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The Navy's top officer just admitted the much-hyped electromagnetic railgun is a big mess
Less than a year after declaring the U.S. Navy "fully invested" in the service's much-hyped electromagnetic railgun, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson is apparently experiencing some buyer's remorse over the $500 million supergun's troubled development.
Appearing before an audience at the Atlantic Council on Thursday, Richardson characterized the decade-old weapons system — capable of accelerating a projectile to hypersonic speeds but stuck in research and development limbo without a ship-board tactical demonstrator — as "the case study that would say, 'This is how innovation maybe shouldn't happen.'"
"We've learned a lot [from the project] and the engineering of building something like that that can handle that much electromagnetic energy and not just explode is challenging," Richardson said, per Business Insider. "So, we're going to continue after this — we're going to install this thing, we're going to continue to develop it, test it."
"It's too great a weapon system, so it's going somewhere, hopefully," he added.
Translation: Whatever, man.
A prototype of the Navy's electromagnetic railgun(DoD photo)
That's quite an about face from the confidence Richardson exuded during a congressional hearing back in March 2018, months after Task & Purpose reported in December 2017 that the advanced system would likely never make it out of the R&D stage due to both the engineering challenges of actually mounting the thing on a Navy vessel and, more importantly, changing priorities within the Pentagon's Strategic Capabilities Office.
"[We are] fully invested in railgun; we continue to test it," Richardson assured lawmakers at the time, per Military.com. "We've demonstrated it at lower firing rates and ... shorter ranges. Now we have to do the engineering to, sort of, crank it up and get it at the designated firing rates, at the 80- to 100-mile range."
Task & Purpose had previously reported that SCO was shifting its focus towards the hypervelocity projectile (HVP), specialized shells originally developed as the primary ammunition for the railgun that are just as effective when fired from conventional artillery. Indeed, the Navy test fired the HVP from the USS Dewey's Mk 45 five-inch deck guns during the 2018 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) in August of that year.
Richardson affirmed that shift in priorities on Thursday. "The high-velocity projectile is also usable in just about every gun we have. It can be out in the fleet very, very quickly independent of the railgun," he said. "So, this effort is breeding all sorts of advances. We just need to get the clock sped up with respect to the railgun."
A year ago, Richardson attempted to assure lawmakers that, as Military.com put it, "death of the program was greatly exaggerated."
So I'm just going to leave this here:
Suck it, jerks
The command chief of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, was removed from his position last month after his chain of command received evidence he disrespected his subordinates.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
The "suck it up and drive on" mentality permeated our years in the U.S. military and often led us to delay getting both physical and mental health care. As veterans, we now understand that engaging in effective care enables us not just to survive but to thrive. Crucially, the path to mental wellness, like any serious journey, isn't accomplished in a day — and just because you need additional or recurring mental health care doesn't mean your initial treatment failed.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on the security alliance's allies to maintain and strengthen their "unity," saying the organization is "the only guarantor of European and transatlantic security."
Stoltenberg told reporters on November 19 that NATO "has only grown stronger over the last 70 years" despite "differences" among the allies on issues such as trade, climate, the Iran nuclear deal, and the situation in northeastern Syria.
He was speaking at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels on the eve of a NATO foreign ministers meeting aimed at finalizing preparations for next month's summit in London.
WASHINGTON — More than $35 million of the roughly $400 million in aid to Ukraine that President Donald Trump delayed, sparking the impeachment inquiry, has not been released to the country, according to a Pentagon spending document obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Instead, the defense funding for Ukraine remains in U.S. accounts, according to the document. It's not clear why the money hasn't been released, and members of Congress are demanding answers.
The admiral in charge of Navy special operators will decide whether to revoke the tridents for Eddie Gallagher and other SEALs involved in the Navy's failed attempt to prosecute Gallagher for murder, a defense official said Tuesday.
The New York Times' David Philipps first reported on Tuesday that the Navy could revoke the SEAL tridents for Gallagher as well as his former platoon commander Lt. Jacob Portier and two other SEALs: Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch and Lt. Thomas MacNeil.
The four SEALs will soon receive a letter that they have to appear before a board that will consider whether their tridents should be revoked, a defense official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.