Update: They did it! Check the article and video here.
If you are near Dahlgren, Virginia tomorrow and you hear a big "WHOOOOOMP", no need for concern. The Navy is just firing its electromagnetic railgun at a power level untested before:
U.S. Navy Set to Break Electromagnetic Railgun RecordThe Office of Naval Research will test fire an electromagnetic railgun (EMRG) at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, Va. on Jan. 31, 2008, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. EST. The gun will be fired at over 10 megajoules of energy a power level never before achieved by an EMRG.This weapon is pretty cool - we've talked about it before on Defense Tech here and here (among other articles) and with a great article here at Military.com. Using a pulsed power system utilizing electromagnetic energy - the same energy that powers many rollercoasters these days and will power the launching systems of future carriers (at some point) - it will be a powerful system, with a projected range of 250 nautical miles and a speed at launch of mach 7.5 and an impact speed of mach 5 with no explosives or powder or propellant used in the system. The Navy continues to increase its capability to "reach out and touch" someone from its domain in the littorals. Imagine what this thing would do to a pirate boat off HOA?Ouch.--Pinch Paisley