Navy Gets 8-Megajoule Rail Gun Working

This is a discussion on Navy Gets 8-Megajoule Rail Gun Working within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; http://hardware.slashdot.org/article...46252&from=rss The Free Lance-Star newspaper is reporting that the Navy Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia has successfully demonstrated an 8-megajoule electromagnetic rail gun. A ...

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Thread: Navy Gets 8-Megajoule Rail Gun Working

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Navy Gets 8-Megajoule Rail Gun Working

    http://hardware.slashdot.org/article...46252&from=rss

    The Free Lance-Star newspaper is reporting that the Navy Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia has successfully demonstrated an 8-megajoule electromagnetic rail gun. A 32-megajoule version is due to be tested in June. A 64-megajoule version is anticipated to extend the range of naval gunfire (currently about 15 nautical miles for a 5-inch naval gun) to more than 200 nautical miles by 2020. The projectiles are small, but go so fast that have enough kinetic punch to replace a Tomahawk missile at a fraction of the cost. In the final version, they will apex at 95 miles altitude, well into space. These systems were initially part of Reagan's SDI program ("Star Wars"). An interesting tidbit in the article is that the rail gun is only expected to fire ten times or less per day, presumably because of the amount of electricity needed. I guess we now need a warp core to power them."
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    I would like the "compact" verison ana a nice pocket holster. I just dont know how to carry the nuclear power plant with me.

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    Fascinating science.

    What intrigues me most is how to store that much energy ready for very rapid release .......... and as the joule is a W/sec - that is one big chunk of energy!

    Ballistics calculations must be tricky too - I guess computer driven.
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    I've been watching this technology with some interest over the past 20 years.

    The advancements have really been slow. The power requirements have been the biggest limiting factor. One interesting thing is the projectile doesn't have to be aerodynamic in shape.
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    Distinguished Member Array p8riot's Avatar
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    Presumably the energy requirement is so high that the ships would have to de-cloak before firing.

    But seriously, I want one too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    These systems were initially part of Reagan's SDI program ("Star Wars").
    God bless Ronald Reagan.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Ex Member Array quantum36's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry View Post
    Fascinating science.

    What intrigues me most is how to store that much energy ready for very rapid release .......... and as the joule is a W/sec - that is one big chunk of energy!

    Ballistics calculations must be tricky too - I guess computer driven.
    actually One Watt is One Joule per second.

    Multiply Watts by seconds and you get Joules.

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    Distinguished Member Array SixBravo's Avatar
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    goawayfarm is half-right. The other huge problem is the coating used on the coils. Because of the insaine speeds achieved by the projectile's muzzle velocity, coupled with the fact that the "round" travels so closely to the coil, the coating is stripped right off the coils.

    I did a huge brief on these about 18 months ago for my Defense Physics class. If there's enough interest in this kind of stuff, I can post my presentation for download.
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    actually One Watt is One Joule per second.
    Thx Quantum - cerebral corrosion doncha know

    6B - be most interested to read your work.
    Chris - P95
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    Senior Member Array A1C Lickey's Avatar
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    Please do SixBravo, it would be kind of interesting to learn more about these.
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    Distinguished Member Array SixBravo's Avatar
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    Behemoth Post

    The class itself focued on satallite imagery analysis, ballistic trajectories, aerodynamics at high velocities, a little bit of space/re-entry physics, etc. I did the project with Powerpoint. It wasn't a paper itself. I won't transfer the pictures because it would be a PITA. I wish I still had my notecards for it because it was a 45 minute presentation.

    If anyone wants some verification on this stuff, look it up. I also wish I had my references still.... But I did get an A on this. My professor, Dr. Anz-Meador, was the best teacher I have ever had and probably one of the most intelligent human beings I have encountered or read anything by.

    ANYHOW, here ya go:

    Electromagnetic "Rail" Guns
    by ***** ******
    {Picture of Rail Gun Firing}

    The Past
    • The idea first originated from NASA back in the mid-50’s for launching payloads into space (Mass Drivers).

    • Was scrapped because of the prohibitive costs and lack of feasibility. The predicted power requirements were far beyond the scope of the time period’s allowances.

    • US Army R&D began to pick up the idea back in 1979 for possible use as a weapons platform and whether or not it was a practical battlefield technology.

    • US Navy picked-up the idea in the mid-80’s as a replacement for the then soon-to-be mothballed Iowa-Class Battleships.

    • Various agencies are conducting testing in the use of firing fusion reactors.

    {CG Picture of Rail Gun on Battleship}

    Army Applications
    • US Army began looking at using Rail Guns as a next-generation replacement for the M-1 Abrams. At this time, the M-1 was already undergoing production for delivery to Battalions in February 1980.

    • Possible employment of these guns on highly-mobile platforms such as 8-wheeled vehicles.

    {Picture of Proposed Vehicle}
    • Argued by contractors that the gun would be better mounted on a tracked vehicle such as the M1A2.

    • Decided that the power sources required would likely become a battlefield hazard should the platform take a direct hit.

    • Army began looking at semi-permanent artillery units. Because of the high power requirements, they examined pieces that could be placed well-behind the lines with their generators/powerstations. This is an entirely possible employment because of a Rail Gun’s extreme range.

    {CG Picture of Theoretical Artillery Unit}

    Naval Applications
    • United States Navy has been examining Rail Guns since the mid-80’s. Use in the blue-water fleet is purely for fire-support.

    • US Department of the Navy discovered incredibly effective use of these guns in the role of Naval Gunfire for the support of landings as well as suppression of enemy forces deep within the region’s land mass.

    • Rounds cause extreme damage to the area hit, so use of the rounds as precision munitions are purely out of the question.

    • US Army and US Navy continue testing and is currently getting ready to fire a test-bed gun at a range in southern Virginia for planned deployment NLT 2080.

    {Picture of Rail Gun at Lab}
    {Picture of Rail Gun Design and Schematics for Future DDX-Class}

    How It Works
    • “In a Rail Gun, the inductor is a single loop consisting of a power source, two rails, and an armature…The armature is free to slide along the rails, so when the current is turned on, it slides away from the power source.” (Aguado 3)

    • Using the “Right-Hand Screw Rule” for an electromagnetism application, the armature is driven down the “barrel,” accelerating to variable muzzle velocities between Machs 7 and 13. (5,390-10,010mph @ Sea Level)

    • Utilizing the forces involved with kinetic energy, the round pulverizes the target area. In one US Navy test, a round left an impact crater 10 feet across by 10 feet deep with round penetration achieving a depth of 40 feet.

    {Diagram of Basic Design for Rail Gun}

    Drawbacks
    • Estimated that muzzle velocities like this will produce exit energies between 80 and 300 mega-joules. The current required for such velocities is far beyond the current supply put out by a Ticonderoga-Class Guided Missile Cruiser, let alone operate a weapons system with a drain on that scale.

    {Diagram of Generic Nuclear Reactor}
    • A major setback is the damage caused to the coils with each firing. Because the armature slides across these coils at such great velocities, a huge amount of friction is created that quickly deteriorates the coils themselves.

    {Picture of Destroyed Coil}
    • These two problems could potentially be solved by throwing money at them, but it is extremely hard for your average Congress member to fathom spending billions on a project they will never see developed in their lifetime.

    {Funny Diagram of Defense Budget}

    Cases For Deployment
    • The extremely high velocity of these rounds can penetrate any known armor currently in deployment, deveopment, or hypothesized.

    • Powder-less rounds reduce the risk of explosions resulting from accidents such as the one aboard the USS New Jersey on 19 APR 1989 in Turret Two which killed 47 sailors.

    {Picture of USS NJ}
    • A high rate of fire can be achieved by these guns because of their lack of charges and small weights.

    • Eventually, it is theorized that these guns will be able to produce effective ranges in the thousands of miles.

    • The mastering of this technology has civilian uses as well, including fusion reactors, "bullet trains," and Mass Drivers.


    END
    Someone in an earlier post mentioned that these would be able to hit ~60 miles downrange. The number that I recalled using in my presentation was <250 miles. I do believe the actual range is TS/SCI, though.

    Here's part of a paper I submitted in February of 2005. The paper was a supplement to an analysis of the British Navy's Order of Battle. This particular part was in reference to an aircraft carrier they are developing.
    However, the Royal Navy has not overlooked this. Within their specifications for design were the requirements for the ability to later add a CTOL system to the active and planned ships. While attempting to keep the cost down, the UK government chose to forego the use of nuclear reactors. Without that, a steam-driven catapult system would be far-more difficult to use. It has been speculated that London may be in talks with Washington to procure an experimental electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS). This system is currently being developed by...
    The EMALS system will essentially be a rail-gun that launches aircraft into the air. I, myself, am rather dubious of the ability to do this because of the magnets and their effects on electronics. But I won't be too shocked if it works. Supposedly the same company is attempting to do an electromagnetic recovery system to hold aircraft into the glideslope.... That I really can't imagine. It's a straight-up Tractor Beam!!! "LSO Spock, here..."

    I assure all of you that none of what have read is sensitive. Hope you guys enjoyed a little learning with your guns. haha
    Last edited by SixBravo; January 18th, 2007 at 06:00 PM. Reason: Clearity
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  13. #12
    Distinguished Member Array AutoFan's Avatar
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    I think the original mass driver concepts were electromagnets that accelerated projectiles in the same manner as linear particle accelerators.

    Either way, I still want one!

  14. #13
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    Thx 6B - I feel better informed.
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    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    As a Navy Vet myself, I can honestly say that the Navy has the best, and most advanced technology in the US Military.

    I worked on a 3-d phased array air search radar, the AN/SPS 48-E. I know they are now up to the 48-G at least at this point.

    But, we could set the radar to be so sensitive that it would pick up birds from many miles away. It would track over 500 targets at the same time. It was a search radar but if your Forecontrol radars are knocked out you can guide the missile to target with my radar.

    During the Gulf War in 1991, we watched F-117 drop bombs on targets in Iraq. We could only see the 117 on the radar when the pilot opened the bomb bay door to drop the weapon but we could watch the bomb fall all the way to about 100 feet above ground (depending on how far we were from the target location, curvature of the Earth and all). The bomb could take several minutes to free fall to target. In that time the 117 would be many miles away. The bomb would go off, and the fools manning the anti air guns in the target area would start shooting wildly in the air. (I'm sure you all remember seeing this on CNN) I could watch the anti-air rounds go up to about 10,000 feet for the larger ones and then watch them as they scattered out and fell back to Earth. The anti-air batteries would have stopped shooting by this time because nothing else was blowing up so they figured the attack was over. Then, their 40mm rounds would start raining down on their heads and they would think we were back and start shooting again!
    One F-117 could drop one 1000 pound bomb on these dolts and they would be shooting into the air in waves for the next 2 hours. I think they may have done more damage with their own rounds than we did with bombs!

    The 48E radar antenna.

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  16. #15
    Ex Member Array quantum36's Avatar
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    SixBravo,

    Along with the rails and armature, does the rail gun utilize fixed magnets?

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