posted on May, 19 2003 @ 06:32 PM
A railgun uses a linear electromagnet to propel the projectile to extreme velocities. As envisaged in the Star Wars program, it was expected to boost
the projectile to relativistic velocities of 0.5C or better. At such speeds, the projectile has enough kinetic energy to do enormous damage to a
target without explosive warheads, and is capable of penetrating extreme thicknesses of almost any kind of obstacle.
Main drawbacks are that it requires massive amounts of electrical energy, and only partially effective inside an atmosphere (best suited to use in a
An Ion Cannon is similar to the above rail gun, in that a massive electromagnet is used to hurl oppositely charged ions (charged particles) at very
high relativistic velocities (0.9C or better). I am not sure realistically how much damage such a weapon could inflict, as it would take massive
amounts of energy to project sufficient energy to penetrate a target.
As it stands, standard projectile weapons are the best, most efficient weapons on the modern battlefield so far (although rail guns may be catching