Key point: The U.S. Navy could be deadlier than ever before.
What happens now?
The Navy's electromagnetic railgun is undergoing what officials described as "essentially a shakedown" of critical systems before finally installing a tactical demonstrator aboard a surface warship, the latest sign that the once-beleaguered supergun may actually end up seeing combat.
That pretty much means this is could be the last set of tests before actually slapping this bad boy onto a warship, for once.
Personnel at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division's (NSWC PHD) White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) Detachment began testing of the railgun's power system and universal mount, two essential components that in recent years have stymied efforts to produce a ship-board tactical demonstrator for the the $500 million supergun.
"The installation of the railgun began earlier this year and required a large effort for the mount, gun, power controls, displays and functional ties into the range," site manager John Winstead said in a statement. "The object of the test was essentially a shakedown of the newly-installed mount with accompanying power containers, controls and a fully functional execution team."
The only test publicly announced by the Navy took place on May 15, when WSMR engineers and technicians fired off four rounds "with full diagnostics and verification," according to the Navy statement: "The tests were very successful and alleviated the need to have further installation and check-out testing required for verification."