re doing away with propellant that takes extra care in handling and storage, the railgun has an unending supply of ammunition as long as they can supply huge amounts of electrical power. This and the laser is where we’re headed now. They use a tungsten spike; the speed at which it fly’s supply’s the kenetic energy the spike pearces into a target and shatters into billions of shrapnel fragments killiing everything in or near the target. These are good for keeping collateral damage down. They will be a cheaper way to go over time. Look forward to hear more.

Well I certainly like the shotgun approach which could possibly take out multiple targets within proximity. Too bad we didn’t have this type technology in 2001 at the Pentagon when it was really needed… but, of course, someone still needs to pull the trigger.

see: Tesla

welcome to the future… Several decades ago.

Mercin edumacationism system is be awesome!

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