Navy Wants to Shoot Smaller Rounds from Rail Guns


Some interesting technology news came out of the Surface Navy Association symposium this week near Washington, D.C.

The sea service is exploring ways to shoot smaller rounds using electromagnetic rail gun technology. A rail gun is long-range weapon that fires a projectile using electricity instead of chemical propellants.

As my colleague Hope Hodge Seck reported:

An aggressive effort to make the U.S. Navy more lethal and efficient will include experiments with new uses for missiles and application of new rail gun technology to smaller weapons systems, the service's director of surface warfare said Tuesday.


Among projects in the works for the Navy is the development of new gun rounds, including the possibility of a smaller version of the electromagnetic projectile launching technology used by the rail gun weapon now in development. The rail gun, which can hurl a projectile at well over 5,000 miles per hour, is being evaluated for possible mounting on a Zumwalt-class destroyer by the mid-2020s.

"When we take that projectile with the rail gun, why not make it small enough to put in a five-inch round ... with a couple of hundred five-inch rounds that now can shoot something as far, almost as accurately as a rail gun?" [Read Adm. Peter] Fanta suggested.

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