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Navy funds research on electric rail gun

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posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 10:02 AM
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TPL Inc. has received a $1.5 million federal contract to, in effect, imitate the power of lightning for a new class of weapon-launcher that doesn't require explosives.

Under the appropriation, TPL will provide power supply components to the Navy for a prototype rail gun -- a device that uses a massive electrical charge to launch a projectile.


Source: Military & Aerospace Electronics

Comments:
I was not aware that there was an active rail gun program that wasn't "black". How cool is that?




posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 10:30 AM
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Originally posted by intelgurl

Comments:
(..) How cool is that? (..)


Heh. I get a twitch in my cheek everytime someone combine the expression cool, with weaponry.


Yet, I know you intend to say the coolness is, that it is not a 'black' project.


I might also go so far to say that it is cool with this new technology, being a techno/gadget/gizmo/arms-nerd my self.


I recall a conversation between Hellmutt, me and a friend of mine where we were asking ourselves why there weren't any of these 'tools' yet.
We came up to the conclusion, that the first areas of implementation would be on large navy vessels, since the power needed to make any projectiles go far enough, fast enough, would be tremendous. On these vessels, a nuclear reactor would be able to create these vast amounts of energy, but still, there would be a system with huge capasitors to build up and contain the energy, in a stable circuit. If the power is in the process of being accumulated, there can be no powerdrop. That would result in a premature firing-sequence. Not very practical.

I can only imagine the size of this weaponry, if having to build it with components that is available now.

Another problem, I believe, would be the cost and production and reliability.
conventional firearms in steel are very durable. A electromagnetic gun would consist of a lot of electronics components, and we know how durable those things are... especially in salty water.


Great news btw, Intelgurl!


Edited in another thread
This is one of the future vessels that very well will get these guns:
CVN-21 Super-Carrier


[edit on 7-1-2006 by Ulvetann]



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 10:43 AM
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Would not this research [electric rail gun] be in relation/conjunction to/with the DDX program?





seekerof






[edit on 7-1-2006 by Seekerof]



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 10:56 AM
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Well the atricle doesn't go into much detail. It just says they are going to start working on the project. Its not like there hasn't been a JASON study on it or anything. *ahem*


-Aza



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 08:15 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
Would not this research [electric rail gun] be in relation/conjunction to/with the DDX program?





seekerof






[edit on 7-1-2006 by Seekerof]

I wouldn't be the least bit suprised, it's public knowledge that the Navy has a DDX project that is supposed to be armed with railguns, so as to why Railguns would go black, I don't know, but if the public knows that a destroyer is going to have railguns, it's not very black.

Electric Railgun? Hmm, that's a big battery, all I gotta say.

Shattered OUT...



posted on Jan, 7 2006 @ 11:39 PM
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"Electric" and "Railgun" always get my funny bone for redundancy.


Don't confuse railguns with mass drivers though. What CVN-21 and even the USS Ronald Reagan are getting is not a railgun, rather they are getting an electromagnetic mass driver to replace the steam driven catapult.



posted on Jan, 8 2006 @ 03:45 PM
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Originally posted by Travellar
"Electric" and "Railgun" always get my funny bone for redundancy.


Don't confuse railguns with mass drivers though. What CVN-21 and even the USS Ronald Reagan are getting is not a railgun, rather they are getting an electromagnetic mass driver to replace the steam driven catapult.


I feel this was a comment to my last post.
To clarify, I did not talk about the catapult on the CVN-21, but about potential weapons to deploy onboard for the vessels self defence.



posted on Jan, 9 2006 @ 03:03 AM
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Howdy guys,

just thought Id add what I currently know.

I believe the problem with a the rail gun isn't the electrics but the materials used to make the gun itself. The circuit itself is quite simple for a rail gun. You simply store charge in a capacitor bank and then discharge it down the rails in very short time in the form of an electric arc. This electric arc forces the rail guns non conducting projectile out of the barrel at speeds of several killometers a second. Thats the easy part.

The hard part is getting the materials right for the rails. They are under such massive massive stresses, current barrel life is only ever a few shots at the moment. However I am aware that BAE systems are researching this problem. Indeed the US DOD have awarded funds for them to do this.

I'll also be able to tell you the specific types of materials (i.e. scientific terms) once my housemate wakes up. He's a material scientist and probably one of the smartest people I know.

To quote Arnie " I'll be back!"



posted on Jan, 9 2006 @ 07:09 AM
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Have a cruise around this site

www.metalstorm.com...

www.metalstorm.com...

FATMAN

[edit on 9-1-2006 by fatman]



posted on Jan, 9 2006 @ 08:06 AM
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Mmm, yeah. Metalstorm has indeed a wide variety of hardcore toolz in progress!

And the link included makes my ticker beat somewhat faster.
I am imagining myself a supercarrier full of battlestations. Unmanned!

Drool. I want a remote controlled, self-targetting system on top of my manor too! Like one of those FN Herstal ARROWS:

Related link:
FN Herstal, ARROWS

I wouldn't mind being able to update it to a railgun...
Although I would need to extend my basement for the powergenerator, I think.



posted on Jan, 9 2006 @ 08:26 AM
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I was actually responding to several comments which had established a general trend.

As for ships self defence weapons, they'd probrably be developed as a seperate, stand alone system. (Think CWIS) and remember, a carrier is not a battleship. The whole idea is to keep the carrier OUT of a fight.



posted on Jan, 9 2006 @ 10:08 AM
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Originally posted by Travellar
I was actually responding to several comments which had established a general trend.


Okay, then You are my friend again!

Your intended message to the general public didn't break through my thick trend-filter




As for ships self defence weapons, they'd probrably be developed as a seperate, stand alone system. (Think CWIS) and remember, a carrier is not a battleship. The whole idea is to keep the carrier OUT of a fight.


I surely believe you in this. I may have to add, that there will always be the need of self-defence systems, even on carriers. CWIS, as you say, will solve this issue.
I, for one, would sure as h*** not choose to go close to the supercarrier with a small rowing boat. Since the Phalanx system most likely would aquire my body heat as a potential threat, it would fill my musclepowered dinghy with so much lead, in so short time, that it would only be funny to watch on online videoclips.



posted on Jan, 9 2006 @ 11:25 AM
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Nonsence, a CIWS mount would not fill you with lead.

the bullets are either DPU or Tungston Carbide.



posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 03:25 AM
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can you say rebirth of the BB?



posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 02:25 AM
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Actually, they're hoping that the DDX can mount enough firepower out of its one gun to rival a BB in rate of fire.

I think the requirement for the AGS planned for the DDX is battalion level artillery in one gun.

And the AGS is not a railgun, although they do want to put rail guns on the DDX to increase ammo capacity.



posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 07:18 AM
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AGS is the backup plan in case they can't get the railgun working.

They've already got the railgun working.



posted on Apr, 9 2006 @ 02:40 AM
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a few clarifications for those keeping score...

1. yes the DDX railgun technically works last we heard but has a disturbing tendency to destroy it's crucial parts in an undisclosed amount of shots

2. The DDX and carrier of the future projects both work around a concept where power is not directly dedicated to subsystems (aka propulsion weaps etc.) but instead routted through central busses and can be diverted at will through systems designed to accept massivelly larger than normal load in cases where that system is needed more than other systems (laymans terms in an emergency weapons can monopolize 100% of power plant capacity rather than a small predetermined portion of the total power generation abillity of the ship's power plants). On a side note what this essentially means is the main power busses are all massivelly over engineered to accept well beyond it's status quo of energy of normal operating conditions.

3. Now we get to the mass driver versus railgun argument.
saying a mass driver is different than a railgun is akin to saying a rifle is different than a pistol, mortar, and conventional tube artillery weapon. In the hierarchy of technical names the massdriver/railgun are the electromagnetic equivellant of artillery and rifles. they both use chemical propulsion to deliver a shell. in the electromag world maglev and coilguns are different. However massdrivers and railguns are the same and roughly equivellant to massdriver = artillery railgun = rifle.



posted on Apr, 9 2006 @ 09:59 PM
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well, if you're willing to settle for "uses electricity: expends ammunition", then yes, they are very much the same. My point was more towards a finer detail of the exact means of using the electricity.

A railgun uses a single, high powered, circuit to induce a magnetic field into both the launch rails and the projectile. Those fields repel against eachother, causing the projectile to move out from the rails.

A Coilgun or Massdriver however, typicly involves the use of a series of sequentially activated magnetic feilds, which act in turn on a ferrous projectile or a sled carrying the intended projectile.

Still, you are quite correct to note that this distinction is splitting hairs on my part. The real value of either is that it's a magor enebling step towards the concept of the all-electric ship. That famous line in so many sci-fi movies and series, where the order is given to "double power to the forward shields" is one step closer. I wouldn't however, care to be the commanding officer put in the position of deciding whether my weapons or propellers are more important in a running firefight.



posted on Apr, 10 2006 @ 02:07 AM
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I already knew about battleship application AND application for armored combat vehicles (when Future Combat Systems was still comprised of just one tank).

There was an article about this on a site somewhere but it has been a terribly long time ago since I last visited it, I knew about this back in 2000~2001.

Well good to hear it's been acknowledged, back when I heard about it it was kinda..."gray" so to speak.



posted on Apr, 11 2006 @ 05:16 PM
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Please lets leave MetalStorm out of this. It's a joke, designed to siphon taxpayers money on buddy buddy DOD bases. Don't get me started, been there years ago and have no interest of getting back in there.

I am truly interested in this grant. Even though 1.5 mil is literally nothing compared to their other contracts, who's got the skinny on the TPL?

From what I pulled they specialize in

the demilitarization of conventional munitions as well as the development of economically viable processes for the commercial reuse of recovered energetic materials.


www.sba.gov...

railgun concept has a longer beard the of all of us put together, so I'm really interested is what's their spin on it.

To put it simply, everybody already has their own railgun at home, in the form of a speaker coil, so if someone has solid info on what their approach is, I'm all ears.

Thanks in advance.
.



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