Monday, May 30, 2016

Save the Gunpowder: Use the Electric Gun

     Well, it was bound to happen.  After all, gun powder has been around too long.  Now the U.S. Navy research department has unveiled(maybe revealed is the better word today) a modern take on an old concept.  The physicists came up with a design that allows the munition to be expelled from the gun barrel at a high rate of speed using an impulse generated by-----electricity?  Yes.  Electricity.
Game changer.  New tactics must be developed.  New defenses must be thought of.  Old missiles must be shelved.  Old boats must be scrapped.  And coastal installations must now be relocated maybe 50-100 miles back of the coast.  Oh, the labors!  The costs.  Wait, wait, don't tell me.  It's not ready yet.  More research necessary.  Costs still astronomical.  Who can afford to make it work.  Hmmm.  How does it work, really?
      The two rails of the gun develop an electromagnetic field which then forces the bullet out the length of the 32' barrel.  Seems simple enough.  But the power required is equivalent to that required to power 18, 750 homes-that is, 25 megawatts.  A power plant that can do that is not a small power plant, by conventional standards.  So the range is close to 135 miles for the regular munition.  This munition has already been tested on conventional 6" and 155mm  Navy and Army artillery rifles, extending their ranges.  The weapon will take another 10 years before it could bedeployed against an array of missiles; but it could be placed on today's Zumwalt Class destroyers, using the 6" on board rifles.
     The Pentagon has spent about one half billion dollars on development, and wants to spend anothe $800 billion to get it ready for various uses.  Hmmm.  Not cheap to design/develop a new gun.   I guess that's why China and and Russya have hackers working night and day to penetrate the computers of the Pentagon and developers to get more electric gun information so they can make their own versions.  Of course.

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