For years, we’ve been hearing about the Navy’s newest high-tech weapon: an electromagnetic railgun. While the railgun has been debuted in public before, the Department of Defense has just released video of this amazing weapon for the first time. A decade of testing and over half a billion dollars of funding has seemingly paid off, judging by this incredible video.
Naval engineers tested the weapon inside the concrete bunker of a top-secret facility. The railgun is powered by electromagnetic rails that can send a projectile flying out of the barrel at an astonishing 4,500 miles per hour. It still has to undergo more development and testing, but so far, the railgun is certainly impressive. The 6-inch guns that the Navy currently uses have a range of 15 miles; the 16-inch guns of World War II had a range of 24 miles, and could penetrate 30 feet of concrete. The 38-foot railgun, though, has a range of 125 miles, five times the impact, and can shoot through seven steel plates.
Even in smaller weapons, using a railgun has been able to successfully extend the range. 6-inch guns using a railgun projectile were able to go from a 15-mile range to 38 miles; the Army’s 155mm Howitzers likewise had a farther range. William Roper, director of the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office, is clear about what this weapon could mean for the United States. “The Navy is on the cusp of having a tactical system, a next generation offensive weapon,” he said. “It could be a game changer.”
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