One of the most intimidating weapons that will soon be in the U.S. Navy’s arsenal. Electromagnetic Railgun

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This is one of those cases of the military getting ahead of itself. Rail gun tech has been around for a while now, certainly practical working systems have existed for 20 years or more. (I built a coilgun in highschool as a science project, don’t tell me the government couldn’t have done far better)

The power to run a rail/coil gun… well that’s a different story. While the tech behind many portions of this system are very much more advanced then they used to be, power storage is still pretty much stuck in the last decade or two.

Rail guns require a very fast cycling power system, capable of storing a vast amount of power, and then releasing it very quickly. This is problematic if you’ve ever worked with electronics. More power in shorter time spans = more heat. And that’s just the start of the major problems. What do you store a few gigajoules of energy in? A battery? Fat chance. How about supercaps? Well yes, actually. But you still need a terrible lot of them. And they are subject to various failures, not to mention battle damage. They are also lethal if you happen to touch the bits you aren’t supposed to touch. AND, every known storage technique has a cycle life. Some of them are longer than others, but many of them are very short when compared to say… a 16 inch gun.

Rail gun tech is AWESOME and I’m huge fan. But it’s not really ready yet. Not because of the rail gun itself, but because powering the rail gun is difficult and expensive. (much like power armor is ready to go, if you can find a power source for it) Edit: not to say it’s going to become ready without someone making the first steps, like the navy is currently doing.

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