Railgun Technology a Reality

The railgun has long been a component of Science Fiction Mythology, but in reality there have actually been great strides in achieving this jump in technical capabilities. This article has been precipitated by the announcement that a Stealth Destroyer, a USA naval ship, is planned to have a railgun installed on their ship.

So what are the capabilities of the real world railgun?

A railgun is essentially an electromagnet launcher. In practice it is very similar to a gun, but the process is very different. By using electromagnetism, it is able to project a projectile at very fast speeds without the use of combustion. In principle, the railgun should be very capable of shooting up to 220 miles in distance, with pinpoint accuracy. It is a total game changer in combat.

At this current time, while the railgun does have some real world application potential, it is still quite limited. It uses quite a lot of energy, so it isn’t very feasible to have smaller scale railguns which are hyper mobile. They also take a considerable amount of time to charge, which is yet another drawback. The reasoning behind the decision of the US navy is undoubtedly that they feel that the accuracy of this technology still outweighs the drawbacks, and there is good reasoning for this.

The railgun could be used with pinpoint accuracy, that, thanks to the overwhelming velocity of the projectile, is capable of dealing crippling damage to specific systems. In the use of underwater combat, you can see how a railgun could be used to disable an enemy submarine without risking contamination via fissile material.

On land, you can see how pinpoint accuracy can be useful for the purposes of dealing with terrorist groups without risking surrounding civilian life.

The potential for this technology is great, and as it is still in the early stages of development and use, you can expect the potential to continue to grow and its applications to continue to expand.