Within the next ten years, the US military will unleash an incredible new weapon called a railgun because of the rails in its barrel. At this time, there is little if any defense against it. It is unlike a common gun that uses some type of explosive charge to propel a bullet; this is an electromagnetic device that fires a non-explosive projectile at a staggering velocity causing great damage on impact. It works as follows: As an electric current held in capacitors is discharged, the surge is sent along one rail in the barrel, through a conductive covering on the projectile itself, onto the second rail and then back to the source, completing the circuit. Since the current in each rail flows in a different direction, the resulting electromagnetic field creates a repulsive force that travels with the bullet and accelerates it to an unbelievable 4500 mph! On impact it discharges tungsten pellets that hit with the same speed of course as the main projectile for a truly devastating effect. It is expected that it will be used against ballistic missiles, but will certainly be effective against planes, tanks, ships, etc. After ten years of development, a prototype is now being tested.
Here are some of the extraordinary specifications: The barrel is 32 ft. long; the projectile weighs 25 lbs.; it can fire 10 times a minute and as noted, the exit velocity is 4500 mph. That means it moves at about a mile and a quarter a second! Even if someone somehow saw it coming, nothing could get out of its way. It has an amazing range. The 16 inch guns of a now mothballed WWII battleship could reach a target 24 miles away. The railgun has a range of 125 miles and hits with five times the impact. It can penetrate 7 steel plates. And it is actually a smart weapon whose aiming and steering are controlled by hardened electronics. A destroyer capable of using this weapon could carry a maximum of 96 cruise missiles, but instead could have 1000 rounds for a railgun on board. Plus the cost is a relatively small $50,000 per round, whereas a cruise missile is about $10 million. One drawback is that the power required is 25 megawatts, enough to run a village. Another is that few ships now have that capacity, although more are on the way. The railgun is a superweapon that creates devastation from the enormous energy of the projectile’s speed and is virtually indefensible.
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