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The electro-magnetic gun program gets US$14.7 million

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July 6, 2006

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July 7, 2006 The United States Navy has awarded two contracts for the development of an electro-magnetic gun system capable of deployment on board naval surface combatant ships. The development work preliminary design for an Electro-Magnetic (EM) railgun prototype and the preliminary design of the U.S Navy's 32 megajoule (MJ) Laboratory Launcher. An electro-magnetic railgun uses electrical energy to accelerate projectiles to extreme velocities. Railguns do not require powders or explosives to fire the round and therefore free magazine space for other mission areas. In addition, electro-magnetic guns provide a highly consistent and uniform explosive charge that gives much greater accuracy. Thirty-two megajoule is equivalent to a firing speed of Mach 8 or eight times the speed of sound. This will be an intermediate step on the road to a 64-MJ Tactical System capable of deployment on-board naval surface combatant ships.

The development work includes a US$9.3 million contract from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to develop technologies and preliminary design for an Electro-Magnetic (EM) railgun prototype and a US$5.4M contract from Naval Special Warfare Center-Dahlgren for the design and fabrication of the U.S Navy's 32 megajoule (MJ) Laboratory Launcher.

BAE Systems was selected by ONR to advance to the next phase of the Innovative Naval Prototype Program. Under this 30-month phase, BAE Systems will take the state-of-the-art Electro-Magnetic Railgun technologies through technology maturation and develop a preliminary design of a 32-MJ EM Railgun. Thirty-two megajoule is equivalent to a firing speed of Mach 8 or eight times the speed of sound. This will be an intermediate step on the road to a 64-MJ Tactical System capable of deployment on-board naval surface combatant ships. The design and fabrication of the 32-MJ Laboratory Launcher will serve as a major step towards development of a full-scale tactical EM Gun weapon system for the U.S. Navy.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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