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General Atomics builds a new rail gun capable of 200 Nautical Miles

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posted on May, 10 2010 @ 11:29 PM
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"One of the more intriguing new technologies spotted at this week’s Navy League Sea-Air-Space Expo was General Atomics’ electromagnetic rail cannon. The company has been working for a number of years with the Office of Naval Research on a 200 nautical mile gun system. In a parallel effort, they’ve been developing a smaller, pulse-power technology demonstrator, called the “Blitzer,” for ship defense against anti-ship cruise missiles and small boat swarms..."

This article seems really interesting to me, I am curious to know if such a weapon is capable of firing a nuclear war.. Maybe I am wrong here but if that is possible would that make it possible to fire a nuke undetected (for those that are familiar with the Metal Gear gaming series) undetectable to radar. This machine is reported to be able to fire a projectile 200 nautical miles on electrical energy to me that seems quite a feat but perhaps some you fellow ATSers may be able to shed light onto some of the more technical implications of such a device. Could this quite possibly be the fore front of more advanced technology to project objects into space? Etc

Here is the link from military.com that has a small article and video:
defensetech.org...




posted on May, 10 2010 @ 11:42 PM
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In the words of Carl Brutananadilewski of ATHF, " Freakin' Awesome!"


I was just watching Transformers 2 with my boys yesterday and I got excited whenwatching the scene at the Pyramid and one of the humans is on the horn with a Capt of an A/C carrier and he tells the Capt. to use the Top Secret Rail Gun on the bad guys...I really thought it was still fantasy, lo and behold it's real! Nice find. Would love to see these mounted on combat vessels! Thanks!



posted on May, 10 2010 @ 11:48 PM
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Originally posted by Springheel Jack
In the words of Carl Brutananadilewski of ATHF, " Freakin' Awesome!"


I was just watching Transformers 2 with my boys yesterday and I got excited whenwatching the scene at the Pyramid and one of the humans is on the horn with a Capt of an A/C carrier and he tells the Capt. to use the Top Secret Rail Gun on the bad guys...I really thought it was still fantasy, lo and behold it's real! Nice find. Would love to see these mounted on combat vessels! Thanks!


You people just love death dont you? WTF is wrong with this world?




posted on May, 11 2010 @ 12:01 AM
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reply to post by Master Shen long
 


Why would you not think it's interesting? Heck this is something that could lead to a mass driver one day. Help us get further into space and start up colonies. It just so happens a vast majority of scientific breakthroughs are done for the sake of military.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 12:07 AM
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reply to post by Hypntick
 



Oh, what a big fat straw man.

That's only because that's where the money is.

If the same amount of money that is spent on the military was spent on renewable energy and space exploration, we would be a clean planet and have colonies on the moon and mars 20 years ago.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 12:12 AM
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I was kind of leaning towards what kind of implications technology like this might be used for if not a weapon but as a weapon its capablities or as a non destructive means of sending or launching objects for non destructive means.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 12:24 AM
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reply to post by Horza
 


Honestly, that would never happen. Humanity is no where near ready for no more wars. Not gonna happen. Heck i'd wager there will be another dark ages before we ever get much further than the moon. Some would argue that's where we are right now.

As for technology coming from the military, well that's not going away any time soon. I figure we may as well accept that fact and take what good we can from it.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 12:25 AM
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Good thread Brotherman, S&F!


Originally posted by Brotherman

This article seems really interesting to me, I am curious to know if such a weapon is capable of firing a nuclear war..


Maybe not impossible but there are some design considerations, I think the biggest of which would be the ability of the projectile to withstand the G-forces it's subjected to. A simple projectile can withstand the g-forces in a rail gun because there's not much to it.

Using a nuke as a projectile however poses complications. Ether the nuke would have to be designed to withstand higher G's, or the maximum g-forces applied would have to be reduced, and there's one way I can think of to reduce the G-forces, and that's by making the rail gun longer, so you can achieve the same exit velocity, but since the acceleration occurs over a longer distance, the G-forces would be reduced. But I suspect you'd have to make the rail gun so long as to be impractical for many applications, for example it would be too long for a mobile launcher.

The Wiki article says the rail gun projectiles don't even have any explosives (not even conventional), they don't need them since there's so much kinetic energy in the projectile:

en.wikipedia.org...


Railguns are being researched as weapons with projectiles that do not contain explosives, but are given extremely great velocities: 3,500 m/s (11,500 ft/s, approximately Mach 10 at sea level) or more (for comparison, the M16 rifle has a muzzle speed of 930 m/s, or 3,050 ft/s), which would make their kinetic energy equal or superior to the energy yield of an explosive-filled shell of greater mass.


[edit on 11-5-2010 by Arbitrageur]



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 12:31 AM
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Good Find OP! S&F
I find it interesting that we now have the technology to do this. it seems like more and more these days the ideas of the forgotten but great Tesla are becoming true! (the death ray ring a bell?)

Also, this does, as some have already said have many different implications other then just a weapon. although unfortunately our US military will only use it as a weapon. hopefully one of our non-militant scientist can get a hold of one and try to use it for good!



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 12:52 AM
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I still think it would make an interesting weapon even if it didnt fire explosive projectiles, with the right tracking and aiming equipment even to fire a rod of solid metal into space to knock off an enemy satellite without the detection of thermal or radar would be an incredible advantage whole military units, planes, and all kinds of different communications could simply be just cut off and the posibility no one could truly know for sure who done it. This would create a major tactical advantage.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 12:58 AM
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How far do you think a sucker like that could fire a water balloon?

Tell me that wouldn't be the ULTIMATE prank! A rail-gun that could launch a water balloon 200 miles?!?!? I have SO MANY people I would be firing those at!




posted on May, 11 2010 @ 01:23 AM
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Originally posted by Brotherman
This article seems really interesting to me, I am curious to know if such a weapon is capable of firing a nuclear war.. Maybe I am wrong here but if that is possible would that make it possible to fire a nuke undetected (for those that are familiar with the Metal Gear gaming series) undetectable to radar.


Why would you think firing a projectile from a rail gun makes it undetectable to radar?

If it's of any size at all, you will be able to pick it right up.

But I'd be a little surprised if you could, the initial G forces of a rail gun are pretty damned bad, and most of the Naval rail gun designs are kinetic kill: they use the energy in the projectile to do the damage, not an explosive load.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 01:25 AM
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Originally posted by Lakai.Limited
Good Find OP! S&F
I find it interesting that we now have the technology to do this. it seems like more and more these days the ideas of the forgotten but great Tesla are becoming true! (the death ray ring a bell?)


I think you'd be pretty hard put to find Tesla's rail gun designs. This isn't even slightly like a "death ray". Something Tesla likely never had any actual designs for, btw, he liked claiming a lot of bogus crap to get funding.

In that, he is the forerunner of most modern scientists, IMHO.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 01:26 AM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


Sorry, Arbitrageur, I was reading and replying from the top down. Didn't see your post until I had already replied with pretty much the same answer.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 02:09 AM
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reply to post by Bedlam
 


If a rail gun could fire a dense object the size of something like a large needle that is smaller than a missle into space do you think it would register as a sizeable threat or more or less some kind of error on the moniter. And I am aware that rail guns do not rely on explosive war .s but the thought of electromagnetically launching a war . is an interesting one do you foresee something like this being in the pipline for the future? And again I am only asking about such technology and speculation as to what this machine may be used for outside of war as well seeing as this to me is an interesting weapon with possibilities into something else that may be useful for space travel.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 03:20 AM
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reply to post by Brotherman
 


Actually there is a valid point about detection capabilities, but it's not because it's invisible to radar.

It's because conventional missile launch detections rely on heat signatures from the large amounts of propellant igniting that propels the missile, and a rail gun launch doesn't use such propellant so it wouldn't have the same infrared missile launch signature.

Once airborne it would be one of thousands of other objects in the sky, so radar might see it, but if it doesn't stand out in some way we might not know it's a missile and not a plane. Well the speed would be too fast for a conventional plane so that would be a clue. But I think the difficulty of launch detection compared to a conventional missile could be a real issue.





[edit on 11-5-2010 by Arbitrageur]



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 04:04 AM
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Originally posted by Brothermanthe thought of electromagnetically launching a war . is an interesting one do you foresee something like this being in the pipline for the future?


Well, there's nothing to say you couldn't, I suppose, but a traditional nuke would have issues. Heck, most anything active is going to be a creative new design to work with the g-forces you'd get.

I suppose one of the new Sandia metal-halogen explosive non-boosted war.s might be toughened up enough to work. Maybe.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 04:05 AM
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Originally posted by Brotherman
Would that make it possible to fire a nuke undetected (for those that are familiar with the Metal Gear gaming series) undetectable to radar. This machine is reported to be able to fire a projectile 200 nautical miles on electrical energy


I doubt it.
The very intense electrical and magnetic fields generated in the rail gun during firing would fry anything electrical inside the projectile.
The enormous acceleration generated during firing would crush and destroy just about anything other than a completely hard solid projectile.

There are some very serious issues with rail guns that involve actually hitting a target. Remember, this is just a dumb projectile, subject to constant wind change, and other random factors.
If aiming is just a tiny fraction off you miss altogether. Whereas an intelligent guided missile can maneuverer and even chase a target that tries to evade it.

That is extremely important if you are firing from an unstable platform at something that is moving very fast.

Try jumping up and down on a trampoline, and aim your telescopic sniper rifle at a fast moving target a long way off. That is pretty much what you have to do if you are trying to hit an aircraft from a rolling and pitching ship with a dumb weapon. And you only get one shot. The rate of fire is always going to be very slow because of the very high energy density of the launcher.

You can fire a guided missile up in almost any direction, then it can be homed onto a target. That is why rail guns really have no future except maybe for hyper velocity anti tank weapons, or warfare in space where there is no atmosphere.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 04:16 AM
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reply to post by Silver Shadow
 


I'm pretty sure some of the new Navy rail gun loads have active steering. I'm not sure who does the guidance package.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 04:33 AM
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Originally posted by Bedlam
reply to post by Silver Shadow
 


I'm pretty sure some of the new Navy rail gun loads have active steering. I'm not sure who does the guidance package.


And you really think you could hit a moving target 200 miles away from a rolling ship through 200 miles of constantly varying wind gusts?




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