U.S. Navy Makes Rail Guns a Reality

#Future

Wed, Feb 29th, 2012 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

Once a piece of science fiction that started in the 1955 novel Earthlight by Arthur C. Clarke, rail guns -- a powerful gun that can shoot rounds more than 160 kilometres away at several times the speed of sound -- has become a reality. Reportedly, the U.S. Navy now has a working prototype.

The navy said Tuesday an industry-built prototype of the gun is being tested at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division in Northern Virginia. It uploaded a video to YouTube demonstrating a test-shot as part of a month-long series of tests to evaluate the technology.

At this stage, they're focused on measuring the gun's barrel life and structural integrity because it is capable of firing rounds at up to 9,010 kilometres per hour, or more than seven times the speed of sound. More research and development is needed to over the next five years to ensure the weapon can cool down and handle repetitive fire. The navy wants to be able to fire 10 rounds a minute.

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