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How the Navy's super railgun works (animation)

The Taiwanese animators at NMA News have put together a primer on how the electromagnetic railgun works. Whether they've got it right is anyone's guess.

This is the record-breaking test of the Navy railgun project. In this 2010 demonstration, the Office of Naval Research reached muzzle energy of 33 megajoules.
Office of Naval Research

If you want to know how the U.S. Navy's futuristic electromagnetic railgun works, you could hop on over to the information page on the Office of Naval Research's Web site. Or you could watch a monotone Taiwanese animation.

If you're not familiar with the railgun, it's a favorite Navy project that is intended to be able to launch a 5-inch projectile more than 100 miles without the use of traditional explosives. Using a complex system that forces the projectile out of a ship-bound gun at more than 4,500 miles, the Navy hopes to be able to protect its fleet from attacks by sea, or to offer protection to Marines storming shores many miles away.

This is complex stuff that the Navy and its contractors likely won't be able to fully figure out and fun until 2025 or later. But why wait that long to understand how it works when you could get an education from the folks at NMA News, the same Taiwanese animators that have also tackled Steve Jobs' biography, several Osama bin Laden stories, and just about every other hot news topic?