Electromagnetic railguns being developed for US Navy
6/28/2016, Milan Šurkala
Electromagnetic railguns are under development for some time and US Navy considers to use them in the future. Such weapons are extremely expensive but their shots are relatively cheap. The missiles may achieve speeds up to Mach 7.5.
American army is still trying to bring new technologies to wars. We have already talked about laser weapons but US Navy wants to utilize even more new technologies like elektromagnetic railguns (EMRG). Instead of gunpowder, they use electromagnetic force to shoot the missile from a barrel of the cannon. Very strong magnetic force can push the missile with the speed up to Mach 7.5 (it is approximately 5700 mph or 9100 km/h). Such missile can shoot to the distance of more than 100 miles (160 km). Railgun technology starts where the gunpowder ends.
Electromagnetic railgun, US Navy, public domain (Wikimedia Commons)
This weapon of the future has not only advantages but it also some drawbacks. It is extremely expensive because its price is about $500 million. On the other hand, it is much cheaper than ordinary missiles like Tomahawk. Each shot will cost approximately $50.000 whereas one Tomahawk missile costs more than $1.4 million. The problem of new technology is enormous power needed for releasing the missile. It requires about 25 MW of energy.
Moreover, the gun will not last for more than few shots because of enormous powers. Therefore, scientists need to improve the endurance of the railgun. Therefore, it is not likely that we will see electromagnetic railguns on tanks in the near future although army wants to do that.