General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems has successfully tested their railgun projectiles with on-board electronics at US Army’s Dugway Proving Ground.
Four separate tests were conducted on the device, and it passed with flying colors at the Utah-based proving ground. Projectiles were tested to see if they could handle the railgun’s launching conditions. They were launched at 30,000 times the acceleration of gravity, and were exposed to the full electromagnetic environment they would see in real-life situations. Sometimes those launch speeds can reach as high as seven-times the speed of sounds.
It also focused on developing the precision guidance of the weapon. They did this by having the electronics on-board the projectiles assess in-bore accelerations and projectile dynamics.
"This is a significant milestone in the technology development toward a railgun weapon system, and marks the first time flight dynamics data have been successfully measured and down-linked from an aerodynamic projectile fired from our railgun on an open test range,” said GA Electromagnetic Systems Group Missile Defense Systems Vice President Nick Bucci.
The testing also included the milestone 100th launch for the GA-EMS' 3 megajoule Blitzer electromagnetic railgun. It was a testament to the durability of the company’s technology.
"GA-EMS' successful testing and on-going investment to advance our scalable railgun and projectile technologies illustrates our commitment to mature this transformational weapon system and provide the warfighter multi-mission advantages across several platforms,” Bucci later added.
The versatility of the railgun to be used on a multi-mission platform derives from the scalability of the GA-EMS launcher and the modularity of the pulse power system. The way electromagnetic railguns work is by using electricity to fire projectiles, rather than chemical propellants such as gunpowder.
Stored electrical energy create a magnetic field that can launch a projectile as fast as 2 to 2.5 km/sec (Mach 6 to 7.5). It is also safer to use, as transporting and storing explosives can be dangerous.
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