A video has appeared showing a weapons manufacturer testing a futuristic railgun capable of firing projectiles six times faster than the speed of sound.
Battleships of the future could carry electromagnetic railguns capable of hitting other boats up to a hundred miles away.
In a video released by a US weapons manufacturer, the Blitzer railgun is shown firing projectiles at speeds of up to Mach 6 – six times the speed of sound.
The video comes from the latest tests carried out last week by San Diego-based General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS).
Electromagnetic railguns have been in development for years and use huge amounts of kinetic energy to fire projectiles without the need for explosives.
Powerful electromagnets create a magnetic field in the chamber that pushes out the ‘bullet’ at speeds of up 4,500mph – about three times faster than a typical bullet which travels roughly 1,700mph.
The railgun could be used to attack targets on sea or land because of their extensive range. They would also free up battleships from having to carry traditional explosive materials.
Nick Bucci, vice president of missile defense and space systems, told the Mail Online that last week’s test “completes the risk reduction and technology maturation of the individual components of our electromagnetic railgun launched hypersonic projectiles.
“We continue to fire and test our projectiles in an open range setting, allowing us to collect and analyse a significant amount of performance data under real-world conditions.”
GA-EMS isn’t the only company experimenting with the technology – BAE Systems in the UK is also developing electromagnetic railguns.