Unlike the ordinary cannons which use explosive power, the railgun relies on massive amount of electric power to launch a projectile with speed of nearly 8 times faster than sound. Tests in 2010 proved that this is the most powerful weapon in the world. Its effective range is approximately 100 miles, thus making it the gun with widest range. Normally the American combat ships reach targets at a distance no longer than 13 miles. The projectile doesn’t explode at impact with the target, but destroys everything that stands on its way. The research leader, rear admiral Nevin Carr, said that the cannon could target the ammunitions of an enemy ship and „let his explosives be your explosives”.
[Image Source: Wikimedia]
The project is positioned at Dahlgren, Virginia, at the Naval Surface Warfare Center. During the tests cannon shot a projectile at 5500ft distance through the woods, but with very low trajectory. According to calculations of the scientific team, with the proper trajectory this range would reach 100 miles. Small sonic boom was caused by the projectile before falling to the ground.
One of the biggest problems the project faced – except $211 mil dollars, is the development of a charging device that would allow the cannon continuous shooting at supersonic speed. At least 5 years are needed, but more likely to be 10, until the weapon is mounted on the battle ships. Scientists claim that until 2025 the technology would double the power of the cannon, making it able to accurately shoot projectiles at 200 miles distance.