Home » Budget Industry » Report to Congress on Navy Laser, Railgun and Hypervelocity Projectiles


Report to Congress on Navy Laser, Railgun and Hypervelocity Projectiles

The following is the Aug. 1, 2017 Congressional Research Service report, Navy Lasers, Railgun and Hypervelocity Projectile.

From the report:

The Navy is developing three new ship-based weapons that could improve the ability of Navy surface ships to defend themselves against missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and surface craft: the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System (SNLWS), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the gun-launched guided projectile (GLGP), previously known as the hypervelocity projectile (HVP).

The Navy refers to the initial (i.e., Increment 1) version of SNLWS as HELIOS, an acronym meaning high-energy laser with integrated optical dazzler and surveillance. EMRG could additionally provide the Navy with a new naval surface fire support (NSFS) weapon for attacking land targets in support of Marines or other friendly ground forces ashore. The Department of Defense is exploring the potential for using GLGP across multiple U.S. military services. Any one of these three new weapons, if successfully developed and deployed, might be regarded as a “game changer” for defending Navy surface ships against enemy missiles and UAVs. If two or three of them are successfully developed and deployed, the result might be considered not just a game changer, but a revolution. Rarely has the Navy had so many potential new types of surface-ship air-defense weapons simultaneously available for development and potential deployment.

Although the Navy in recent years has made considerable progress in developing technologies for these new weapons, a number of significant development challenges remain. Overcoming these challenges will require additional development work, and ultimate success in overcoming them is not guaranteed.

The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy’s funding requests and proposed acquisition strategies for these three potential new weapons. Potential oversight questions for Congress include the following:

Using currently available air-defense weapons, how well could Navy surface ships defend themselves in a combat scenario against an adversary such as China that has or could have large numbers of missiles and UAVs? How would this situation change if Navy surface ships in coming years were equipped with SNLWS, EMRG, GLGP, or some combination of these systems?

  • How significant are the remaining development challenges for SNLWS, EMRG, and GLGP? Are current schedules for developing SNLWS, EMRG, and GLGP appropriate in relation to remaining development challenges and projected improvements in enemy missiles and UAVs?
  • When does the Navy anticipate issuing roadmaps detailing its plans for procuring and installing production versions of SNLWS, EMRG, and GLGP on specific Navy ships by specific dates?
  • Will the kinds of surface ships that the Navy plans to procure in coming years have sufficient space, weight, electrical power, and cooling capability to take full advantage of SNLWS and EMRG? What changes, if any, would need to be made in Navy plans for procuring large surface combatants (i.e., destroyers and cruisers) or other Navy ships to take full advantage of SNLWS and EMRGs?
  • Given the Navy’s interest in HPV, how committed is the Navy to completing the development of EMRG and eventually deploying EMRGs on Navy ships?
  • Are the funding line items for SNLWS, EMRG, and GLDP sufficiently visible for supporting congressional oversight?


via fas.org

  • Duane

    Interesting and relatively detailed report. Rebuts the media reports that proclaimed rail guns were dead late last year.

    Just a few months later Dahlgren’s railgun contractor, General Atomics, inked a new contract with the Army to develop a new railgun for them based on their success with the naval gun.
    And simultaneously reported that they just achieved the target of 1,000+ shot barrel life at the 10MJ energy level. Next step is to ramp up the energy to 32MJ in order to achieve the 100 nm range target … though as this CRS report states, that range is not necessary for ASCM defense.

    • vetww2

      Love your optimism, if not your naievite, At best, It is a useless, expensive toy. I started work in linear acceleraters in 1978, with the nuc boys. We quickly found it wouuld make a great catapult for A/C OR MISSILES. We turned the project over to Lakehurst, who has done a great job, as you know. When I formed a utility team, including them, it was decided that there were better gun optins.

      • Duane

        The Navy and Army both say you are wrong today based on actual test performance, not theoretical handwringing from 40 years ago … back when people asked, “why on earth would I ever need a computer?”, “what is a cell phone?”, and nobody could have imagined carrying around a computer in their pocket.

        Technology does advance a lot in 40 years.

        • vetww2

          Don’t try to give me any of your denigrating crap that doesn’t befit you . I developed (among many other things, The first 100 knot combat ship. (1974), See Guiness. the FIRST computer disc drive (1 mg(1978). I was P.M. af the GLV (Gemini Launch Vehilce,airframe) version of Titan2,1965.)
          Technology also rejects a lot of great ideas. I also helped (when I was at Cornell Aero Lab) the first Auto seat belts, under Ed Dye, 1951, The top cowl on trailer trucks to reduce drag, 1953, the Wing fences to control flow on the SUD “Caravelle” Capt. (later RADM) Grace Hopper, worked for me, briefly, when she, with my discretionary funds, perfected COBOL computer language.

          • J_kies

            Sir – thanks for your service –
            I am pleased that we (mostly CAPE but I helped) stabbed the Railgun projectile nonsense in the face during budget issues. We did redirect the emphasis to the current powder gun launched guided projectiles as it would be smart to utilize the enormous installed base of powder guns. What gets no attention is the fact that drawing the giant arc across the projectile in the railgun is the problem, induced currents fry guidance and sensing electronics in the projectile and the rail wear problem is the same arc’s vaporizing the rails. If it was mere friction then sabots would have solved everything.

    • Secundius

      As I recall the Rail Gun used at Dahlgren has been Derated to 7.5MJ during Test Firings to increase Barrel Life. STILL Falls Short of the Required 3,000-round Barrel Life mandated by US Navy specifications…

      • A 3000 round barrel life is insanely over engineered when no 6″ ship that I know of has ever carried more than 500 rounds per gun. Historically, battleship main guns had a barrel life in the region of 300 rounds and 6-8″ cruisers roughly 750 rounds, and both got along just fine.

        I’d say a barrel life of 500 rounds would probably be the acceptable point at which to start putting the guns at sea, with an eventual goal of 1000 rounds. Anything more would be nice, but far from operationally necessary.

        • Secundius

          As I recall the Mk.16 5.985-inch (152mm)/47-caliber Naval Gun had a Barrel Life of ~750-rounds when using a 33-pound Propellant Charge and ~1,050-round when using a 21-pound Propellant Charge. The Rail Gun Shot Lockers (Magazines) were ~1,200-rounds/each. Whats the point of carrying ~2,400-rounds of Rail Gun projectiles around. IF the Rail Gun Barrels wear out after on 500-rounds fired. It’s not likely that they can be Replaced at Sea and while in the Heat of Battle…

          • Who’s talking about carrying 2400 rounds per gun? Even you’re only claiming 1200 rounds per gun, and I have no idea where that comes from. Zumwalt only has around 335 rounds per gun, so even assuming that the powder charges can be replaced 1:1 with more shells, that’s only 670 rounds per gun.

            Further, it’s not like guns self destruct when they hit their barrel life limit, that’s just the point at which accuracy has degraded to unacceptable levels. Assuming that this is the same definition for railguns, is that still a real concern when you’re firing guided projectiles?

          • Secundius

            Where specifically did I say 2,400-round per gun? Rali Guns were to have a Sustained Rate of Fire of ~6rpm. And when did the Rail Gun suddenly require a Powder Charge to Propel the Projectile…

          • “Whats the point of carrying ~2,400-rounds of Rail Gun projectiles around. IF the Rail Gun Barrels wear out after on 500-rounds fired.”

            That quote only makes sense if you’re implying each barrel should be able to fire 2400 rounds.

            If you had bothered to read my post closely, you would have seen that I said Zumwalt currently has 335 shells + 335 powder charges per gun. Assuming the railgun (no powder needed) could replace each powder charge with an additional shell, that is just 670 rounds per gun – far from the 1200 or 2400 per gun you are suggesting. There is simply no way any ship is carrying that much ammo without sacrificing everything else.

          • Secundius

            Zumwalts aren’t using Rail Guns either, Are They. And ~1,200-rounds of a ~42-pound Rail Gun Projectiles take up less room than ~670-rounds of a L15A1 HE ~98-pound 6.1-inch Naval Artillery Projectile…

          • And guess what? 1200 rounds of railgun ammo per ship is 600 rounds per gun – actually slightly lower than my original estimate of 670 rounds per gun and far, far less than your original claims of 1200 or 2400 rounds per gun.

            With 600 rounds per gun, a barrel life of 600-1000 rounds would be perfectly sufficient and 3000 rounds massively over engineered. These are revolutionary weapons and we should be putting them to sea as fast as is safely possible rather than waiting for the absolute perfect solution decades from now.

          • Secundius

            Massively Over Engineered OR Not! US Navy Minimum Requirements for the Rail Gun is (“STILL”) ~3,000-rounds Barrel Life. NOT 400, NOT 1,000! But 3,000!! Get over it…

        • vetww2

          Darn it. I hate when somebody uses common logic to expose idiocy.

      • vetww2

        HOW IN STATISTICAL HEAVEN, CAN YOU EXTRAPOLATE NON LINEAR BARREL LIFE FROM A FEW FIRINGS? Boogie, Boogie, Boogie.

        • Secundius

          Generally Atonic (General Atomics) accepted a US Navy Contract to produce a “Rail Gun” to US Navy specifications. Which was 64MJ with a Barrel Life of ~3,000-rounds. NOT a 7.5MJ Rail Gun with a Barrel Life of that of a Mk.7 16-inch Naval Gun from WWII (i.e. ~390-rounds). IF “GA” wasn’t capable of Delivering the Product Requested, THEY had No Business excepting the Contract…

          • vetww2

            I wish I was young enough to live to see the demise of this dumb idea, Remember flying subs, hydro ski landing gear, magneto-hydrodynamic “Caterpillar” waterjet, and lots more?

    • Chesapeakeguy

      Ummm, help me here. If they worked so hard to attain a 1k shot barrel life at 10MJ, ‘ramping up’ the power load to 32MJ is going to bring about exponentially higher and more extreme stresses on the barrel. Achieving the 1k standard at 10MJ thus is rendered irrelevant. Have they found a ‘coating’ that can be applied to the barrels to attain the standard, and is it merely a matter of applying a thicker coat of that to protect against the more stressful forces that the higher power will produce? That’s not a small consideration.

    • vetww2

      You just can’t beat Madison Ave. (and campaign funds.)

  • Spencer Whitson

    A small edit that should be made: At the top of the page, it says that this is the August 1, 2017 paper when this is the August 1, 2018

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Well, everything sure seems ‘rosy’ here. I’m glad to see the multiple systems approach here. As the report pointed out near the end, lasers are limited to line of sight. I see the references to ‘high explosive’ projectiles yet I am not aware of any real testing along those lines. How much bang would such a small shell be able to pack that is not relying on kinetic energy but explosive force? A HE shell would have to be extensively insulated to protect the explosives and their components from the electric shock of the rail gun itself. One of the more attractive elements of the rail gun has been the safety touted by NOT having any explosive aspects of its ammunition that can be potentially dangerous to the ship carrying them (as IS the case now with all of the gun ammo carried on Navy and CG vessels). It sounds like they have a long way to go, but I do hope they get there.

    • Secundius

      “.17-.50bmg “Incinerator” Wildcat”! In 1 April 2017, Kent Wilson of Ammo-One crimped a .17hmr (4.4mm) FMJ to a .50bmg (12.7x99mm) Cartridge. To create a ~Mach 5.5 (~6,189.3ft/sec) Projectile to “Implode” Prairie Dogs. The same application could be applied to a 5-inch Naval Gun, with a Scaled Down Projectile of ~43mm in diameter. Ironically approximately the Same Size as a Rail Gun Projectile…

      • Chesapeakeguy

        Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Show me where any actual work by the Navy is being done on this…

        • Secundius

          And “Where” specifically do I mention that this was done to a 5-inch Naval Artillery Round!/?

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I actually do not know what you were trying to purvey. The discussion is about railgun projectiles, and suddenly the term ‘prairie dogs’ is floated around. And you most certainly DID bring up how all that could apply to ” a 5-inch Naval Gun”.

          • Secundius

            IF you can CRIMP down a .50BMG Cartridge to seat a .17 HMR Bullet! I suspect a 5-inch Shell Casing can be CRIMP’d down to fit a ~43mm Rail Gun Projectile…

          • vetww2

            Sorry but that is idiotic, requiring smear rings 100+mm thick., as the Germans called them, on the 27/23 gun,

          • Secundius

            But if you reduce the Internal Barrel Diameter to ~43mm, the approximately the same as the Projectile. You can Focus the Blast of the Propellant directly to the Projectile…

          • vetww2

            SILLY. The entire charge force is focussed on the projectile (and the barrel walls,) This is not a shaped charge operation.

          • Secundius

            There already developing “Tungsten Carbide” Projectiles to be Fired from Either the Rail Gun, 155mm Howitzer and the 5-inch Naval Gun. One Size Fits All approach. What’s the point of Wasting Propellant Pressure by it having it go around the Projectile (i.e. ~42mm Projectile in a 5-inch Bore) Gun Tube. When you can Focus the Entire Blast to Propel the “Tungsten Carbide” Projectile…

          • old guy

            KAMERAD. I surrender. You and broccoli can continue this screwy dialogue, while the rest of us stick to
            1. Why inn the world we keep building useless trash like LCS? and
            2. What idiot sold the NAVY ON “OLD FLOPOVER” (DD1000)?.AND
            3. WHO IS PUTTING OUT ALL THIS BULL ON RAILGUN? and
            4. Why aren’t we building hundreds of anti-swarm craft?

          • Secundius

            I thought we (i.e the U.S. Navy) already had Hundreds of Anti-Swarming Crafts! I thought the Mass Production of 11-meter RHIB’s and Metal Sharks were being constructed for that very purpose…

          • Chesapeakeguy

            But, no one is doing any ‘crimping’ on anything pertaining to HE projectiles. At least nothing that I can find.

          • Secundius

            And why does it have to be a “HE” Projectile?/! With a Muzzle Velocity approaching Mach 5+, as Solid Projectile would have sufficient Kinetic Energy to Destroy an object hit by the projectile…

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Did you bother to read the report itself? It is in there where references to HE projectiles are mentioned. Page 24, Figure 11 to be exact. As for why having HE shells might be desirable, I personally believe that there are some useful applications from things that explode. A kinetic round might knock some troops off their feet if it hits some number of yards away, but the resultant EXPLOSION from a shell doing so just might take them out completely.

          • Secundius

            The Qualifier Being, that “HE Projectiles MIGHT be desirable”!/? Has ANYONE outside of the Germans in WWII Tested a Hypersonic Projectile with a High Explosive Warhead in the Projectile. If you’ve heard of one, let me know…

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Here you go AGAIN taking a conversation way beyond it’s intentions. If you have so much heartache with everything, take it up with the authors of the report. THEY have provided info about HE projectiles being part of the mix. I didn’t invent that. Seeing how the Army is interested in both rail guns and the specialized projectiles being developed for them (for firing from both RGs and existing artillery tubes), explosive shells no doubt appeal to them too. Let me know what they say about all that!

          • Secundius

            It’s going to be Years if not Decades before the US Army field a Rail Gun Artillery System. The problem being that the Current US Army Rail Gun fits on Three Flat-Bed Semi’s. One for the “Rail Gun”, a second for the “Power Supply” and the third for the Mobile Magazine and Firce Control System. Until they find away to Downsize all three components into a Single Compact Unit. The US Army Rail Gun is just a Novelty…

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Maybe, but all involved do appear to be pursuing it.

          • vetww2

            The ETC work, led by Ms, Mary Lacey, on the 5″ 54 was done at DAHLGREN. It may still be cassified.

          • Secundius

            Was this while she was working at St. Mary’s College in 2011 or as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Navy’s Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation in 2013…

          • vetww2

            No, long. before that. Right after she left my group to work at Dahlgren. Great person.

          • Secundius

            Is her Middle Name “Eileen”? If so she Died in February 2017. Or I might be looking at the Wrong Person, with the Same Name…

          • vetww2

            NO, she is deceased. A great loss.

  • SierraSierraQuebec

    Lasers present a unique prospective weapon type in as far as they project at the speed of light, but in order to be effective they need rather high rates of peak power coupled with targeting systems that allow them to selectively damage incoming weapons to induce uncontrolled yaw moments so that aerodynamic forces can then do the rest. They also are limited range weapons further hampered by weather conditions in addition to not being particularly good self defense weapons since the head on aspect of a missile is easiest to proof against laser energy. Further, it may be essential to equip ships with a number of fire units operating in unison in order to achieve the critical concentration of energy on the target system. A force of lightly outfitted diesel semi-electric powered Arleigh Burke frigate escorts are the optimal economic choice for carrying such lasers in a picket defense type ship; adding lasers to the core group of destroyers and cruisers would present major space and power issues while over tasking and over concentrating a unique system with specific requirements on already heavily packed vessels.

    • SierraSierraQuebec

      Effective gunnery involves the efficient correlation of internal, external, and terminal ballistics. Muzzle velocity is only one component of internal ballistics, and as a matter of fact, the most effective gunnery employs the least amount of velocity to achieve the end effect since acceleration inside the barrel and the immediate deceleration after it leaves the barrel are squared functions of energy that require a lot and lose it even quicker. Mass and cross sectional mass working against the trajectory air column are far more efficient at achieving the terminal delivery result. The navy already put this principle to practice with its super heavy shells for major caliber guns in World War II, these projectiles having significantly greater terminal penetration performance despite having lower muzzle velocities. The proponents of the current costly, bulky, expensive, and unreliable electromagnetic gun systems present a lot of misleading and false claims, but its understandable given they work in an environment where the threat of cancellation is always present. The research definitely should continue, but short of a major breakthrough in high current and flux density superconductors outside of these programs in general, these gun types are not a prudent choice for deployment any time soon. Improved conventional gun systems offer far more potential than these wunder weapons, the proposed EM gun being roughly comparable to the high side of an 8″ gun and would be far too bulky, heavy, and expensive to mount on a DDG-51, its slow rate of fire against salvos of heavy missiles incoming at up to a 1000m/s giving it little chance of effective defense when it has seconds to make a difference.
      Neither of these types are game changers, but they will exert an incremental effect on tactics and operations, nor will this change the fundamental calculus of maintaining some semblance of strategic balance that has slowed the proliferation of armed conflict and kept the world from a major world war for well over a half century.

      • SierraSierraQuebec

        The Mk45 gun system could undergo some major modifications to bring it to a Model 5 configuration, but none would present much program risk since its primarily a reworking of configuratons. The first major change would involve the long barrelled 155mm gun of 62 calibers (also currently a product of BAE; to be clear, I have absolutely no connection to BAE whatsoever and these opinion is entirely without bias) from the AGS mounted on a greatly increased diameter turret ring mounted flush with an oblique sided slightly raised gun deck (along with the same style of gun house to greatly reduce the radar trap of the overhang and the above deck cannon section in general). This increases the maximum elevation to around +85 degrees from +62 degrees, but will increase the topweight on the ship to some degree since this gun is roughly twice as powerful as the 127mm/L62; whether cost effective weight savings can be made be employing a titanium gun and support structure by leveraging the titanium artillery technology of the 155mm M777 (also a BAE product) remains to be seen, but likely the most effective solution (for new ships) would be to stretch the hull forward by a few feet and use the opportunity to increase the magazine capacity in the bottom of the ship in the process. The existing projectile handling systems were beefed up to handle the much heavier 5″ ERGM round with the Model 4 version of the gun system, so for the most part it should be possible to upgrade to 155mm with changes to fittings and/or projectile numbers in handling stages, and little in the way of arrangement, design, or motorization. The breech end of the cannon would have to be modified to the same type used in the 5″ gun so that the same loader could be used (for rounds primarily fired in the horizontal plane).

        • SierraSierraQuebec

          The second major change is to add a high angle arc loader in addition to the drum loader of the existing system, the purpose for greatly increasing the diameter of the turret ring. The arc loading and ramming complex would comprise a 135 degree carriage designed to accomodate double length projectile and propellant combinations and would incorporate the same separate loading round operation feature (primarily to obviate a particular munition from being inches too long for an optimal configuration because they are elongated sub-caliber types, not to push the barrel beyond its limits). The drum assembly would be rotated forward from port (to clear the arc loader better) and would be adjusted to 15-16 rounds due to the increased diameter of the projectiles, allowing for as many HVP/GLGP anti-missile rounds in single loading form that would max out existing practical propellant technology at 1800m/s (which the gun can fire at twice the rate of fire over an EM gun) [NOTE: expressing gun velocities in MPH or Mach is deceptive, the established convention is meters per second], a wide range of single and separate loading conventional unguided rounds, guided ramjet and/or GPS rounds, and the cancelled ERGM and LRLAP rounds if the respective companies can rework them or their technology to an economical evolved form. The arc loader would only load projectiles at ~+80 degrees of fixed elevation, since that clears the drum assembly rammer and these projectiles would almost never be fired horizontally and would only have to move a few degrees up or down to fire.

          • SierraSierraQuebec

            An extra long range glide shell would be added to this line up of as many as several dozen types, nominally a long 100lb 100mm sub caliber projectile comprised of a base bleed aluminum or composite ballistic structural carrier fired at high angles with a nested ~70mm glide projectile kicked out at apogee to unfold high aspect wings and control fins at a then increased lift to mass ratio that would allow it to glide under INS/GPS control for hundreds of kilometers and terminally home with mass produced technology of the Hellfire, AKPWS, and related types and employing a warhead comprised of an EFP with FAE secondary effects and a composite or ceramic penetrator cap for use against unfortified but rigid targets like one to three story buildings as well as all the primary exposed military targets like artillery, vehicles, and aircraft, and small infrastructure targets or subsections of them. A drone version of this projectile with an inflating (hydrogen) gas bag or small rotary engine propfan would allow it to spot for other projectiles (assuming a suitable sensor & communications link) or weapons before its own allocation to a target. Although the glide shells can achieve great range for the effort, they would have longer flight times and limited capacity to strike hardened targets, but typically there would be thousands of viable exposed targets like $5-10M tanks, $25M helicopters, $0.5M trucks, $5-25M missile launcher complexes, etc., over extended geography a couple of dozen times greater in area that could be destroyed by these relatively inexpensive munitions, since most high end weapons are designed for the major targets but are uneconomical for the large numbers of common targets, and there has been a need for gun solutions for a long time.

          • SierraSierraQuebec

            The arc section of the loader only needs to cover the forward firing angles since the rounds are for long range pre-planned strikes, but there would be nothing stopping it continuing for 180 or even up to 315 degrees, only the location of the core drum assembly preventing a full circle from being employed, but it is unlikely it would ever be essential to have the extended arc and the extra space required for it. Two projectile carriers with 4-8 munition units would run along the arc, being loaded from a central strike down hoist(s); with the gun trained to port or starboard it would be possible to automate reloading the magazine from pallets lashed to the gun deck extensions built flush to the wider turret ring allowing an extra vertical extension to the arc strike down port as the entry point for the replenishment ammunition (via a small crane hoist stowed in the deck). Aft guns would have the arc and strike down replenishment port facing the same direction because the vertical firing angle allows forward fire, but the prevailing trend is away from aft guns and this mount optimally is for new installations regardless, so it is a minor point. Completing the heavily revised Mk.45 gun system would be an angular barrel stowage shroud of the same form as the 155mm AGS, but with the addition of a quick change barrel while it is depressed in to the support cradle much like the barrel change feature used in the old 5″/38 gun and others; the breech end may require extensive revision anyways, so designing in a separation joint should not be a major issue. A spare barrel would not normally be carried unless a barrel change is an anticipated event.

          • SierraSierraQuebec

            The value of doubling the muzzle energy of the gun can not be understated if a fully tactical gunnery solution is to be achieved. The venerable 5″/38 was by most accounts the best dual purpose gun of its time, but time has obviously moved on from this artillery methodology and practice, even though it is claimed to have required a thousand rounds for every aircraft shot down. The problem with the 5″ caliber is that it is not quite big enough to produce workable projectile solutions for it, whereas the 155mm caliber does start generating workable solutions, not unlike the prolonged debate over 5.56mm and 7.62mm caliber rifles and various intermediate rounds like the 6.8mm. A 155mm/L62 gun satisfies the demand for tactical ranges without excess, however, there would be value in developing strategic range gunnery on a mobile platform with the layered defensive and offensive capabilities of a major surface combatant.

          • vetww2

            Have you checked out the use of ETC in current barrels? We fired a 5″ ROUND, CREATING A PLASMA by applying 25 MEGA-JOULES, WITH water as the plasma source. We also fired a 2 MEGA-JOULE GUN AT 20 ROUNDS PER MINUTE. THE WORK SHOULD ALL BE AVAILABLE AT DAHLGREN.

          • SierraSierraQuebec

            This research has been in progress for tank guns since the 1990’s as far as I recall. Its a possible hybrid stage that would better fit a warship without the volume constraints of a tank, but my argument is directed more at long established methods applied in optimal form. It would have the advantage of lowering electrical demands and the size of the capacitor magazine while achieving elevated velocities. The prevalent ad copy likes to stress the lack of propellant and explosives with EM guns, but long range uses after velocity has been lost are questionable without the stuff that blows up, and although there is no precedent with capacitor magazines, it is hard to imagine that even with extensive electrical grounding that the danger of crippling to catastrophic damage from many tens of megajoules of static electrical charge freely conducting through the hull of ship after penetration or rupturing of the capacitor magazine will not occur.

    • vetww2

      Directed energy was an area under development, for years, by a NAVSEA PMS ln the 80s and 90s. I do not know what happened to it, but it showed great promise with both Lasers and charged particles. The PM is still around. I WILL CONTACT HIM TO FIND THE CURRENT (UNCLASSIFIED) STATUS.

      • SierraSierraQuebec

        I have often wondered if it is feasible to send a stream of electrical or other high speed particles down the rarefied air inside a laser beam, it might not require much to fry all the electronics of a missile and would overcome selective hardening of missiles, but it must have hit some dead end, probably how to project it at a useful distance without atmospheric absorption, and was cancelled as a Star Trek phaser type pipe dream.
        The current lasers under development are an evolution of common commercial semiconductor types scaled up many orders of magnitude, and the EM guns the result of gun type experimentation with linear accelerator motors a couple of decades ago (I remember discussing their potential with a few people back then), so neither are actually a new form of applied science like a compounded directed energy weapon.

  • SierraSierraQuebec

    Although the super cannons might be best left for a future surface warship class, as applied to an Arleigh Burke frigate, destroyer, or cruiser, a pair of super cannons would require a minimum of a 1000t hull insertion amidships between the forward and aft engines and the funnels, the sides of which would be continued across seamlessly as one large obliquely reflective radar surface. Although the extra displacement would degrade the ships’ acceleration and maneoverability, possibly amplify pitching magnitude and wetness forward but reducing metacentric height, it would have no real effect on top speed under normal sea states. A pair of 254mm guns of 102 calibers in length would have a bore length of around 85 feet which would go from the lower platforms to the funnel top level, although length could readily be increased another 25% or 21 feet by continuing the superstructure around the barrels upwards around the muzzle area. Two guns would provide redundancy and double the rate of fire, but they would be close together and never fire together to avoid mutual interference; an erectable plating shroud would prevent muzzle blast from damaging equipment on the primary tripod foremast and masking the flash from long range detection, the infrared signature possibly being attenuated further with fresh or sea water washdown. Alternatively, the power of the guns could be scaled up to a 310mm/L93, roughly 50% more powerful than the baseline size if some particular projectile comes up short on required range and performance.

    • SierraSierraQuebec

      Hypothetically even larger guns would be possible, but these weapons would exceed length limitations for fitting inside the shell of the ship as long caliber bore tubes and would start assuming battleship pattern sizes, at which point it would be more flexible and effective to deliver such firepower by missilery and aircraft against these major targets. The core objective is to develop a gun system optimized for attack on the more numerous but still substantial military targets with $100,000 dollar projectiles, rather than the top end targets with multi-million dollar missiles from delivery systems costing tens or hundreds of millions to buy and operate. Gerald Bull’s notional one meter bore rapid on demand satellite launcher is the only real use for gigantic guns, which from a practical standpoint would be built as a folding projector on a twin hulled ship that lowers much of the cannon deep in the water of an inland or coastal water body and would not directly constitute a combat system nor ever be deployed as one.

      • old guy

        WOWEE!!! you are a great loss to science fiction. I have never read a less coherent exposition of irrelevant information, except for, maybe H.G. WELLS writings. Talk about “Emperor’s New Clothes.”

  • g2mil

    The reported news about the railgun development is mainly based on internet publications from technically illiterate journalists or a hype from the contractors like Nick Bucci from GA or Amir Chaboki from BAE. And the ONR didn’t report yet that Dahlgren’s railgun has successfully passed the tests to confirm 1,000 shots barrel life or 10 rpm rate of fire.

    The whole railgun story is a big fraud by the contractors because:
    1) it is not efficient at long range bombardment due to air drag losses of kinetic energy,
    2) the rails do wear very fast, seriously limiting the barrel life,
    3) to get 10 rpm rate of fire, it has to use liquid cooling, and not only for the rails, but also capacitors and cables, which makes it not reliable,
    4) huge electric arc inside the barrel and large acceleration puts significant constrains on the proposed guidance unit inside the projectile (not developed as yet), which can skyrocket its price.

    www. g2mil. com/rail_gun_fraud.htm

    • vetww2

      CONGRATULATIONS. you got by the editors. if you check my inputs (hidden down in the bowels of the responses), you will find:
      1, My SEA003 group developed the LINEAR ELECTRIC ACCELERATOR, in 1978, which we assigned to Lakehurst, who developed it into the great A/C catapult we now have.
      2. Our evaluation of it as a gun found it impractical against any other systems (notably, the ETC electro-Thermodynamic-Chemical system), which could work with current gun ststems.
      3. The development would be too costly, the round too small and the G load oj the guidance system too high, to be practical. We were wrong only in the area of G load, which has pretty much been overcome with modern solid state designs.

  • Rob C.

    I hope they sort this thing out with the EM Guns, their firepower is needed.

    If i were betting man, the hypervelocity projectiles will likely be the thing that soldiers on since it’s working out and it’s cheaper unfortunately. US will have hope that other unfriendly countries will not continue and over come the cost to R&D the railgun.

    I suspect they will need come up with new materials so the barrels can extend the life of the barrel of the EM Guns.