My brother pointed me to this article reporting that the Navy's railgun test facility has conducted a successful initial firing.

A significant milestone in the advancement of naval gun technology happened with the successful test and standup of an electromagnetic (EM) railgun facility at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division Laboratory, Oct 2.

Working for the Office of Naval Research (ONR), engineers at the laboratory fired a low energy shot, the first in a series of tests required to bring the facility online. Using a 90 mm bore launcher with a copper rail and a power plant capable of delivering 8 mega joules (MJ) of muzzle energy, a 2.4 kg projectile was fired at 830 meters per second, yielding an energy of 0.8 MJ.

“We are one step closer to the future of naval weaponry with the standup of this, the largest operational EM [Electro-Magnetic] facility in the Navy,” said Elizabeth D’Andrea, Ph.D., program manager for the Electromagnetic Railgun at ONR. “The recent advances in science and technology are what has made this technology feasible, as well as collaboration of scientists and engineers across government agencies, industry and the branches of service.”

“With the potential to deliver lethal, hypersonic projectiles at ranges in excess of 200 nautical miles within six minutes, a naval railgun offers a transformational solution for volume fires and time-critical strike,” said NSWC Dahlgren Commander, Capt. Joseph McGettigan.

A railgun with a lateral range of 200 nautical miles might possibly be able to hit a target in low earth orbit (124 miles altitude and up).



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