Navy's Mach 7 gun can kill from 100 miles away

The U.S. Navy is testing out a railgun that hits targets with mortal accuracy from some 100 miles away. It doesn't rely on an explosive charge but rather on electromagnetics.

The world can never have enough guns--at least not if they embody exciting new ways to destroy people and things that look wonderful in movies. So here is a weapon that seems to be the sheer personification of gun fun.

It is being tested by the U.S. Navy, and it seems to have some pulsating technical features. It doesn't rely on an explosive charge to propel a bullet toward a bad guy. Instead, Fox News informs me, it expels bullets along parallel rails. The bullets, thanks to the cheery push of an electromagnetic current, spring out at speeds of up to Mach 7.

Rear Admiral Nevin P. Carr, Jr., the chief of Naval Research, who may possess a talent for understatement, told Fox News: "It's an overused term, but it really changes several games."

These would be war games, presumably. For the current distance a railgun might speed its bullets accurately would be around 13 miles. This electromagnetic supermodel seems to offer accuracy of up to 100 miles and counting.

I know that some will be cheered by the prospect that, one day, they could be sitting on a beach far north of San Francisco and be able to shoot down someone or something in Silicon Valley. So they will feel a frisson on learning that today, the Navy successfully managed to effect a 33-megajoule firing, which would seem to be a megajewel in the Navy's crown.

Those concerned about defense spending should be delighted that this railgun ought to be far cheaper than a conventional weapon. It also means that a ship wouldn't itself have to carry explosives, which potentially means that it would no longer be considered a potential keg of powder.

The Navy is still working on the electric upgrade needed to make this new gun standard-issue. With every passing day, life begins ever more to resemble a video game. At least gamers are prepared for the future.

 

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