Blowing things up from far away

rail-guns-navy Everyone knows spaceships will have laser guns that go “pew, pew” and kill the fat guy in the x-wing.  But until then, we’ll have to make do with blowing the crap out of stuff at 220 miles with the most powerful rail gun ever.  The 32-megajoule Electric Laboratory Rail Gun (a name only a military bureaucrat could love) is four times more powerful than the previously-most-powerful rail gun, capable of accelerating steel slugs to Mach 7.

The scary thing is, this model is only half as powerful as the specifications given by the Navy – they want a 64 megajoule weapon.  BAE’s got a ways to go, the current model only lasts a few shots before blowing itself out of alignment.

(story and image via DailyTech)

4 thoughts on “Blowing things up from far away”

  1. That is incredibly cool, in a very scary way. I can’t help feeling that their plans to put it on a boat could go horribly wrong (recoil = capsize). It looks a lot like the Midgar ray from Final Fantasy VII…

  2. “Electric Laboratory Rail Gun (a name only a military bureaucrat could love”

    Actually, it would be right at home in an anime series.

  3. True, Steve, but in Japanese, it’d probably be a 3-syllable word. I had a student ask me one time if some 28-or-so letter word was real, and the translation next to it was 3 kanji long. It had something to do with a disease caused by small particles of volcanic rock that can get lodged in the lungs.

  4. Geat comments. Wikipedia has some interesting background on the challenges of making these things work. Apparantly greasing the rails isn’t enough.


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