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Navy Wants A Railgun


Off-Topic Discussions

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.

The EM Railgun launcher is a long-range naval weapon that fires
projectiles using electricity instead of traditional gun propellants such
as explosive chemicals.

First step so we can build one of > these <.

Read more at: phys.org/navy-railgun-prototype

.

Andoran

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So do I. For...uh...squirrels...


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So all they have to do is find a lot of peasants...

Good thing the bankers/politicians (delete as appropriate - either words or the people themselves) have worked on creating more peasants.

Qadira

I might have a few ideas on how to build one...and not one that needs a colossal race track around which a ball bearing is levitated in a magnetic field - rather one that would be easily scaled up from Suitcase sized weapon to a Warship.

The real problem is the massive friction imposed by a particle the instant it leaves a vacuum and enters the atmosphere in excess of the speed of sound. This weapon will give off a continuous sonic boom. Can you imagine what effect a sonic boom vibrating back through the rest of the ship's metal framework would do? It could liquefy the human crew.

The political problem is the reason the USA wants one - as much as they want a rail gun it isn't because it doesn't need propellant. its because you cant trace a ball bearing made in North Korea back to the US owned rail-gun that just fired it through your North Korean President on his balcony from a Ship outside their their territorial waters.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Why do you think that the projectile is accelerated under vacuum? The thing about a railgun is that there's sliding contact between the rails and the projectile (or the sabot around it) throughout acceleration, which makes for an interesting tribological problem (not to mention the tribochemical issue of corrosion of the rails by molten aluminum, if that's what the sabot is made out of).

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Railguns don't use magnets or vacuum.

The 16"/50 caliber Mark 7 main guns on an Iowa class battleship could throw nine 2700 pound shells at over Mach 2.5. They were designed in 1939.

The USN doesn't want to fire ball bearings, they want to fire fifty pound artillery shells.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Krensky wrote:

Railguns don't use magnets or vacuum.

The 16"/50 caliber Mark 7 main guns on an Iowa class battleship could throw nine 2700 pound shells at over Mach 2.5. They were designed in 1939.

The USN doesn't want to fire ball bearings, they want to fire fifty pound artillery shells.

They actually adapted some nuclear artillery shells to fit the Iowa class's guns. For when you absolutely, positively have to microwave the terrain forty kilometers away at a rate of eighteen nukes a minute.

Qadira

I'm going with 'paid for my genius'.

you just coughed up your ten cents:

a particle accelerator where a cloud of protons clustered tightly together as they are accelerated beyond the speed of sound with a cloud of electrons just ahead of them so the cloud of electrons acts to create a vacuum behind it as it travels hyper-sonic across the distance in which the mass of protons are travelling - so they impact and discharge all their energy into the target.

OK so maybe it isn't a rail gun..its more a particle cannon.


Cool, rail guns are fun! Now we'll be ready for when Devastator is formed :p And maybe we'll get them small enough that we can start designing battlemechs to carry them, I always fond of a mech with a pair of Gauss Rifles :)

Cheliax

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Lathiira wrote:
Cool, rail guns are fun! Now we'll be ready for when Devastator is formed :p And maybe we'll get them small enough that we can start designing battlemechs to carry them, I always fond of a mech with a pair of Gauss Rifles :)

I prefer rapid fire Volkswagen launchers (aka ultra AC/20s)


First to Krensky.

While the naval guns of most last century big warships were (Some still are) impressive. The shear velocity coming out of these new rail guns makes Mach 2.5 look slow. I think the test bed gets up to something like mach5? Maybe even 7? That's a whole different level of K-Blam right there.

Second to yellowdingo.

Indeed, you are using a particle accelerator. Things which have been in use and development for many decades. The problem you will find is that you 'packet' of particles will do a couple of things out of the barrel.
1) Be affected by the whorls and eddies of the Earth's magnetic field if fired within it. So your beam will look more like a random fire hose.
2) Your differently charged particles will go in different, effected directions and hence not stay 'together'.
3)On a hardened target you are more likely to get radiation scattering and warming than any vaporization and melting.

Much cheers to all.

(^_^)

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
, wrote:

First to Krensky.

While the naval guns of most last century big warships were (Some still are) impressive. The shear velocity coming out of these new rail guns makes Mach 2.5 look slow. I think the test bed gets up to something like mach5? Maybe even 7? That's a whole different level of K-Blam right there.

But no more likely to liquefy the crew of the shp it mounted on, which was the claim.

Qadira

, wrote:

First to Krensky.

While the naval guns of most last century big warships were (Some still are) impressive. The shear velocity coming out of these new rail guns makes Mach 2.5 look slow. I think the test bed gets up to something like mach5? Maybe even 7? That's a whole different level of K-Blam right there.

Second to yellowdingo.

Indeed, you are using a particle accelerator. Things which have been in use and development for many decades. The problem you will find is that you 'packet' of particles will do a couple of things out of the barrel.
1) Be affected by the whorls and eddies of the Earth's magnetic field if fired within it. So your beam will look more like a random fire hose.
2) Your differently charged particles will go in different, effected directions and hence not stay 'together'.
3)On a hardened target you are more likely to get radiation scattering and warming than any vaporization and melting.

Much cheers to all.

(^_^)

Option 2 was a sabot that sheds like a sting from a sea wasp - outer shards of the wire flower out like petals allowing the remainder to continue on. We all love biological weapon tech.


Lathiira wrote:
Cool, rail guns are fun! Now we'll be ready for when Devastator is formed :p And maybe we'll get them small enough that we can start designing battlemechs to carry them, I always fond of a mech with a pair of Gauss Rifles :)

One of which is - of course - called Devastator.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The title of this thread keeps making me think of the Reality TV show "Farmer Wants a Wife," which brings me a great idea for a TV show.

Navy Wants a Railgun.

A pool of 12 prototype weapons compete to win the affection of 1 of 4 navy vessels on a series of wargame maneuvers.

Who will be declared the perfect match?


Now I'm going to start with a disclaimer: Railguns are badass. I love them, at least as much as I love any weapon (I have these annoying qualms about killing things).

However... I'm going to go against the flow here and say that the US military is wasting their funding on this. Not because of any moral or practical objection (Throw enough money at it and it'll work eventually. Heck, throw enough money at it and it'll be practical eventually), but because modern warfare isn't determined by who has the biggest guns (which is already America), but on your ability to spot which of the 5000 vehicles passing through your checkpoint today is loaded with explosives, or which of the people strolling around the marketplace have guns hidden under their jackets. Modern warfare isn't about becoming more effective at killing people, but about making sure you know which people to kill before they start shooting at you. In my opinion the money would be better spent developing portable scanners that allow you to accurately spot soldiers masquerading as civilians than on making a gun that fires hunks of metal at near light speed.

Of course, I'll be eating my words come an alien invasion or world war 3.


I wouldn't worry about that.

String theory will save us.

Cheliax

Given the range they could be used to destroy hardened targets without friendly casualties, which would turn mean that it would save more soldiers that could be used on patrols and ensuring security around civilian areas.

Or they could just be lemons


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Rubber Ducky guy wrote:

The title of this thread keeps making me think of the Reality TV show "Farmer Wants a Wife," which brings me a great idea for a TV show.

Navy Wants a Railgun.

A pool of 12 prototype weapons compete to win the affection of 1 of 4 navy vessels on a series of wargame maneuvers.

Who will be declared the perfect match?

And now you made me think of said 12 weapons drawn as anime girls in odd armor.

Thank you for the Sanity damage. Navy Wants a Railgun shall be a comedy anime of some sort.


Lazoth wrote:

Given the range they could be used to destroy hardened targets without friendly casualties, which would turn mean that it would save more soldiers that could be used on patrols and ensuring security around civilian areas.

While this is true, I feel I must point out that conventional firepower is entirely capable of targeting and destroying most targets at staggering ranges already. The main strength of a rail gun over a missile is that a railgun's round is near enough free in comparison.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rubber Ducky guy wrote:

The title of this thread keeps making me think of the Reality TV show "Farmer Wants a Wife," which brings me a great idea for a TV show.

Navy Wants a Railgun.

A pool of 12 prototype weapons compete to win the affection of 1 of 4 navy vessels on a series of wargame maneuvers.

Who will be declared the perfect match?

Doesn't the Navy have enough shipping as it is?

Cheliax

2 people marked this as a favorite.

So saving millions if not billions on munitions is not in the interest of the military?

Also Icyshadow: it would make for a fun manga.


Lazoth wrote:

So saving millions if not billions on munitions is not in the interest of the military?

Saving money is certainly in the interests of the military. But... as noted before war is no longer about bringing masses of firepower to bear as much as knowing where to put it. Throwing money at another big gun isn't necessarily the best way to do that.


Lazoth wrote:

So saving millions if not billions on munitions is not in the interest of the military?

Also Icyshadow: it would make for a fun manga.

Not if you're spending those millions or billions to develop it in the first place.

And again, we're not really dealing with hardened targets. We're dealing with hidden targets. A railgun isn't going to be better at picking out which apartment building the terrorists are in than a missile. And probably worse at hitting it, since you don't have the same control of the trajectory.


Also, putting a battleship-level cannon on a destroyer or frigate is a pretty scary idea. We have a handful of battleships, we have hundreds of frigates and destroyers.


Carriers are the current powerhouses for the modern navy. The reason for that is the mobility and firepower of aircraft eclipses anything lesser vessels can bring to bear, rail guns or no. Submarines are capable of evading detection in many circumstances, can carry anything from cruise missiles to nukes, are capable of killing a rail-gun armed surface vessel with torpedoes before anyone knows it's there. The heaviest conventional cannons and missiles are capable of sinking any vessel that floats from beyond the horizon.

Rail guns are awesome, but unless you have no air for propellant they're not that superior to conventional weapons already available to the navy.


Lathiira wrote:
Cool, rail guns are fun! Now we'll be ready for when Devastator is formed :p And maybe we'll get them small enough that we can start designing battlemechs to carry them, I always fond of a mech with a pair of Gauss Rifles :)

I seem to recall reading somewhere that some Japanese lab was actually working on a first gen mech..only human sized but still the tech is being worked on.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Grey Lensman wrote:
We have a handful of battleships, we have hundreds of frigates and destroyers.

Sadly, there are no longer any active service battleships in the U.S. Navy. Frigates - somewhere around 30. Destroyers - 50+.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
FuelDrop wrote:

The heaviest conventional cannons and missiles are capable of sinking any vessel that floats from beyond the horizon.

Cheerfully, we have yet to see how any conventional missle or cannon would fair against a Nimitz class carrier. I suspect it might take more than one shot to actually sink one, and that's only if said shots can get through.

Osirion

Krensky wrote:

The 16"/50 caliber Mark 7 main guns on an Iowa class battleship could throw nine 2700 pound shells at over Mach 2.5. They were designed in 1939.

I was in the Navy and knew people from the USS Iowa when one of its guns exploded in 1989.


Aberzombie wrote:
FuelDrop wrote:

The heaviest conventional cannons and missiles are capable of sinking any vessel that floats from beyond the horizon.

Cheerfully, we have yet to see how any conventional missle or cannon would fair against a Nimitz class carrier. I suspect it might take more than one shot to actually sink one, and that's only if said shots can get through.

I don't know. The New Jersey sank an island in Vietnam. It might take more than one shot, but they've got more than one gun, so it might just be one volley.

And exactly what do you use to stop a 2700lb ballistic projectile?


It takes more than one hole to sink a ship these days. It's definitely possible though. Modern aircraft carriers primary defense is killing stuff before it gets close enough to attack. Once its in sight though, a carrier has no particular form of defense or offense. This is why they're surrounded by a battlegroup, including several patrolling subs. Plus of course the planes.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thejeff wrote:

And exactly what do you use to stop a 2700lb ballistic projectile?

Another ballistic projectile. Or several thousand of them.


Aberzombie wrote:
thejeff wrote:

And exactly what do you use to stop a 2700lb ballistic projectile?

Another ballistic projectile. Or several thousand of them.

Sure, if you can shoot the shell out of the sky with your main guns. Flak isn't going to do jack.

Qadira

Weapon option six would have to be a colossal Trebuchet sitting between a double hull - one capable of throwing a ten thousand ton object and transporting at least a hundred of them.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
Aberzombie wrote:
thejeff wrote:

And exactly what do you use to stop a 2700lb ballistic projectile?

Another ballistic projectile. Or several thousand of them.
Sure, if you can shoot the shell out of the sky with your main guns. Flak isn't going to do jack.

It depends on what you're shooting at the ship. A standard artillery shell could possibly be successfully targeted and destroyed by a missile. And an anti-ship missile can be successfully targeted by another missile, or the older Phalanx system.

I would say the anti-ship missile would be the biggest concern, since the chances of getting close enough to fire an artillery-type shell without the Navy knowing you're there and doing something about you first are slim to none.

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber


"It not like I'm shooting things because I like you or anything..."


Aberzombie wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Aberzombie wrote:
thejeff wrote:

And exactly what do you use to stop a 2700lb ballistic projectile?

Another ballistic projectile. Or several thousand of them.
Sure, if you can shoot the shell out of the sky with your main guns. Flak isn't going to do jack.

It depends on what you're shooting at the ship. A standard artillery shell could possibly be successfully targeted and destroyed by a missile. And an anti-ship missile can be successfully targeted by another missile, or the older Phalanx system.

I would say the anti-ship missile would be the biggest concern, since the chances of getting close enough to fire an artillery-type shell without the Navy knowing you're there and doing something about you first are slim to none.

Agreed. The efficient way to protect a carrier from artillery is to have your planes destroy the artillery long before the ship is in range. This is largely why we have carriers and no battleships.

Your only real chance with artillery would be hidden land based guns.


yellowdingo wrote:
Weapon option six would have to be a colossal Trebuchet sitting between a double hull - one capable of throwing a ten thousand ton object and transporting at least a hundred of them.

That is no longer a railgun, rather the next step up: Mass drivers. If you enjoy the thought of railguns, just imagine the sheer badassity of something able to send huge payloads into orbit.


Aberzombie wrote:
Sadly, there are no longer any active service battleships in the U.S. Navy. Frigates - somewhere around 30. Destroyers - 50+.

Last I knew, the battleships were in mothballs, but able to be recalled to active service fairly quickly if needed. Partly because most modern anti-ship missiles bounce off the things.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thejeff wrote:

Your only real chance with artillery would be hidden land based guns.

Guns of Navarone!!! Awesome movie! Do the bad guys even bother to build places that cool anymore?

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Grey Lensman wrote:
Aberzombie wrote:
Sadly, there are no longer any active service battleships in the U.S. Navy. Frigates - somewhere around 30. Destroyers - 50+.
Last I knew, the battleships were in mothballs, but able to be recalled to active service fairly quickly if needed. Partly because most modern anti-ship missiles bounce off the things.

Yeah, they've got alot of ships just sitting around at various sites. We've got a bunch in Philly.


They already have a railgun here is footage of it in action.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs_G43DVUew


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Aberzombie wrote:
Grey Lensman wrote:
Aberzombie wrote:
Sadly, there are no longer any active service battleships in the U.S. Navy. Frigates - somewhere around 30. Destroyers - 50+.
Last I knew, the battleships were in mothballs, but able to be recalled to active service fairly quickly if needed. Partly because most modern anti-ship missiles bounce off the things.
Yeah, they've got alot of ships just sitting around at various sites. We've got a bunch in Philly.

You've mentioned your concern about these ships in other threads, AZ. Do you feel they should be used for something constructive instead of just sitting around? I'm all for strapping large engines on them and using them to explore space...but that may be because I just finished watching the Yamato movie. :-D


Grey Lensman wrote:
Aberzombie wrote:
Sadly, there are no longer any active service battleships in the U.S. Navy. Frigates - somewhere around 30. Destroyers - 50+.
Last I knew, the battleships were in mothballs, but able to be recalled to active service fairly quickly if needed. Partly because most modern anti-ship missiles bounce off the things.

Right now it takes about 9 months to do interim maintenance on an aircraft carrier. That could be sped up with additional workers but it would be expensive. This is done probably every 6-7 years. A moth balled ship is not in very good shape, it would take at least that much to get one running, probably 12-18 months with the same number of workers as the average maintenance.

More useful would be our submarines, I think. We can already project ordinance pretty much anywhere with our current navy and air force. If another country has anti- ship weapons, subs are probably the most efficient method to keep them off the seas as well, letting our carriers sit further out launching planes.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here's some food for thought: [Url=en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_bombardment#section_1] project Thor[\url]

Short version: tungsten telephone poles, dropped from space.

For extra doom, attach a linear accelerator of your choice to increase re-entry velocity.


psionichamster wrote:

Here's some food for thought: [Url=en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_bombardment#section_1] project Thor[\url]

Short version: tungsten telephone poles, dropped from space.

For extra doom, attach a linear accelerator of your choice to increase re-entry velocity.

No longer will modern GMs drop mere rocks from orbit ...


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psionichamster wrote:

Here's some food for thought: [Url=en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_bombardment#section_1] project Thor[\url]

Short version: tungsten telephone poles, dropped from space.

For extra doom, attach a linear accelerator of your choice to increase re-entry velocity.

Yeah, we have those already in shadowrun. They're an Ares product.

I haven't been able to get my hands on the firing codes yet though...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Grey Lensman wrote:
Aberzombie wrote:
Sadly, there are no longer any active service battleships in the U.S. Navy. Frigates - somewhere around 30. Destroyers - 50+.
Last I knew, the battleships were in mothballs, but able to be recalled to active service fairly quickly if needed. Partly because most modern anti-ship missiles bounce off the things.

That's no longer true. The last battleships maintained in a state where they could be re-activated quickly were the Iowa and Wisconsin, which were removed from that status in 2006. You can visit the Iowa in San Pedro and the Wisconsin in Norfolk, but they're museums.


psionichamster wrote:

Here's some food for thought: project Thor

Short version: tungsten telephone poles, dropped from space.

For extra doom, attach a linear accelerator of your choice to increase re-entry velocity.

Interesting.

Edit - I fixed your link.

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