This weapon could one day revolutionize warfare.
It's a new version of the railgun, and it packs an earth-shattering, hypersonic punch. In the past, railguns have been high-tech but massive beasts that looked like only the largest naval ships could handle one. With continued testing and experimentation, that's starting to change. As you can see from the screenshot above depicting the loading of a prototype rail gun built by defense contractor BAE, these amazing weapons are getting smaller, and inching closer to combat readiness. Gizmodo lays out just how incredible this new weapon is, stating that "it fires a 40-pound metal slug up to 5,600 miles per hour... slamming into its target with 32 times the force of a 1-ton car being thrust at 100 mph." Below you can see the oddly shaped projectile ripping through heavy barriers like butter.
Gizmodo contacted the Navy, and they agreed that the technology is becoming more compact and therefore more usable. "It finally looks like a gun," the Navy said. Rail guns are designed to destroy basically anything, anywhere, on the land, sea, or in the air. The Navy may one day destroy the biggest, most expensive ships with nothing but a hunk of metal traveling really, really fast. The military even hopes to use rail guns one day to shoot down incoming missiles.
It's a true marvel of science, as all of this is accomplished with nothing more than kinetic energy. The projectiles do not contain any explosives. In fact, the Navy has been using non-aerodynamic rounds on purpose in tests so that a round doesn't go off-range and smash through a neighboring town or interstate. One day, however, the Navy will be using conical projectiles for maximum penetration.
The Navy plans to continue testing rail guns over the next five years, eventually pushing the energy used to 32 megajoules- - over even more. It hasn't happened yet, but one day, the railgun may change the way wars are fought. Watch the incredible clip of the newest railgun model in action here, courtesy of BAE systems: