Navy's electromagnetic railgun pumps out world record blast

Electromagnetic railgun fires off a mach 5 shot

The US Navy has fired off what it called a world-record, mach 5 velocity shot of its high-energy electromagnetic railgun it says can now hit targets 110 nautical miles away.

The record is the fact that the gun generated 33 megajoules of energy upon firing, the Navy stated.  A megajoule measures the amount of energy associated with a mass traveling at a certain velocity, the Navy stated. A one-ton vehicle moving at 100 mph equals a megajoule of energy.

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On the ocean, the railgun would gather electricity generated by the ship and store over several seconds in the system's pulsed power system. Next, an electric pulse is sent to the railgun, creating an electromagnetic force accelerating the projectile to Mach 7.5, the Navy stated. Ultimately the Navy wants the gun to fire projectiles more than 200 nautical miles.

In 2008, the Navy test-fired a 10-megajoule shot.

Such systems have a number of advantages.  First they let a ship stand further offshore to deliver ordnance, protecting sailors.  Onboard, the system doesn't require ordinary shells etc, further boosting safety.

NASA recently said it was looking into rail gun-like technology as a way to blast spacecraft into space hitting speeds of about Mach 10.  The craft would then return and land on a runway by the launch site. 

The rail launcher, known Advanced Space Launch System is one of a few new launch systems a team of engineers from Kennedy Space Center and several other NASA centers are looking at that would use existing cutting-edge technologies to offer the space agency a next generation launcher to the stars, NASA stated.

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