Navy set to deploy rail guns, laser prototypes

The U.S. Navy’s Science and Technology community is deploying prototypes…

The U.S. Navy’s Science and Technology community is deploying prototypes of electromagnetic rail guns, solid-state laser weapons and underwater unmanned vehicles in operational units with sailors and Marines, senior service leaders said April.

“These prototypes are shifting the game in our favor. We can no longer spend huge dollars on systems — they must be very reliable, very affordable and very effective. It is about developing disruptive technologies that can be hugely effective and hugely affordable,” Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, Chief of Naval Research, Office of Naval Research (ONR), said at the National Defense Industrial Association’s 14th Annual Science & Engineering Technology Conference/Defense Tech Exposition, National Harbor, Md.

A ship-mounted electromagnetic rail gun is one such prototype being tested on Navy vessels, Klunder said.

The rail gun, which can hit ranges of 100 miles or more, uses electricity stored on the ship to generate a high-speed electromagnetic pulse sufficient to propel a kinetic energy warhead. The result, is an inexpensive, high-impact and long-range offensive weapon, Klunder said.


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