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Railgun Questions

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posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 01:56 AM
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First off, this is my introductory post to ATS, so hello all.

And now for the topic I'm trying to learn about: railguns.

1) How long until we have a working system? Officially BAE will have a 32Mj system ready by 2008, but military projects seem to trend towards increased price and reduced capabilities with delayed introductions. This isn't always the case, but the challenges involved in producing a railgun seem significant (the idea isn't new or complicated, but the execution is tricky).

2) Can these things cary a payload? The Navy's system proposes kinetic-energy damage only (no explosives) using a GPS/inertial guided tungsten "bullet." This has the advantage of a much simpler design and storage requirements.

However, it seems like these projecticles would become much more usefull/flexible if they included some form of seeker. Radar/IR would allow you to engage moving targets, such as aircraft/missiles, or destroy radar installations using passive radar homing (usefull for eliminating those pesky coastal radar positions). Alternatly use GPS to fly your projectile to the battlefield, and use laser guidance to drop it on a moving target (i.e. specific vehicles in a convoy).

I guess this ultimatly depends on how large/how heavy a projectile the railgun can handle, which is info I haven't been able to find.

3) Can we backfit railguns onto existing designs? We've got plenty of ships with 5" mounts (Burkes and Ticos) who's capabilities would be greatly enhanced by EM railguns... but would they fit?

Well, that's it for now. Thanks in advance for any replies!




posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 02:27 AM
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This technology is still a good couple years away.

Japan is developing a navy version too which is said to be capable of hitting targets 300 nautical miles away travelling at 6 kilometers per second.



Because they travel so fast -- nearly Mach 7 -- the destructive force those rounds deliver would more than double, from 6.6 megajoules to 17. And they would fly almost five times farther -- up to 300 nautical miles. That's enough to put 100% of targets in North Korea "at Risk" from a single battleship

=http://www.defensetech.org/archives/002514.html



Unfortunately this is only expected to be ready in 2014 but I'm sure the US will have one much much sooner. As you say BAE will have one ready in 2008 but thats what they tell the public. - Weapon Technology is usually always around before the public knows about it.

Heres a link to some amateur guys who are doing it for themselves and if they have working model now, imagine what the US gov has.

www.powerlabs.org...



posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 07:24 AM
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Originally posted by RedMatt
First off, this is my introductory post to ATS, so hello all.


Hi




2) Can these things cary a payload? The Navy's system proposes kinetic-energy damage only (no explosives) using a GPS/inertial guided tungsten "bullet." This has the advantage of a much simpler design and storage requirements.

However, it seems like these projecticles would become much more usefull/flexible if they included some form of seeker. Radar/IR would allow you to engage moving targets, such as aircraft/missiles, or destroy radar installations using passive radar homing (usefull for eliminating those pesky coastal radar positions). Alternatly use GPS to fly your projectile to the battlefield, and use laser guidance to drop it on a moving target (i.e. specific vehicles in a convoy).


At the moment it is more interesting that these railguns work specifically WITHOUT explosives. The "shells" are mostly quite small, one project of DARPA is a railgun with only a small penetrator of 2kg mass - because the interesting thing IS the high velocity, and not the payload.

Explosives work on their own and they don´t need a railgun to be delivered, there is a gigantic arsenal of delivery method to choose from... artillery, mortars, naval guns, A2G missiles, cruise missiles, dumb/smart/floating/bunker buster bombs. making one for use with a railgun simply has no priority.

Another advantage of solid metal ammunition is that they are so much less hazardous to handle than explosive shells. Not to forget, my layman´s opinion tells me that it would be incredibly difficiult if not impossible to integrate a fuse and/or sophisticated electronic guidance system that could stand the incredible magnetic fields and the acceleration.


3) Can we backfit railguns onto existing designs? We've got plenty of ships with 5" mounts (Burkes and Ticos) who's capabilities would be greatly enhanced by EM railguns... but would they fit?


Simply mounting them shouldn´t be a problem... but they have a very high energy consumption, which might require extensive reworks of the ship´s systems/additional generators.

[edit on 17/7/2006 by Lonestar24]



posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 09:59 AM
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Hello there! And welcome!

Ahh yes, Railguns, Railguns are very cool.


Ok now; There are actually working models of Railguns, different universities and laboratories around the country have built working models of railguns, just do some searches on the internet, I'm sure you'll find something, because I know I have.

Anyways, Railguns were really seriously looked at for the SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) project back in the 80's. They were to be deployed on Satellites and added to the Missile defense shield. However two problems arose from this:

1)They were to expensive to launch.

2)There was no power supply readily available at the time that would fit on a satellite and that would provide enough wattage for a projectile to reach the necessary velocities it needs to bring down an ICBM.

Even Today, this is true, they are still very expensive and sadly, the Theoretical Railgun simply does not exist because the power supply does not.

The Theoretical Railgun would be capable of launching projectiles to velocities close to the Speed of Light, sadly that is not a possibility because there is no such power source that could provide the amount of energy necessary for that. Kind of like how Photon Lasers in Star Wars won't exist for a while, really the same reason.

Wikipedia To get you started

Shattered OUT...



posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 01:19 PM
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Technically rail guns already exist, just not in weapon form. The newest US Carrier is being fitted with a magnetic catapult to launch its aircraft. Obviously not a rail gun, but it’s the same science.



posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 01:26 PM
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Originally posted by Lonestar24

At the moment it is more interesting that these railguns work specifically WITHOUT explosives. The "shells" are mostly quite small, one project of DARPA is a railgun with only a small penetrator of 2kg mass - because the interesting thing IS the high velocity, and not the payload.

Explosives work on their own and they don´t need a railgun to be delivered, there is a gigantic arsenal of delivery method to choose from... artillery, mortars, naval guns, A2G missiles, cruise missiles, dumb/smart/floating/bunker buster bombs. making one for use with a railgun simply has no priority.

Another advantage of solid metal ammunition is that they are so much less hazardous to handle than explosive shells. Not to forget, my layman´s opinion tells me that it would be incredibly difficiult if not impossible to integrate a fuse and/or sophisticated electronic guidance system that could stand the incredible magnetic fields and the acceleration.


I think you missed the question, which is okay because I phrased it pretty poorly.

I agree that these weapons aren't going to need explosives to do their work and would only complicate the technology (KISS theory: keep it simple, silly), by payload I was refering to a guidance system that would make them more accurate or allow you to hit something other than stationary targets.

I would have thought the launch (both EM interferance and acceleration) would be more than electronics could handle, but the projectiles I've seen already have GPS/INS (8 cubic inch package, pretty cool on its own). A guidance system would simply increase the number of targets you could fire on, adding air-defense and anti-ship capabilities to what was originaly only a land-attack system (for example).

i.e. from what I've read Phalanx has an effective range of ~500m, while a Railgun with "guided bullets" could fire on incoming cruise missiles the moment they showed up on radar (range and accuracy hopefully making up for a very low rate of fire).



posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 06:17 PM
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Originally posted by ShatteredSkies
Hello there! And welcome!


Thanks!


Ahh yes, Railguns, Railguns are very cool.


Ok now; There are actually working models of Railguns, different universities and laboratories around the country have built working models of railguns, just do some searches on the internet, I'm sure you'll find something, because I know I have.


I've read the wiki article and a few other sites. The main problem seems to be the launch rails, which have to transmit huge amounts of power under high stress and friction. The Navy seems gung-ho on the concept, but it seems like if you fire more than a few rounds, gun literaly tears itself appart. That might be a "needs more time and money problem," or it might mean the concept itself is unworkable.

I guess thats what I'm trying to figure out: are railguns (as the Navy views them) possible, or are we throwing money at a problem that can't be solved?



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