Remember the days when you gazed at Morgan Blackhand’s Street Weapons Guide (or basically any other SF or Cyberpunk future weapon guide) and saw guns which use electromagnetic fields to bring projectiles to – so far – unheard-of speeds?
Remember the discussions with wiseguys and players (or a combination thereof) if the damage listed is „overpowered“ and „exaggerated“? Remember how these same player’s characters were trying to develop their own railgun versions in bullpop design so they could hide them in a longcoat or duffle bag? ;)
Now, there is no more need to remember the bad old days when the future was just a thing to come. Future’s here now, kiddo, and it brings us the railgun, too (among other things, if you would take out your iPod earplugs and listen for a sec):
I got this video from the highly interesting Popsci website via a thread on the (likewise highly interesting) Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century forum (always the place to go to stay up to date with current weapon tech *ggg*).
According to Popsci, the video comes from a test firing of the Navy’s Elecromagnetic Railgun (EMRG), which was carried out at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia. To quote:
„The gun—which generates a powerful electromagnetic field to hurl projectiles at extremely high speeds—is rated at 32 megajoules (…)“
The flames you see in the video are not from any kind of explosive (there is none – just electromagnetic currents) but from „pieces of the projectile disintegrating; the 7-pound slug is jammed so firmly between the rails that when it’s fired, pieces shear off and ignite in the air. There’s been some speculation online that the flames come from some sort of gas that’s been used to increase conductivity. Wrong: The EMRG uses no secondary propellant — just electricity. As a result, the breech can remain open during firing and the gun produces no blowback whatsoever.“
„The Navy’s eventual goal is a ship-mounted railgun that can fire a projectile more than 200 miles at speeds of more than 8,000 feet per second. Context: The Navy’s current MK 45 five-inch gun has a range of just 20 miles. The Navy hopes to have a prototype ready sometime between 2016 and 2018.“
Hello, 2020, here we come!