Combat Weaponcraft News

Meet the Masterminds Behind the Railgun – Soldier of Fortune Magazine

Meet the Masterminds Behind the Railgun – Soldier of Fortune Magazine
2017 – The Workplace of Naval Analysis sponsored electromagnetic railgun at terminal vary situated at Naval Floor Warfare Middle Dahlgren Division. The electromagnetic railgun launcher is a long-range weapon that fires projectiles utilizing electrical energy as an alternative of chemical propellants. (U.S. Navy photograph by John F. Williams/Launched)

Navy Deploys Electromagnetic Railgun Aboard JHSV

2014 – The U.S. Navy deliberate to put in and check a prototype electromagnetic railgun aboard a joint excessive velocity vessel in fiscal yr 2016, the service introduced in 2014.

This check marked the first time an electromagnetic railgun (EM railgun) had been demonstrated at sea, symbolizing a big advance in naval fight.

(June 21, 2012) The second of two Workplace of Naval Analysis (ONR) Electromagnetic (EM) Railgun industry prototype launchers is being evaluated at the Naval Floor Warfare Middle, Dahlgren Division. Each Basic Atomics and BAE Methods have designed subsequent era prototype EM Railguns succesful of elevated firing charges. The EM Railgun is a long-range weapon that launches projectiles utilizing electrical energy as an alternative of chemical propellants and is underneath improvement by the Division of the Navy to be used aboard ships. (U.S. Navy photograph by John F. Williams/Launched)

EM railgun know-how makes use of an electromagnetic drive – often known as the Lorenz Drive – to quickly speed up and launch a projectile between two conductive rails. This guided projectile is launched at such excessive velocities that it could possibly obtain higher ranges than typical weapons. It maintains sufficient kinetic power that it doesn’t require any variety of excessive explosive payload when it reaches its goal.

Excessive-energy EM railguns are anticipated to be deadly and efficient towards a number of threats, together with enemy warships, small boats, plane, missiles and land-based targets.

“The electromagnetic railgun represents an incredible new offensive capability for the U.S. Navy,” stated Rear Adm. Bryant Fuller, the Navy’s chief engineer. “This capability will allow us to effectively counter a wide-range of threats at a relatively low cost, while keeping our ships and sailors safer by removing the need to carry as many high-explosive weapons.”

EM railgun know-how will complement present kinetic weapons at present onboard floor combatants and supply a couple of particular benefits. Towards particular threats, the value per engagement is orders of magnitude inexpensive than comparable missile engagements. The projectile itself is being designed to be widespread with some present powder weapons, enabling the conservation of costly missiles to be used towards extra complicated threats.

“Energetic weapons, such as EM railguns, are the future of naval combat,” stated Rear Adm. Matt Klunder, the chief of naval analysis. “The U.S. Navy is at the forefront of this game-changing technology.”

This demonstration was the newest in a collection of technical maturation efforts designed to offer an operational railgun to the fleet. Since 2005, the Navy and its companions in industry and academia have been testing railgun know-how at the Naval Floor Warfare Middle in Dahlgren, Va., and the Naval Analysis Lab the place the service has a quantity of prototype methods.

The ultimate operational system can be succesful of launching guided, multi-mission projectiles to a vary of 110 nautical miles towards a variety of threats. The collection of exams are designed to seize classes for incorporation right into a future tactical design and can permit the Navy to greatest perceive wanted ship modifications earlier than absolutely integrating the know-how.

The Navy is utilizing JHSV as a vessel of alternative as a result of of its obtainable cargo and topside area and schedule flexibility. As a result of JHSVs are non-combatants, there isn’t a plan to completely set up a railgun on any ship of the class. A remaining choice has not been made on which ship courses will obtain a totally operational railgun.


Engineers have fired the Navy’s first industry-built electromagnetic railgun (EM Railgun) prototype launcher at a check facility, commencing an analysis that is a vital intermediate step towards a future tactical weapon for ships, officers introduced Feb. 28. 2018.

The firing at Naval Floor Warfare Middle Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) kickED off a two- month-long check collection by the Workplace of Naval Analysis (ONR) to guage the first of two industry-built launchers. The checks will convey the Navy nearer to a brand new naval gun system succesful of prolonged ranges towards floor, air and floor targets.

“We are starting our full-energy tests to evaluate the barrel life and structural integrity of the prototype system,” stated Roger Ellis, program supervisor of the EM Railgun, half of ONR’s Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Division. “It’s the next step toward a future tactical system.”

The EM Railgun launcher is a long-range weapon that fires projectiles utilizing electrical energy as an alternative of chemical propellants. Magnetic fields created by excessive electrical currents speed up a sliding metallic conductor, or armature, between two rails to launch projectiles at four,500 mph to five,600 mph.

The 32-megajoule prototype demonstrator, constructed by BAE Techniques, arrived at NSWCDD on Jan. 30. One megajoule of power is equal to a 1-ton automotive being thrust at 100 mph. The prototype-which now seems to be extra like a naval weapon in comparison with earlier lab-style launchers-is the first of two industry-built launchers to be delivered to the Navy. Common Atomics is constructing the second launcher, scheduled for supply in April. ONR beforehand relied upon laboratory-built techniques to advance the know-how.

After putting in the BAE Methods launcher and outfitting it with a complete suite of sensors, high-speed cameras and measuring units, engineers fired profitable low-energy check photographs to organize it for the analysis. The staff will conduct exams at 20 megajoules and 32 megajoules, capturing check projectiles just like what was beforehand fired by way of NSWCDD’s laboratory launcher.

“The test series will characterize the gun’s performance by shooting several rounds through the barrel at various energy levels to fully exercise the capabilities of the prototype,” stated Ellis.

When absolutely developed, the EM Railgun will give Sailors a dramatically elevated multimission functionality. Its elevated velocity and prolonged vary over conventional shipboard weapons will permit them to conduct exact, long-range naval floor hearth help for land strikes; ship self-defense towards cruise and ballistic missiles; and floor warfare to discourage enemy vessels. The Navy’s near-term aim is a 20- to 32-megajoule weapon that shoots a distance of 50 to 100 nautical miles.

To realize this, the Navy is shifting forward with the EM Railgun program’s subsequent part: to develop thermal administration methods for each the launcher and pulsed energy to facilitate elevated firing charges of as much as 10 rounds per minute. Towards this finish, BAE and Basic Atomics have been contracted to start idea design of a next-generation thermally managed launcher.

“The next phase of the development effort is to demonstrate the ability to operate at a firing rate of significant military utility,” Ellis stated.

Retired Adm. James Hogg, left, and Dr. Hans Mark pose with the plaques that bear their names and will probably be put in on the electromagnetic railgun line at Naval Floor Warfare Middle Dahlgren Division. As public servants, Hogg and Mark laid the basis for the U.S. Navy Railgun program, main efforts to discover and illustrate to senior management the warfighting benefits of this game-changing know-how and have been pivotal in gaining the preliminary funding essential to exhibit its feasibility. (U.S. Navy photograph by John F. Williams/Launched)
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Electromagnetic Railgun at Terminal Vary

The Masterminds of the know-how

The Navy devoted and named its electromagnetic railgun strains in honor of two public servants who envisioned, nurtured, and laid the basis for the U.S. Navy’s Electromagnetic Railgun Program at a ceremony held of their honor, Feb. 22. 2018.

Posters and plaques commemorating the naming of the railgun strains for Adm. James Hogg (ret.) and Dr. Hans Mark have been unveiled at the occasion and might be on everlasting show to honor their efficacy and imaginative and prescient as the Navy continues working to push this revolutionary warfighting functionality ahead.

“These visionary men had the confidence that we could deliver here at Dahlgren, and we appreciate your support,” stated Don McCormack, government director for the Naval Floor Warfare Middle and the Naval Undersea Warfare Middle. “We are forever in your debt for your guidance and support. We have solved many challenges and the folks here have exceeded our expectations in addressing those technical challenges.”

McCormack and Capt. Godfrey ‘Gus’ Weekes, Naval Floor Warfare Middle Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) commanding officer, informed the viewers comprising senior army and civilian leaders in addition to the kin and associates of the two males, that their imaginative and prescient and dedication to discover the warfighting benefits of the game-changing know-how whereas advocating it to the Navy’s prime leaders was pivotal in gaining the preliminary funding essential to reveal its feasibility.

“This is a very significant day in history for our nation, our military, and the Navy,” stated Weekes. “It is especially significant as this year Dahlgren Division celebrates 100 years of innovation. We are extremely honored that the names of Admiral Hogg and Dr. Mark will be permanently associated with the electromagnetic railgun lines here at Dahlgren. Their vision has contributed to our Navy’s ability to bolster our nation’s defense posture.”

For over 20 years, Hogg and Mark – each with lengthy and distinguished careers together with prime authorities and army positions – collaborated and advocated for the know-how whereas mentoring Navy management, scientists, and engineers.

“Like Jefferson and Adams, Admiral Hogg and Dr. Mark established a regular correspondence about the various aspects of the railgun and its potential for naval warfare,” stated McCormack.

Their work collectively introduced the railgun idea from an summary principle to the tangible actuality earlier than them as they toured the railgun strains with the different guests at the NSWCDD Electromagnetic Railgun Facility. Furthermore, the two met ceaselessly with the Chief of Naval Operations’ Strategic Research Group (SSG) to debate warfighting and rising applied sciences – particularly the prospects and potential for the railgun.

“Directed energy technologies like the railgun are the future of naval warfare as they provide superior lethality and greater economy than existing weapons,” Weekes added. “In the case of the railgun, this translates into an ability to launch projectiles at speeds that exceed the capability of conventional gun technology.”

Whereas engaged in hands-on railgun analysis for the Institute of Superior Know-how (IAT) at the College of Texas, Mark started advising the Navy on its promising Electromagnetic Railgun Program in 2001. At the time, the institute was the middle of railgun analysis in the United States.

Mark – former secretary and undersecretary of the Air Pressure in addition to the former director of the Nationwide Reconnaissance Workplace – launched younger railgun leaders from NSWCDD to key Pentagon decision-makers.

Hogg served as the Director of the SSG from 1995-2013 the place he actively explored and conceptualized the future of naval warfare. Throughout that point, a quantity of the annual SSG research examined the potential of the electromagnetic railgun from a number of views.

“Dr. Mark worked closely with the SSG on various aspects of warfighting – propulsion, directed energy, and most significantly – railgun,” stated Hogg as he gave his keynote speech, crediting the pioneers of the railgun effort. “Mark believed deeply in the ability of smart and dedicated engineers to overcome the challenges. I can tell you from personal observation that every time Navy leadership had technical questions and wondered about the SSG’s work on the railgun, they would go to Dr. Hans Mark to get the bottom line answer they were looking for in terms of the technical soundness of this program. Hans came through every time.”

NSWCDD engineers briefed the guests on the hypervelocity projectile – a next-generation, guided projectile succesful of finishing a number of missions for gun methods reminiscent of the Navy 5-inch, 155mm, and future railguns.

Hogg gave an in-depth, historic account of the technical challenges solved time after time as the know-how superior. “What you saw today,” recalled Hogg as he spoke to the viewers, “is the hypervelocity projectile – it’s the next generation of what the SSG was proposing.”

The retired admiral recounted former CNO Adm. Jay Johnson’s help for the electrical drive with an built-in energy system (IPS) networked throughout the ship that may, “generate enough electrical energy to propel a projectile 300 miles and beyond.” IPS supplies for all of a ship’s electrical wants, together with propulsion and ship service masses.

The Navy’s first combatant ship with an electrical drive built-in energy system is the guided missile destroyer DDG 1000 USS Zumwalt, commissioned two years in the past.

“Zumwalt was built for railgun,” stated Hogg. “The SSG’s efforts at railgun conceptual development were completed in 2001 – their mission accomplished.”

A number of years later, railgun would develop into a funded program at the science and know-how degree of improvement supported by the Workplace of Naval Analysis (ONR) and the Naval Sea Methods Command (NAVSEA).

“The ability to do the things you just explained to us is really fantastic,” stated Mark as he addressed Hogg throughout his temporary speech. “We are now in a period of stress and, therefore, the military services and the weapons that we make have to be improved. This is the story of railgun. I am very pleased and honored to be with all of you.”

“Just the thought of this recognition is both exhilarating and humbling. Exhilarating because of your strong support since the whole idea started 10-12 years ago. Humbling because it is not about me,” stated Hogg as he named early advocates and pioneers of the electromagnetic railgun in addition to, “150 SSG members collaborating in creative thought for five years who really made it possible, which means it’s all about the SSG team.” He added, “I thank the SSG, NAVSEA, ONR, Navy leadership, railgun scientists and engineers wherever you may be. I thank all of you most genuinely.”


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