Remember the railgun that took down Devastator from afar in Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen? That was certainly a scene to remember, and I also think of the railgun in Quake 2 that would be able to pick more than one opponent simultaneously if they so happened to be in the way. The U.S. Navy is not too far behind such a fantasy weapon, as they have outlined plans to install and test a prototype electromagnetic railgun aboard a joint high speed vessel some time in 2016.
This particular test would be the first time an electromagnetic railgun (EM railgun) would be demonstrated at sea, which would mark yet another significant milestone in the world of naval combat, and I suppose that this would mark a change as huge as moving from boarding another ship to using cannons against one another.
EM railgun technology would rely on an electromagnetic force known as the Lorenz Force in order to rapidly accelerate and launch a projectile between two conductive rails. This particular guided projectile can launch at extremely high velocities, so much so it can hit a target far, far away that conventional guns simply cannot reach, all the while without losing much kinetic energy to damage the target and doing away with the need for a high explosive payload.
Among the high-energy EM railgun’s targets? Being a lethal and effective weapon against multiple threats, including enemy warships, small boats, aircraft, missiles and land-based targets. Looks like years of research is finally about to bear fruit. [Press Release]