General Atomics Team Awarded Contract for Naval Electromagnetic Rail Gun Launcher Project


Jun 30, 2006

San Diego, CA. 19 June 2006. The U.S. Office of Naval Research awarded a $9.6-million, 30 month contract to General Atomics (GA) and its team members for the Technology Development and Preliminary Design of an Electromagnetic Launcher for the Navy’s Innovative Naval Prototype Rail Gun program. GA team members include The Boeing Company, L-3 Communications Pulse Sciences, SPARTA Composites, and Jackson Engineering.

The purpose of this effort is to extend and mature the technology required for an electromagnetic (EM) rail gun launcher for Naval surface fire support for various Marine missions up to 200-300 miles inland. This system will launch guided projectiles at speeds up to Mach 7.0. It will provide significant reductions in life-cycle cost and improve ship survivability through the elimination of propellants and explosives. This is the second of three phases involving the development of a preliminary design for a half energy, 32-megajoule demonstration launcher and construction and test of prototype hardware. Program manager Tom Hurn states, “Our team has demonstrated the viability of a concept that will meet the Navy’s objectives and has the scientific knowledge and the industrial capacity to extend the state of the art in achieving the Navy’s performance goals.”

This program will be performed in GA's Electromagnetic Systems (EMS) Division, which currently has several projects aimed at increasing electrical functionality aboard Navy ships. These include the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), Advanced Arresting Gear, Superconducting DC Homopolar Motor, and the ONR Rail Gun program. GA is also actively working with the U. S. Army to apply this technology to army missions as well.

GA’s EMS Division Vice President, Mike Reed, summed up General Atomics’ pleasure in supporting the Navy on this program by stating, “GA is thrilled to support the Navy’s Rail Gun Program and is committed to providing the best resources and technology solutions to meet the Navy’s mission. Our Team includes industry leaders with a heritage of high performance in all areas of this program.”

General Atomics, founded in 1955, specializes in diversified research, development, and manufacturing in defense, energy, and other advanced technologies. Affiliated manufacturing and commercial service companies include General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., which produces the Predator® family of UAVs.

For further information contact:

Tom Hurn
EM Launcher Program Manager
(858) 455-4133

Carl Fisher
Director, Business Development
Electromagnetic Systems Division
(202) 496-8217

Doug Fouquet
Public Relations
(858) 455-2173

For illustrations, contact:

Nancy Hitchcox
Marketing Communications Manager
(858) 455-3951


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