After spending more than $ 500 million to develop the railgun, the US Department of Defense is scrapping this once ambitious project and focusing its efforts on new, more “affordable” military technologies.
And how beautiful it all began. In 2005, the Pentagon entered into an agreement with General Electric and BAE Systems to develop a railgun for the next generation of US Navy ships. The idea of a new superweapon was that a gun is fired not by means of a traditional powder charge, but by means of powerful electromagnetic fields. It was assumed that the electromagnetic cannon would fire HVP (Hyper Velocity Projectile) projectiles flying at a speed of 7725 km / h, hitting targets at a distance of over 160 km.
And now, 12 years later, the Pentagon quietly closes an expensive project. The railgun shoots, however, instead of the planned 10, it manages to fire only 4, 8 rounds per minute. According to the Strategic Capabilities Office, a division of the Pentagon responsible for overseeing the introduction of new technologies, the railgun may become obsolete by 2019.
The HVP shells have been adapted for firing five-inch naval guns. During the tests, it turned out that the firing range is only a third of the planned, that is, about 50 km, although this is more than that of conventional guns.
Unfortunately, the forecasts of experts that by 2020 the sea spaces will be plowed by warships equipped with railguns will not come true. However, the curtailment of the project does not mean at all a rejection of the idea of an electromagnetic shot. According to scientists, in theory, the advantages of the new weapon outweigh its disadvantages. Thus, the replacement of chemical weapons with electromagnetic ones is only postponed for some time.