Badass! Navy test fires its new rail gun


Test slug impacts the target

When I first saw this an half hour ago, I thought it a recent test firing. Now looking at the date it’s actually from December 2010, but it’s still cool to see.


A railgun doesn’t use an explosive charge to fire the projectile. Instead, it uses electromagnets to pull the projectile along until it leaves the weapon. The projectile doesn’t contain explosives, but at a muzzle velocity of around 11,000 feet per second (about Mach 10!) the force of impact would probably at least equal that of an conventional explosive. Plus, not having the danger of all that explosive ordinance on board makes a happier Navy.


What appears to be flame in the NAVSEA test firing below when the weapon fires is plasma.



BAE Systems, along with partners IAP Research and SAIC, participated in a record-setting shot measuring 33-megajoules (MJ) of muzzle energy set by the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) experimental Electromagnetic Railgun launcher on December 10, 2010. The shot broke ONR’s previously held world record of 10.64MJ of muzzle energy achieved in Jan. 2008.

A MJ is a measurement of energy associated with a mass traveling at a certain velocity. For example, a one-ton vehicle moving at 100 mph equals a MJ of energy.

The experimental Electromagnetic Railgun launcher used for the demonstration was developed through a team led by BAE Systems, after which BAE Systems showcased their advanced composite prototype railgun to Navy leaders.

BAE Systems received a $21 million contract from ONR in February 2009 to design and develop an advanced containment railgun prototype.




About Erick Brockway

Living in Camarillo, CA, about 45 miles North of LA. I have a son, and two daughters. Working two jobs (welcome to California life), plus a (now retired) reservist in the US Navy Seabees so life is busy!
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2 Responses to Badass! Navy test fires its new rail gun

  1. j says:

    taht happened dec 2010

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