The U.S. Navy has begun testing a powerful new electromagnetic rail gun capable of targeting the Korean peninsula from mainland Japan.
Known simply as the “Electromagnetic Railgun,” this beast of a weapon boasts the capability to “destroy heavily armored targets at a range of up to 125 miles without requiring a massive stockpile of ammunition,” according to Newsweek.
This capability stems from how it fires projectiles. It uses electricity instead of traditional explosives, which lends itself toward a much safer working environment for sailors.
“Electricity generated by the ship is stored over several seconds in the pulsed power system,” a fact sheet by the Office of Naval Research reads. “Next, an electric pulse is sent to the rail gun, creating an electromagnetic force accelerating the projectile up to Mach 6.”
How fast is Mach 6? Try 4,603.61 miles per hour. That’s fast — deadly fast.
It’s so fast and powerful, in fact, that the gun has been heralded as a form of “Star Wars” technology, as the film series depicted similar weapons.
To see a demonstration of this bad boy in action aboard the USS Dahlgren, a “virtual ship” reportedly built by the Navy to test military hardware, watch the video below:
As noted by Newsweek, this technology has not come cheap, costing the military at least $250 since the project’s inception in 2005. But it has been a worthwhile endeavor nevertheless, according to ONR spokesman Robert Freeman.
“Our need to carry gunpowder with us is a big vulnerability to our ships,” he told U.S. News & World Report last year, prior to the rail gun having become ready for testing. “A rail gun could eliminate that need.”
It remains unknown though how long it will be before the rail gun becomes a staple on U.S. Navy ships. According to Popular Mechanics, the gun’s “enormous energy requirements” and “limited in-air guidance” suggest it still needs quite a bit of tweaking before it’s ready for the battlefield.
The good news is that in the meantime, our enemies are likely shaking in their boots.
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