Is that a railgun in your pocket?

Science fiction writers, rejoice! Reality is catching up to your imaginations. The U.S. Navy has taken delivery of the first industrial-scale railgun. Conventional projectile weapons, from handguns to shoulder-fired weapons to ship-mounted hardware, use chemical propellants to shove the hunk of metal at the target. Railguns use electromagnetic pulses to do the same job. From the article:
While the muzzle velocity of gunpowder-propelled projectiles is generally limited to around 4,000 ft per second (2,727 mph/4,389 km/h), the U.S. Navy says its railgun will be capable of launching projectiles at velocities of 4,500 to 5,600 mph (7,242 - 9,012 km/h).
Greater muzzle velocity means longer range with the same size round. Also, it means that the ship won't need to carry large supplies of gunpowder or other chemical explosives.

Click to zoom in on that distortion curve

I'd like to draw your attention to the distortion curve on the right side of the banner. That bent curve is light distortion from the compression shock wave in front of the projectile. It's moving fast... very fast.

Also, that Latin at the bottom of the seal, Velocitas Eradico? I believe that translates to "Speed Kills". Nice.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

1 comment:

  1. Not having to carry explosives is a huge advance - not only for safety reasons, but think of the space and weight savings.


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