Home » Budget Industry » NAVSEA Details At Sea 2016 Railgun Test on JHSV Trenton


NAVSEA Details At Sea 2016 Railgun Test on JHSV Trenton

An artist rendering shows the Office of Naval Research-funded electromagnetic railgun installed aboard the joint high-speed vessel USNS Millinocket (JHSV- 3). US Navy Image

An artist rendering shows the Office of Naval Research-funded electromagnetic railgun installed aboard the joint high-speed vessel USNS Millinocket (JHSV- 3). US Navy Image

Next year Naval Sea Systems Command will conduct the first at sea test of its electromagnetic railgun, hurling a guided 44 pound projectile and hypersonic speeds off the coast of Florida, NAVSEA officials said on Tuesday.

The BAE Systems designed test weapon will be mounted on the newly delivered Joint High Speed Vessel USNS Trenton (JHSV-5) and taken to Eglin Air Force Base’s maritime test range off the Florida panhandle late in the summer of 2016. The Navy originally planned to use the JHSV USNS Millinocket (JHSV- 3) for the test.

“It’s a naval surface fire support demonstration, the Navy’s first to engage an over the horizon target [with a railgun],” Capt. Mike Ziv, NAVSEA’s program manager directed energy and electronic warfare program office told attendees at the Navy’ League’s Sea-Air-Space 2015 Exposition.

The test will validate the assumptions the Navy has made in the decades-old pursuit of the railgun not only as a long range weapon to support troops ashore but start testing new ideas of using the weapon as an anti-surface warfare (ASUW) weapon, a ballistic missile defense (BMD) tool and as a close in weapon system for cruise missile threats.

NAVSEA outlined the expanded mission set for the railgun — beyond naval surface fire support — in a request for information issued earlier this year.

Traditionally, the Navy has used missiles to intercept targets but the railgun promises similar results for less money.

“There’s a tradition that every time an enemy throws a threat at us our counter to that threat is one order more of magnitude expensive than the threat costs. This is a technology where we’re engaging threats at similar probabilities of kill for a cost that’s about two orders of magnitude less,” Ziv said.
“Looking that the missions sets the railgun will be able to achieve the ship or land based facility, it will be able to store a lot more rounds and consummate a lot more engagements than a traditional missile-type system.”

NAVSEA is also working with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) to create a modular railgun system for both at sea and on land.

One of the two electromagnetic railgun prototypes on display aboard the joint high speed vessel USS Millinocket (JHSV 3) in port at Naval Station San Diego, Calif. US Navy Photo

One of the two electromagnetic railgun prototypes on display aboard the joint high speed vessel USS Millinocket (JHSV 3) in port at Naval Station San Diego, Calif. US Navy Photo

The Florida test will place a static floating target at a range of 25 to 50 nautical miles from the test ship and fire five GPS guided hyper velocity projectiles (HVP) at the target as the final part of 20 planned firings for the railgun at the Eglin range.

“It’s an over the horizon engagement. We’re firing on a ballistic trajectory and guiding into intercepting that target,” he said to reporters following the briefing.

“Eventually when we have a little bit more advancement in the projectile there will be some ability to communicate with [the round].”

As the program develops, the Navy is zeroing in on about 10,000-ton sized guided missile cruisers and destroyers as the anticipated platforms to field the weapons.
NAVSEA is currently conducting an in-depth study of including the railgun on the Zumwalt-class (DDG-1000) guided missile destroyers for the first platform for the weapon.

Earlier this year, Vice Adm. William Hilarides indicated his preffered option would be the third Zumwalt — Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) — currently under construction at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW).

The integrated power system (IPS) on the 16,000-ton ships– powered by two massive Rolls Royce MT-30 gas turbines and two smaller Rolls-Royce RR450 much more electrical power than the current crop of U.S. destroyers and cruisers.

“They all believe that’s the right ship but I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves we do need the right analysis to say ‘yes’,” Ziv said.
“I plan to have that study done by the end of this fiscal year.”

The eventual goal is to have an operational 32 megajoule weapon that would be capable of firing a guided round almost a hundred nautical miles by the mid 2020s.

  • J_kies

    Ouch; physics is such a downer, let’s take a look at the ‘feasibility’ as some terribly obvious stuff seems to be missed.

    44 lbs (20kg) GPS guided projectile; 32 MJ this pops a barrel exit velocity at ½ MV^2 of 1,789 m/s. For a 7m barrel length the residence time in the barrel is a bit under 4 milliseconds. Recoil is proportional to projectile KE (so it’s not a toy vessel issue). At 4.2 MJ / kg for TNT; the 32MJ muzzle energy is a bit over 7.5kg TNT equivalent but in terms of electrical source, the capacitor bank must source roughly 3x this much energy (load matching and losses). The power driving this thing will be ~ 100MJ/0.004 seconds or in the neighborhood of 25Gigawatts. I will be impressed by the power distribution system and you should hope that the capacitor bank does not suffer self-discharge due to handling or defects as 25kg explosive equivalent in the bottom of the ship will be ‘unfortunate’.

    When we head to graduate aerodynamics we can talk to feasible Cd and inverse Beta values; but I can assure you that sea level launch at over Mach 5 with a 20kg projectile means very rapid slowing / heating and attendant wastage of that exotic launch velocity.

    Finally; with ONR’s expectation of a GPS guided projectile surviving the rail-gun launch environment (can we put odds on that and make book?) their ‘guided projectile’ is subject to defeat by a commercial GPS jammer (as found on unscrupulous truckers) at the target. Can we say ‘oooh ah’? Can we please have an AoA against real guns and rocket assisted artillery?

    • corpvet

      your an idiot

      • Ctrot

        That would be “you’re an idiot”.

    • Secundius

      @ J_kies.

      What RECOIL, there is NO RECOIL on a Rail-Gun. Also the 32-MJ Rail-Gun won’t fire a 44-pound projectile. The 64-MJ. 6.1-inch (155mm) General Atomics Rail-Gun might…

      • gunnerv1

        What I want to know is when will they (BAE Systems) develop an “Auto Loading System for the Weapon. What is the Discharge/Recharge time of the Capacitor Bank? What is the Heat Dissipation requirements? What type of Fire Control System? Rate of Fire in Automatic Load? What type of Projectile Payload? What type of Fuse Setter systems? Magazine Capacity? Maned or Unmanned Magazine? I have waited since the Mid-70’s for this weapon to materialize after reading about it in a Science Magazine (Retired E-8 Gunner’s Mate, ’64-’86) This would be a Dream to work on as a Gunner’s Mate by Tradition but this is a New Concept. It would only relate to at Traditional Gunner’s Mate in two ways now, a) it uses a power source and b) it discharges a Projectile at Hyper-sonic speeds.
        This weapon will be Operated/Maintained by “High Voltage Trained” Electrician’s Mate’s.

        • Secundius

          @ gunnerv1.

          I don’t know weather or not the Test Gun is Self-Loading. But production models will be Self-Loading, considering their Shot-Lockers (Magazines) are suppose to contain ~1,000-Projectiles…

          • gunnerv1

            I am just curious, my only skin in the game is that I’m a Retired Gunner’s Mate. The Standard Magazine capacity for a Chemical Explosive (Powder) Propelled Projectile is 600 Rounds (5″/54 Cal. Projectile 70 Pounds/Propelling Charge 39 Pounds), Projectiles and (separate) propelling charges. The combination of those two Magazine Rooms is a huge area with room for a Capacity of literally 10,000 Projectiles at 44 Pounds each and no separate propelling charge required. It might not even require a (Salt) Water Magazine Flooding (Fire Suppression) System.

          • Secundius

            @ gunnerv1.

            The only system that I know of that can handle a 44-pound encased projectile is the General Atomics 64-MJ Rail-Gun. It’s bore equivalent size is 155mm/70-caliber Barrel. The actual projectile weigh’s ~23-pounds and ~31.5-inch long and of Aluminium-Molygdenum alloy. The rate of fire is ~6 to 10 rounds per minute with a 3-minute recharge required after the last firing. I also suspect because of “Low Rate of Fire”, that the Zumwalt’s gun’s will be operating independently of one-another. To “Cover Each Other’s Backs” so, too speak. The best Information for Now, is that the Zumwalt’s “Shot-Lockers” aka Magazines are about 1,000-projectiles each.

            Also keep in mind, that the Projectile leaves the Rail-Gun at Mach 7, but actually impacts the target at ~Mach 5…

          • Secundius

            @ gunnerv1.

            I thought that CO2 gas was pump into magazine to prevent fires. That why USS Hornet didn’t explode at the Battle of Midway during WW2…

          • USN Air Craft carriers early in WW2 starting using CO2 to flood aviation gas fuel lines. Magazines were still flooded by sea water.

          • Secundius

            @ Ken Badion.

            Thanks, I thought I read somewhere they did the same with Ordnance Bunkers and Magazines, too…

          • gunnerv1

            They flooded the ‘Void” (air space above the fuel level) areas in the “AvGas” Tanks which is the normal thing to do. Explosives Magazines are almost always flooded with “Sea Water” (it’s free and hard to run out of). The criteria for the salt water systems is to complete flood the magazine in one minute. The Water pipe coming in to the 5″ Magazine(s) is usually 6 inches in diameter and is under about 80 (+) pounds pressure at the “automatic valve”. The valve is normally set to flood automatically but can be shifted to manual control (squeeze lock hand valve) located in the Magazine and remotely located away from the Magazine). The Automatic system is triggered by “Rise of temperature (147 degrees) to trip the “bellows’ to send a shot of compressed air to trip the main valve and flood the Magazine. Never had to do it, but came close once.

      • J_kies

        Mr Secundius; that’s a strong assertion, how did the Navy happen to selectively repeal Newton’s 3rd Law? Do explain and provide examples.

        • Secundius

          @ J_kies.

          A RAIL-GUN by any other name, is simply a Mass Driver. The most Recoil, your ever going to get. Is the Harmonic Vibrations of the Projectile being launched…

          • J_kies

            Since USNI news doesn’t permit links
            Open Wikipedia, type in “Recoil” and determine why a rail-gun does not respect Newton’s third law.

          • Secundius

            @ J_kies.

            You do the same, on the heading of “Mass Drivers”…

          • J_kies

            Since the Wiki entry includes consideration of a mass driver as a form of rocket propulsion it certainly expects that mass drivers (and by similarity Rail-guns) do operate in accordance with Newton’s 3rd Law.

          • Secundius

            @ J__kies.

            In a Zero Gravity, Zero Atmosphere Enviroment…

          • Secundius

            @ J_kies.

            Somehow you left out the part of Reaction Mass in a Vacuum and Zero-Gravity. So how does that apply to 14.696psi (One Atmosphere) in a ~1.0 Gravity Enviroment…

      • USNVO

        You might want to look at the Wikipedia entry for railguns (note that I do not use Wikipedia as a source, merely an easily found reference with links to follow). Then check out references 18-21 for technical papers on the recoil forces exerted by railguns. There is no free lunch with railguns. Beyond that, you may want look at any of the videos of the railgun firing where you will see significant recoil.

        • Secundius

          @ USNVO.

          In every video I’s seen, there’s a explosions of the Projectile hitting the target. But in every case, the actual Rail-Gun NEVER Moved…

          • USNVO

            Try googling rail gun videos and look at the CBS news story from 8APR14. You can clearly see the BAE test Railgun recoiling several inches on test launches . On a positive note, the recoil force is significantly lower than for a conventional shell on the same energy level as it uses a small high speed projectile and it is only the projectile and not the propulsion gas as well.

          • Secundius

            @ USNVO.

            Sir, I would hardly call a movement of a couple of INCHES a RECOIL, It you consider Harmonic Movement a Recoil, what would call a 155mm Breach Travel in the Opposite Direction? A PILE DRIVER…

          • Curtis Conway

            The reporter asked the Marine Sniper what he felt when he shot his target, and his response was . . . “Recoil”.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            Shot his target with WHAT, Sir…

          • Curtis Conway

            He was a Sniper . . . you fill in the blank. Oh . . . when the weapon discharged it went back into his shoulder a Fraction of an inch . . . Newton’s Third Law.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            I understand that her was a Marine Corps Sniper. But a Remingtom M40 7.62x51mm/NATO Rifle or a Barrett M107 12.7x99mm/BMG Rifle, IS NOT A RAIL-GUN…

        • Secundius

          @ USNVO.

          Not your Grandpa’s Shootin’ Iron: Rail Guns
          Military . com / Soldier Tech / 0,14632, Soldier Tech _ Rail Guns ,, 00 . h t m l

          2nd paragraph from the bottom of the page…

          • USNVO

            I would merely point you to the Wikipedia references which are all technical papers and one master’s degree concerning recoil of Rail guns. Also, you would note that one is from the Army lab responsible for rail guns that has decades of experience with rail guns. It is pretty likely they would know if the gun recoiled or not. Recoil force equal and opposite to the Lorentz force acting on the armature.

            “Some erroneous work has suggested that the recoil force in railguns can be redirected or eliminated; careful theoretical and experimental analysis reveals that the recoil force acts on the breech closure just as in a chemical firearm.[18][19][20][21] The rails also repel themselves via a sideways force caused by the rails being pushed by the magnetic field, just as the projectile is.”

    • Michael Rich

      Oh look who it is, the guy who thinks he knows more than the hundreds of scientists and engineers that have been working to overcome such issues. But really, what do they know compared to this guy who obviously studies this stuff on the interwebs.

      • J_kies

        Gosh Mr Rich; I express some physics and engineering issues that appear to call into question the viability of marketing demonstrations (without a program of record these aren’t appropriately ID’ed as T&E events) and you accuse me of being a clueless amateur?

        Please ID what is factually incorrect. (Mr Secudius tried and pegged the ‘giggle-meter’; USNVO had a good point that would require some more detailed looks. )

    • USNVO

      Your Commercial GPS jammer would have to be between the signal source and projectile at mid flight to have any possibility of jamming the signal. The GPS guidance is really just making small corrections to the INS, so even if you lose the GPS guidance for the last half of the flight, it barely changes the CEP. The Iraqis used GPS hammers in OIF, didn’t do them much good.

      • J_kies

        Ok; we can look at link margins and timelines as to how much jammer power is required but conceptually you agree such vulnerabilities do exist? We might agree that the Iraqis did not represent a competent EW opponent?

        • USNVO

          Of course it is always possible to jam a GPS signal. However, it is not done by a “commercial GPS jammer (as found on unscrupulous truckers) at the target”. You would have to basically totally deny the GPS signal, which is a whole magnitude harder. And as soon as you do that, you are sending out a “please shoot me signal”. And spoofing is not really a possibility for a variety of factors. Admittedly the signal will be interrupted at the target but that will be caused by the plasma created from the conversion of kinetic energy to thermal energy.

          • J_kies

            USNVO – I think the credibility assessment needs to start with link margins in the use scenario.The projectile will not have a robust GPS margin such as found on JDAM and its relatives.

            The arc present in the railgun launch will force hardening / protection of the antenna set and receiver reducing RX sensitivity. The L-band GPS carrier will have non-trivial problems with VSWR at the projectile due to the air chemistry / thin plasma impinging on the antenna (due to the hypersonic projectile velocity, its a lesser version of reentry blackout driven by the low incident signal power.) I doubt that the ONR team has a viable GPS system due to both launch and flight environments (‘self-jamming’ if you will, I expect insufficient link margin to permit GPS to work).

            As long as the jammer noise power in the GPS carrier band at the projectile approaches the Satellite sources; the system can be stated to be jammed. Perhaps the commercial jammer is insufficiently powerful to achieve satellite signal levels at the projectile at the point of the trajectory where the jamming needs to be effective but buying 10x more power or a directive antenna isn’t hard.

            Happy to construct a bet on whether or not the ONR team can apply GPS to the projectile targeting and put money down on expectations of failure.

          • Secundius

            @ USNVO.

            According to Jesse Potter, a Spectrum Electronics Specialists. Commercial GPS Jammer’s, are “Rapidly” catching up to MilSpec. GPS Jammer’s capabilities. And with the vast resources in the Commercial R&D Community, will eventually surpass MilSpec Technology…

          • USNVO

            Doesn’t really matter. If you can’t position the jammer above the projectile it isn’t going to be able to jam the signal since the antenna can be shielded. This is really no different than a GPS guided shell. By the time a jammer at the target can effect the shell, it is too late.

          • Secundius

            @ USNVO.

            Well, at least a GPS Projectile has a back plan system in-place. Ballistic Trajectory…

          • Curtis Conway

            And electronics driven by some pretty intelligent software looking at the probability of things.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            I don’t think there going to be any Smart Projectiles for the Rail-Gun any time soon. It’s one thing to survive a 20,000-gravity “Swift-Kick-In-the-ASS” from an Naval Artillery Gun. It quite another for 250,000-gravity JOLT…

          • Curtis Conway

            In that we are in agreement, but one can always . . . dream a little.

          • J_kies

            Surface / creeping waves. Its a loss term that the jammer experiences to get into the system.

          • Secundius

            @ J_kies.

            Most, if not all Modern Smart Munitions have a built-in redundancy in place. “Inertial Navigation”, virtually impossible to jam…

          • J_kies

            Mr Number2; wanting to repeat Newton’s 3rd law for a marketing objective was unwise; history shows ‘Hope’ consistently fails as an engineering method. Unless the ONR asserts a fully integrated and tested multiple mode INS/GPS round guidance system is available for the 2016 test events; you should not assume that is what they meant.

          • Secundius

            @ J_kies.

            To 2 Googleplexed.

            The GPS Satellite Constellation: The baseline satellite constellation consists of 24 satellites positioned in 6 Earth – centered orbital planes with 4 operational satellites and a spare satellite slot in each orbital plane. The system can support a constellation network of up to 30 satellites in orbit.

            NOW, you have a Hypersonic SMart Projectile travel at ~Mach 7 (~1,911m/s @ ~30,480-meters). With a “Open Sky Canopy” of ~33,929-deg. 12’02.37″, what are the odd’s of Jamming a GPS guided projectile, with ~15 to ~20 GPS Satellites transmitting their collective signals is. Hmmm…

          • J_kies

            Ok so you disbelieve in jamming and other EW tools. While you may not believe in such things; they work.

          • Hugh

            And the Chinese are developing systems to destroy the military satellites of adversaries.

          • Curtis Conway

            Shoot the archer instead of his electronic arrow. HARM seekers on SM-6 & AMRAAM anyone?

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            The AIM-120D AMRAAM is getting early deployment in the Pacific. No exact date, yet…

        • USNVO

          As for the Iraqi jammers, they were the latest Russian GPS jammers. They were located by triangulation of the signal and taken out with, wait for it…. GPS guided JDAMs!

  • Dan

    If the smaller ship can fire a rail gun, what is the purpose of Zumwalts? I tought power was a key issue.

    • Secundius

      @ Dan.

      The one’s there testing are BAE 32-MJ Rail-Guns, not the General Atomics 64-MJ Rail-Guns on the Zumwalt’s. The BAE system Rail-Guns have a bore diameter of ~60mm, the projectile itself is less then 40mm in diameter and weigh’s ~5.5-pounds. To operate the BAE system, the ship only needs to produce 12 to 15-MegaWatt’s of power to power the system…

      • Dan

        Thank you.

    • Curtis Conway

      It is, without it they do not work.

      • Secundius

        @ Curtis Conway.

        While looking up Information to a question, I found that BAE is either working on. Or has developed a 20MJ Rail-Gun for smaller ship’s, I suspect it the same size as the 32MJ model but with shorter range of ~50nmi. Something worth considering for the LCS’s…

    • Trey

      DD-1000 is able to use current Air defense / Land attack systems (80 VLS tubes) and at present designed to use 155mm gun system. It also has “Stealth” features that may or may not be continued in future classes.

      Replacing the 155mm with a RG will enhance the ability of the class while maintaining the its present capabilities.

      The smaller vessels are I believe going to be more dependent on the RG with fewer VLS systems.

      DD-1000 would end up as the Destroyer Leader platform of sorts or in a much older manner of speech a Light Cruiser (CL)

      • Dan

        Trey, not testing your intelligence- are you aware there are two rail guns in development? Both requiring different power levels and one oviously having a much less impressive range.

        • Secundius

          @ Dan.

          Actually, Three.
          1. 64MJ (155mm/~105mm actual), w/185nmi. range
          2. 32MJ (60mm/~40mm actual), w/110nmi. range
          3. 20MJ (60mm/~40mm actual), w/50nmi. range…

        • Trey

          I have not followed the RG systems with great detail but I would assume that more than 1 design is in development.

          The all electric system of DD-1000 will allow for a good deal of EM systems.

          To me the DD-1000 is neither fish or foul it is best at land attack, but the need for Air Defense is always critical.

          The RG’s will give the Navy a “best of both worlds” option IF it works as it can put HVP on land targets and be used as Effective Air Defense. Of course that 2 letter word “IF” is a very big word!

          • Secundius

            @ Trey.

            The problem at the moment is Size and Survivability. An Naval Artillery Round get a ~25,000-gravity Kick coming out of the Gun Barrel. While the Rail-Gun’s Kick is ~250,000-gravities. DARPA and the US. Army are trying to develop “Smart” Projectiles that can not only survive the Kick, but be Small enough to fit inside the Projectile…

          • Trey

            In part the “smart” is only needed for area/air/ballistic defense as land or even sea targets can be engaged with good old ballistic computer and darts like the 120mm Gun of the M1 does but at longer range with a higher velocity.

            But yes Navy’s RFP Navy SBIR 2012.1 – Topic N121-102

            is daunting.

          • Secundius

            @ Trey.

            With a LaWS laser NO PROBLEM in the Air Defense Role. A Rail-Gun projectile is a DUMB projectile, also there’s NO explosive device carried. Even with a Ballistics Computer, the odd’s of hitting a Supersonic Aircraft or Missile at a Fixed Point in Space/Atmosphere. With a Rail Gun round is between NIL and NONE…

          • Dan

            Trey, there is a follower named Secundius, very informed in weapon systems and the fleet as well. I was a chef for 20 years- 4 reserve and 16 active, he clearly had more related responsibilities vs. myself, he would be a good one to chat about this with.

  • Pingback: US Navy News and updates - Page 109 - DefenceTalk Forum - Military & Defense Forums()

  • Hugh

    Just an observation – British Rolls Royce gas turbines etc and BAE initially from Britain, and Austal initially from (British Commonwealth) Australia.

  • Pingback: The Pressure Inside The Submarine Is Maintained At 1.0 Atm | android - find nearest atm()

  • Pingback: Railgun | GeoPol Intelligence()

  • Pingback: Atm Fuses Wiki | find atms abroad()

  • Pingback: Atm Fuses Wiki | closest - atmlocator()

  • Pingback: The Pressure Inside The Submarine Is Maintained At 1.0 Atm | transaction - worldwide atms()

  • Pingback: The Pressure Inside The Submarine Is Maintained At 1.0 Atm | closest - atmlocator()

  • Pingback: Atm Fuses Wiki | atmsandtravel()

  • Pingback: Atm Fuses Wiki | lowfee - topatms()