Most Recent Iteration of the Navy Railgun!


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wannabeagunsmith
February 29, 2012, 01:06 AM
Ok, I promise not to post any new threads today....This is the navy's nw toy....what do you all think? Electromagnetic powered....pretty big reminds me of a WWI machine.

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/slideshow/2012/02/28/in-pictures-us-navys-incredible-sci-fi-railgun/#slide=7

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Dnaltrop
February 29, 2012, 02:03 AM
Sorry, I just can't resist these things... The latest Test-shot of the current iteration of this monster. (The Industry-Delivered version!)

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-02/video-flamethrowing-navy-railgun-blasts-terrifying-projectiles-through-superheated-air

The direct video for those who don't want to read through PopSci.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uV1SbEuzFU&feature=player_embedded

For comparison, an older Iteration being fired... They've come a long way! Look at how vastly different the prototype looked back then.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWHMIz-wTa4&feature=related

maskedman504
February 29, 2012, 02:39 AM
I wonder what kind of backstop they use for that?! :what:

pikid89
February 29, 2012, 03:06 AM
Navy Magnetic Rail Gun laughs at your earthen berm hahahaha

Quiet
February 29, 2012, 03:46 AM
US Navy also has laser weapon systems that have successfully targeted and destroyed boats & missiles during testing on the open sea. (http://www.as.northropgrumman.com/products/maritime_laser/index.html)

Zoogster
February 29, 2012, 03:51 AM
Useful as long as you have the nuclear reactor and massive battery banks necessary to power the things.


Additionally the batteries will have a lifespan, much like those on hybrid and electric vehicles (which can easily be a third the cost of a new vehicle, and making them a lot more expensive to purchase as used working vehicles 10 years later like you can combustion engine vehicles because you will need a battery that is worth more than the blue book value, but that is another topic.)

The batteries will slowly degrade and the charge they can hold will as well, so eventually they will have to be replaced at enormous cost. The massive charge and discharge required in the system will accelerate battery degradation.


The system altogether is expensive and any problem with a component brings the advanced weapon to a halt.
Traditional guns are more independent of each other. If one is damaged, destroyed, or simply has some problems the others can continue to work while that one is serviced.
If there is a short or electrical, battery, or power issue with a rail gun armed vessel you have the whole battery of rail guns is down until the system is back up.
This makes them more sensitive to unexpected problems and maintenance issues.

This would also appear to me to make them a lot more vulnerable to damage. Not a huge issue attacking weak nations without forces able to reach and damage a protected naval vessel at sea, but a liability in fighting forces that can actually inflict damage to naval vessels. Instead of the loss of what is directly damaged, the entire system may be offline because one portion of the system is damaged.

R.W.Dale
February 29, 2012, 04:04 AM
Good gravy!

I wonder if these will change the dynamic enough to cause naval surface ships to start putting the armor back on?

posted via tapatalk using android.

baronthered
February 29, 2012, 04:27 AM
I just want to know when these will be on the surplus market. I want one for my ccw. :evil: :D

Quiet
February 29, 2012, 05:50 AM
The laser weapon systems the US Mil (Air Force & Navy) are testing out don't use batteries. They are chemical reaction lasers. They mix several chemicals together and from that reaction it creates enough energy to power the laser, so that it can destroy a missile/rocket/atrillery shell/drone/boat at 500km.

Route666
February 29, 2012, 07:28 AM
I have heard recently of such a device, the description included something like this:

If the barrel were aimed horizontally, 1m from the ground, the projectile would hit the ground after 7 kilometres.

That's one speedy chunk of aluminium!

Positivity
February 29, 2012, 07:40 AM
This has actually been around for a while now. From what I've heard, the only thing limiting its range from on top of a ship is the curve of the earth!

Panzercat
February 29, 2012, 09:30 AM
What's with the fire? Railguns are magnetically propelled last I heard.

JustinJ
February 29, 2012, 10:05 AM
Additionally the batteries will have a lifespan, much like those on hybrid and electric vehicles (which can easily be a third the cost of a new vehicle, and making them a lot more expensive to purchase as used working vehicles 10 years later like you can combustion engine vehicles because you will need a battery that is worth more than the blue book value, but that is another topic.)

If a suitable power supply is available why are batteries needed? These things discharge from capacitor banks.

Hugo
February 29, 2012, 10:51 AM
It's not fire, it's plasma! Yes, it's that hot! Air does strange things when friction heats it that much, that fast.

Looks cool. The round looks kind of like a piston and rod but definitely not flexible. Go Navy!

When do we get to shoot some pirates with this? This might frighten them into honest work and quitting piracy for good!

I'm guessing at this state these prototypes and test-types are rough on capacitors and/or batteries (heck, everything!). They'll get it improved. Look at Howitzers over the past 140 years!

pikid89
February 29, 2012, 12:55 PM
since its destructive power comes from the solid projectile moving at such velocities...does this thing have the capability to withstand a barrage from a radar controlled defense system like the Phalanx CIWS with a 20mm Gatling Gun

Black Butte
February 29, 2012, 01:05 PM
It won't fit in my safe.

wannabeagunsmith
February 29, 2012, 02:39 PM
Do any of you think this idea could be used someday in small arms? Perhaps we could be seeing the future, albeit rather far off....

JustinJ
February 29, 2012, 02:53 PM
Do any of you think this idea could be used someday in small arms? Perhaps we could be seeing the future, albeit rather far off....

Off the top of my head i can think of three huge hurdles to overcome. One is the size of conductors needed for the currents generated, second is the size of capacitors needed, and third is the amount of energy available from batteries. The first could potentially be overcome if superconductors are made that retain their properties at room temp as all require extremely cold temps. Some developments have been made but nothing near room temp. Superconductors could possibly help shrink capacitor size. Battery efficiency is constantly improving but still a long way to go. At best a large backpack would be needed.

Certaindeaf
February 29, 2012, 02:55 PM
^
They will probably get smaller and "better", as in all things.. there are incremental/step-stone advancements and then the occasional quantum advance.

pikid89
February 29, 2012, 03:12 PM
Actually if this project follows the uncannily accurate Moore's Law, than it wont be too long at all till this thing is fieldable
Moores law generally states that electronic perormance doubles every 2yrs or 18mo depending on who you ask....basically electronics have advanced at an exponential rate since Moore described his theory in 1965...and it has and it will continue too

Certaindeaf
February 29, 2012, 03:21 PM
^
I think you are talking of general knowledge advancement.

JustinJ
February 29, 2012, 03:35 PM
Actually if this project follows the uncannily accurate Moore's Law, than it wont be too long at all till this thing is fieldable

Moore's Law refers to computing hardware. It has no application here. If it did car batteries would be the size of AAA's.

Certaindeaf
February 29, 2012, 03:40 PM
^
That's a singular example and who's to say that batteries have not gotten better.. are you? Perhaps look at food per acre etc.
It's pretty much a given/conceded. Horses 70 or so years ago and rockets etc now.
Everything is a "battery" in the final analysis.

JustinJ
February 29, 2012, 03:54 PM
^
That's a singular example and who's to say that batteries have not gotten better.. are you? Perhaps look at food per acre etc.
It's pretty much a given/conceded. Horses 70 or so years ago and rockets etc now.
Everything is a "battery" in the final analysis.

You call my one example singular and then bring up horses to rockets? How many people do you know who ride rockets to work anyways? Regardless, as i clearly indicated my comments were in regards to the Moore's Law reference. Yes, batteries have improved but nowhere at the rate predicted by Moore's Law. The unfortunate fact is all technologies do have ceilings. Just because cell phones and computers get smaller does not mean all technologies will move along at the same rate. Guns are another a great example how technological development rates can vary so dramatically.

Certaindeaf
February 29, 2012, 03:58 PM
^
I said look at the whole, battery bringer-upper, not the hole.

JustinJ
February 29, 2012, 04:25 PM
I said look at the whole, battery bringer-upper, not the hole.

Um, you mean like discussing the numerous technological advancements needed to miniaturize a rail gun? Or pointing out that a principle that is limited only to integrated circuits is not related to the needed technological advancements? How much more can one look at the "whole"? Applying agricultaral advances to rail guns is not looking at the whole. Its comparing apples to robots.

pikid89
February 29, 2012, 06:05 PM
Moores law originally refered to the number of transistors in a given space, or processing speed/ chip performance, but it has been shown to apply to many aspects of digital technolgy...batteries are not so much a digital technology as they are a chemical technology...especially car batteries
As one poster said these things dont really run off batteries...batteries out put a lower amount of power over an extended time...they need capacitors that release a stored charge in one massive burst
Heres an example
when you put a huge load on a battery the voltage drops and cannot adequatley supply the draw...when a large car stereo is run from the battery to an amp to a large draw subwoofer, you can see the headlights dim everytime the sub hits...thats why high quality sub setups use capacitors

TurtlePhish
February 29, 2012, 06:13 PM
"Velocitas Eradico"... Speed Destroys :D

Cap'n Jack Burntbeard
February 29, 2012, 11:31 PM
I believe this prototype is built by BAE, the rumor is that General Atomics is delivering their prototype to be tested shortly.

Hugo
March 1, 2012, 12:15 AM
I'm not a physics major but wouldn't the recoil from a small arms version of a rail gun (say 1/3 a .22LR sized projectile) would probably throw you back 20 feet or so? So probably not going to be handheld. The recoil would probably kill or cripple you.

Darn.... It would be pretty cool to take out a tank with a rifle. I'd name my rifle "Tiananmen Square; part 2".

Perhaps a very overbuilt turret mounted on a truck?

tyeo098
March 1, 2012, 12:24 AM
Force going in = force coming out. (Newtons 2nd law)
Mass*acceleration = mass*acceleration. (Conservation of energy)
Small mass, fast acceleration (bullet) = Large mass, slow acceleration in opposite direction (recoil)


A railgun works by inducing a large magnetic field through the projectile, using eddy currents in the 'rails' to propel it along at a very high rate of speed. The concept was discovered a long time ago.

The "fire" you see in the video is part of the projectile being vaporized by the large current flowing though it. Though for the Navy design, they most likely have a 'plunger' that the current flows through, so the projectile (which may house an explosive charge) does not complete the circuit for the electricity.

SCIENCE!

@Hugo

Say the 'device' blew you back at 4m/s for 2 seconds (total of 8m, bout 24ft)
I weigh 74kg (165 lbs, I'm scrawny)

So the total momentum imparted on my body would be 296kgm/s.

A 40gr 22LR Bullet (divided by 3 as per your scenario) weighs 0.000866666667kg

Basic algebra says m1v1=m2v2 sooo

74kg*4m/s = 0.000866666667kg*v2 Where v2 is the velocity of the projectile...

Solve for v2 and the projectile is moving at 341,538m/s OR 1,004.52 times the speed of sound OR 1,120,531.5 feet/s Yes, thats 1 million feet/s

TurtlePhish
March 1, 2012, 12:27 AM
The "fire" you see in the video is part of the projectile being vaporized by the large current flowing though it. Though for the Navy design, they most likely have a 'plunger' that the current flows through, so the projectile (which may house an explosive charge) does not complete the circuit for the electricity.


The fire is metal vaporizing off of both the projectile and conductive rails inside the barrel and becoming plasma due to the huge amount of electricity and friction involved with a firing.

The projectiles so far are nothing but large, aerodynamic hunks of inert metal. Anything reactive inside the shell would probably prematurely detonate due to the violent acceleration and heat.

svtruth
March 1, 2012, 01:53 PM
used to work on a railgun at Los Alamos, IIRC they got projectiles up to about 10% of the speed of light.
They were interested in high speed impacts and the problem of intercepting incoming ICBM warheads.

tyeo098
March 1, 2012, 02:23 PM
used to work on a railgun at Los Alamos, IIRC they got projectiles up to about 10% of the speed of light.
They were interested in high speed impacts and the problem of intercepting incoming ICBM warheads.
Uhm. No.

the speed of light * .1 = 29,979,245.8 m / s AKA Mach 88,000 or 70 million MPH.

JustinJ
March 1, 2012, 02:54 PM
My sister's husband used to work on a railgun at Los Alamos, IIRC they got projectiles up to about 10% of the speed of light.
They were interested in high speed impacts and the problem of intercepting incoming ICBM warheads.

My sister's husband's only brother-in-law (me) thinks not.

twofifty
March 1, 2012, 07:42 PM
Why does the projectile in the video look like a flying hammer?
You'd think an aerodynamic shape would help performance.

wannabeagunsmith
March 1, 2012, 08:01 PM
Hmmm..... I'm no physicist, so I'm just going to say good for them. With China building aircraft carriers, and missles speciffically designed to destroy enemy aircraft carriers, it's seems pretty obvious they are arming for war. If the government wants to spend my tax dollars on a program like this, then I'm glad to contribute. Cutting the budget to our defense as congress has done at this time is suicidal IMO. We really need to cut costs on programs that are strictly social, and be prepared. We haven't survived this long through kind hearted diplomacy, it's been through covert warefare, and having a bigger stick than the next guy.

Basic tribal warefare is still a fact. The tribes are just bigger, and the sticks and stones are much shinier....... or blued if that's your thing.Same.

R.W.Dale
March 1, 2012, 08:15 PM
Why does the projectile in the video look like a flying hammer?
You'd think an aerodynamic shape would help performance.

At over 8000fps it probably doesn't matter much. The friction with the air will melt the projectile into an aerodynamic shape.

posted via tapatalk using android.

R.W.Dale
March 1, 2012, 08:17 PM
Uhm. No.

the speed of light * .1 = 29,979,245.8 m / s AKA Mach 88,000 or 70 million MPH.

Seeing as the hadron collider at Cern has trouble getting a stream of just a few particles that fast....

I'm thinking the dudes brother in law is being a bit bombastic

SEE IT LIKE A NATIVE
March 1, 2012, 08:45 PM
"Solve for v2 and the projectile is moving at 341,538m/s OR 1,004.52 times the speed of sound OR 1,120,531.5 feet/s Yes, thats 1 million feet/s"

Wow ! at that velocity would the projectile follow the curve of the earth ? Kind of a very low orbit !:) Kevin
__________________

SEE IT LIKE A NATIVE
March 1, 2012, 08:48 PM
I think the curvature of the earth is about .16 meters/kilometer. That math makes my head hurt ! Kevin

Certaindeaf
March 2, 2012, 01:12 PM
It sure ain't no Paris gun or buggy whip, that's for sure. One thing that's always bothered me with these systems is that they are reliant on line of sight to a certain degree.. if one effected plunging fire, I wonder how effective it'd be. We have everything from mortars to nap of earth missiles that can do a pirouette, go straight up and then straight down etc. etc.

General Geoff
March 2, 2012, 01:33 PM
One thing that's always bothered me with these systems is that they are reliant on line of sight to a certain degree..

Not at all; you could certainly lob a railgun projectile at a 30+ degree arc, but the problem is that due to the extremely high velocity, you have to be aiming at a target hundreds of miles away at least. At a certain point you're looking at suborbital ballistic projectiles.

Certaindeaf
March 2, 2012, 01:40 PM
^
I understand. Plunging fire is usually/traditionally pretty close.. due to terrain and or obstacles.

You'd have to aim it straight up to get a hit over yonder hillock and hope you got your dope right.

tyeo098
March 2, 2012, 01:50 PM
"Solve for v2 and the projectile is moving at 341,538m/s OR 1,004.52 times the speed of sound OR 1,120,531.5 feet/s Yes, thats 1 million feet/s"

Wow ! at that velocity would the projectile follow the curve of the earth ? Kind of a very low orbit !:) Kevin
__________________

Earth Escape velocity is 11.186 km/s or 11,186 m/s.

At a speed of 341,538 m/s... roughly 30 times the speed needed to escape the gravity of earth and go out into space.

It wont follow the curvature, it wont put you in LEO. It'll send you straight up, and you'll keep going.

Certaindeaf
March 2, 2012, 01:56 PM
I wonder if one would need a direct hit or would the/a shockwave down a wayward missile. A laser only "warms up" the skin a bit and the stressed member/whole contraption fails.

-v-
March 2, 2012, 02:13 PM
I'd say right now this system is too blunt to effectively shoot down missiles. It throws a several kilogram brick of aluminum at high velocity. It a gun with no T&E or aiming system...little more then a technology demonstrator. One of the Navy's proposals was to use guided projectiles launched by rail guns to effect shore bombardment from several hundred miles at sea. Guided projectiles are needed to ensure pin-point hit probability, and the sheer velocity of the projectile would be the actual "payload" (see what happens when an asteroid slams into the earth!). This would make a good surface-to-surface weapons system, since you have the range of a anti-ship missile, but unlike a missile it could not be effectively shot down by a CIWS like a missile can be.

Power for this thing would probably be derived by a nuclear reactor feeding into capacitor banks. Recharge rate of the capacitors is your only limitation to fire-rate. For smaller energy applications, (going form a multi-Kg slug to something the size of a .22) you could keep the rails indefinitely energized and have a basically particle-beam like fire rate. Ie can fire as fast as you can load rounds into the breach.

Also fun fact: Get that projectile speed above .17C (17% speed of light) and you don't use E=1/2MV^2, you have to use E=MC^2.

Certaindeaf
March 2, 2012, 02:56 PM
I'd say right now this system is too blunt..
I understand what you're saying.. it's "dumb". However, back to the literal "bluntness" (of the projectile itself), perhaps it is to create a shockwave. Never know.

TurtlePhish
March 2, 2012, 04:04 PM
Imagine APFSDS out of that.

Autolycus
March 2, 2012, 04:34 PM
That is very cool.

Autolycus
March 2, 2012, 04:35 PM
I wanted to add, that this rail gun is still weak compared to a 10mm. ;)

Mr.454
March 3, 2012, 03:08 AM
There are no countermeasures to protect your ship from a railgun. There as plenty of countermeasures to protect your ship from missiles. So if you put these on a few of our stealth boats and have them ahead of our carrier groups....just use your imagination. The other problem missiles give you away you fire one and they now have an idea of your location, not with a gun like the railgun.

Certaindeaf
March 3, 2012, 05:35 AM
Got fjord?

R.W.Dale
March 3, 2012, 05:43 AM
There are no countermeasures to protect your ship from a railgun. There as plenty of countermeasures to protect your ship from missiles. So if you put these on a few of our stealth boats and have them ahead of our carrier groups....just use your imagination. The other problem missiles give you away you fire one and they now have an idea of your location, not with a gun like the railgun.

There's no reason other than a lack of time that an incoming projectile from a railgun cannot be tracked on radar and its origin determined.

posted via tapatalk using android.

-v-
March 4, 2012, 06:38 PM
The other problem missiles give you away you fire one and they now have an idea of your location, not with a gun like the railgun.
Probably not. With average ranges of both side's missiles in the hundreds of miles , a missile launch would not really give you away...what gives each side away is the radar systems installed on satellites over head. Considering whole-ocean surveillance with a satellite mounted radar system is nothing new since the early 1970's, I would be very surprised if both sides in a naval conflict do not know where exactly each other's ships are at every moment of the day and night.

Plus, some things to think about the 1970's Soviet P700 Granit anti-ship missile has a range of 625 km, and a cruising speed of Mach 2.5 with network capability for 8 missiles to function as a unified missile swarm to defeat a single target. Time from cresting the horizon to impact is about 25-30 seconds.

As for the usefulness of modern day cannons in naval engagements...they are about on par with knives in a 600-yard hill to hill firefight. 20km range vs 625km range...

Where I see the rail-gun platform as shining is in cheap fire-support for littoral conflicts.

Mr.454
March 5, 2012, 04:37 PM
My thoughts are based on using a stealth boat with the main gun mounted as low to the deck as you can get it. Then much like a harpoon missile you could fire it nice and low where it is hard to see or track. Not to mention cost benefits.... guided missiles cost a fortune, slugs cost very little.

rbernie
March 5, 2012, 04:47 PM
Off topic posts have been deleted. Continued posting of geopolitical commentary will earn infractions for the folk posting such things, and get this thread locked down.

Let's not, ok?

Hugo
March 5, 2012, 06:14 PM
More railgun talk, less political talk folks.

I think the projectile looks like a piston and piston rod because it is a Sabot round, and the Sabot disintegrates instantly as it leaves the muzzle. Remember, it shoots using lots of magnets in the barrel so no rifling or friction, except air friction.

Shadow 7D
March 5, 2012, 07:29 PM
I would imagine the EMP pulse of the railgun discharging would be pretty easy to pick up with the right sensors, easier than the launch flare of the current ocean hugging ASM's
Oh, and yeah radar can pick them up, just not very well (why do ships mount a CWIS when you talk miles in a naval engagement??) and until the pop up or get within the limited low level envelope they are pretty much unseen by ship board radars, that's why you have radar planes looking down.

TurtlePhish
March 5, 2012, 09:02 PM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9a/Railgun-1.svg

How they work, for those who are curious.
Taken from Wikipedia.

EvilGenius
March 6, 2012, 03:17 PM
Where I see the rail-gun platform as shining is in cheap fire-support for littoral conflicts.

This.

There's plenty of ways to detect and possibly intercept these incoming rounds.

The advantage is that physically all you need to fire one of these projectiles is the projectile itself. No more having to bother with loaded casings or powder charges. Leaves tons of room for more ammo.

Also, I imagine that these things are computer controlled through and through. Not many powder based munitions can have the amount of energy put into them altered as the bullet travels down the barrel.

wannabeagunsmith
March 6, 2012, 05:18 PM
Hopefully China dosen't copy this....slim chance they won't though. It will be interesting when they get more of these mounted on ships. Perhaps they could also be useful for anti aircraft?

-v-
March 6, 2012, 06:31 PM
Copying one of these things is not an issue, the underlying technology is overall very simple. Two conductive rails, a capacitor bank, a power supply, and that's it. There's videos on youtube of guys building small scale rail guns that when dialed up approximate a .22lr in power, that were built using junk and scrap components (note: Dont try this at home!). As with everything the question is not "can it be done" but "is it worth it" so, while the rail gun offers some interesting direct fire capabilities, the question is would you rather develop and install a rail gun on 1 ship, or buy/build 500 sea-skimming anti-ship missiles, or 50 missiles and 10 corvettes to carry those 50 missiles.

One interesting point that WBGS raises: use of these things as a CIWS system. Dial down the projectile weight, build a slick auto-loading system and your rate of fire would only be limited on how fast you can load slugs into the chamber. (Rails constantly energized, so no need to energize and discharge capacitor banks, rate of fire is only limited by the time it takes a single projectile to move from the breach to the muzzle)

TurtlePhish
March 6, 2012, 11:16 PM
that were built using junk and scrap components (note: Dont try this at home!).

I did this. :D
It was actually pretty easy... two cheap aluminum rails side by side, hooked up to a bank of eight 330v photoflash capacitors in parallel. It made a big flash and lots of sparks and a loud POP and send a piece of foil flying and burning.

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
March 8, 2012, 12:16 PM
Anybody who is a welder, or has welded before has heard of or used a Plasma Arc Cutter, which through operation, does something similar to what this rail gun does upon discharging. No, a Plasma Arc Cutter doesn't shoot a projectile, but what it does to cut is it ionizes and excites air molecules using electricity. The air is forced through a cone in the cutting tip and gets super-hot (26,000+) coming out of the tip. This is how it can cut metal so fast.

The fireball coming out of the rail gun, like another member said, is plasma. Super-hot air.

EvilGenius
March 8, 2012, 04:34 PM
Can we make a flash suppressor for it?

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