The Navy’s futuristic electromagnetic railgun may be dead in the water, but other countries appear to be plowing ahead with their own research. New photos circulating purportedly show a Chinese navy landing ship with the distinct housing of an electromagnetic railgun mounted on its bow.
The Department of Defense is preparing to test-fire a next-generation hypervelocity projectile (HVP) — a supersonic shell that can hit targets up to 100 nautical miles away at speeds approaching Mach 6 — in the next year, defense officials announced on Jan. 25, a development that could significantly augment that Pentagon’s existing missile defense systems.
The Navy’s much-hyped electromagnetic railgun has come a long way. Ever since the futuristic cannon enjoyed a public debut at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division in Virginia in November 2016, the Office of Naval Research has been working diligently alongside defense contractors to bring the decade-long program closer to battlefield effectiveness. Based on new video published by the Department of Defense, the railgun has successfully moved from single-shot to repeated firing rate operations — a major stepping stone on the path to the battlefield.