US Navy Shows Off Electromagnetic Railgun
Updated: Wednesday, July 9 2014, 01:21 PM EDT
A $250 million Navy project could change the way the US fights wars. The new electromagnetic "railgun" is said to be smaller, cheaper and more destructive.
Officials say the damage the weapon is capable of is comparable to a freight train traveling 100 MPH into a building. The projectile is able to shoot down ballistic missiles, advanced cruise missiles -- even fast moving aircraft.
The projectile travels at more than 5,000 miles an hour.
The Navy showed off the weapon on Tuesday at Naval Base San Diego. The long-range weapon fires projectiles using electricity generated by the ship instead of gunpowder.
The electromagnetic force then accelerates the missile to Mach 7.5 and can go an estimated 50 to 100 nautical miles. It isn't expected to replace traditional missiles but its cost is about a fraction of the money, at just $25,000 a pop.
"We want the American public to know now that we have a gun system that is so effective and so affordable that now our adversaries will know that before they even try to do something to our nation that they will never win," Matthew L. Klunder Chief of Naval Research said.
The railgun is scheduled to go aboard a new joint high speed cargo ship for further testing in 2016 before it becomes operational in 2018.