General Atomics Railgun Technology Helping to Revolutionize Defense Capabilities
San Diego, Calif., October 10, 2012 – General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group (GA-EMS) announces the delivery to the U.S. Navy and successful initial firing of a new railgun prototype. The Advanced Containment Launcher (ACL) delivered to the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, Va. is designed to deliver significantly higher muzzle energies than ever demonstrated in a tactically relevant configuration.
The full-scale electromagnetic (EM) Railgun is now undergoing a series of full energy tests and evaluation by the Navy.
Under a contract with the Office of Naval Research (ONR), GA-EMS has developed a first generation launcher prototype on the path towards a future long-range weapon system to fire projectiles using high power electromagnetic energy instead of chemical propellants at muzzle energies up to
32 megajoules (equivalent energy to approximately 35 tons traveling 100 mph). This system is capable of launching projectiles almost eight times farther (100+ nautical miles) and more than twice the speed of conventional guns (up to 5,600 mph).
The high velocity and great range of an EM railgun will provide dramatically increased multi-mission capabilities, including ship defense, anti-surface warfare, and naval surface fire support, all from a single weapon system mounted on U.S. Navy vessels.
The EM railgun is set to undergo the first phase of a two-phase program to develop a new weapon that will revolutionize the Navy. The second phase will be to develop thermal management systems for both the launcher and pulsed power systems to facilitate repetitive firing rates. To this end, GA-EMS has been contracted by the Navy to provide pulsed power for repetitive fire demonstrations and to further develop an effective thermally managed launcher.
“GA is pleased to be a member of the Navy Railgun team and provide our demonstrated ability of delivering innovative electromagnetic launcher and high power technologies to the Fleet,” states Scott Forney, GA-EMS Group Senior Vice President.
About General Atomics
General Atomics is a San Diego-based innovation firm with a 50-year history of successful solutions for defense, energy and environmental challenges, including the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS, and the Blitzer™ electromagnetic railgun. Affiliated manufacturing and commercial service companies include General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., which produces the Predator® family of unmanned aircraft systems. For more information, please visit www.ga.com.