reply to post by FredT
I could only imagine this kind of weapon replacing something like the 105 howitzers currently being used on our C-130 spectre's. With that kind of
momentum, you could apply a conically shaped charge that would spread out shrapnel at head level at supersonic speeds and have a much wider area of
lethality than the 105 howitzer.
If the re-load time is a few minutes but the weapons system is light enough, you could apply a gatling-like capability and an automated reloading
If this technology starts making its way onto the battlefield in different ways, it will inevitably lead to specialized projectile configurations
However, it might be possible to pack all the hardware necessary for an immense railgun into a C-130 and design the weapon to handle the largest
projectile possible. Imagine a projectile that could spread out like slices of a cake, only designed such that it would spread it's shrapnel
darts/penetrators at supersonic speeds. The sub-munitions could also act as either pentetrators or high explosive/incendiaries. Imagine these
"cake" slices containing golf-ball sized sub-munitions that would detonate above and/or penetrate the ground at supersonic speeds.
If designed properly, such a device could dessimate an area the size of an entire town!
As far as ground-based systems, IMO, the new automated/robotic cannons just now coming out that automatically reload themselves along with the new
"palladin" GPS-guided artillery rounds are absolutely impressive.
However, The railgun application could also be used in battle at key pinch points like bridges. For example, imagine an enemy convoy traveling across
a bridge (Tanks, APC's, etc..). You could take out an entire convoy with one well-aimed shot from a pre-positioned railgun that doesn't even have
to be manned. If they eventually figured out what shot at them, you could rig the entire system to detonate at the push of a button.
I see this kind of railgun as having a much better tactical advantage if used air to ground though rather than a ground-based weapons platform. As
far as bridges go, usually they're taken out from the air by stealth aircraft after communications can be disabled. This is exactly what happened
during desert storm I think. Key choke points can be used as a tactical advantage from a ground-based standpoint but these days they're destroyed
before the enemy can even use them.
The Air Force and Navy, typically, can destroy key choke points and command/control infrastructure before the enemy even knew what hit them. My uncle
was an EA-6B Prowler pilot during desert storm and he was one of the first to take out enemy radar sites (though I believe the AGM-88 is the only
weapon that airplane can fire).
It might also be possible to apply the railgun with EMP capabilities where a specially-designed projectile could detonate a certain distance above
ground level and send out a supersonic EMP burst that could cover an extremely wide area.