This is the Electromagnetic Rail Gun. Testing of the railgun began back in 2008. Like all new technology, it takes time to take a theory to the reality of becoming a functionally performing weapon. The Navy plans to use it as both and anti-aircraft and to shoot down in-coming cruise missiles. This is the reason for its extensive testing. You don’t want a failure to happen when an enemy fires at your ship and the crew’s lives depend on stopping that on coming missile.
Beyond being developed for use as a weapon, the U.S. Navy has used this same technology to create the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS). EMALS is the new platform being used to launch aircraft off of America’s newest Ford-class Aircraft Carriers. That’s for another post.
Needless to say the tech is new but we are banking on this weapon to perform well into the future. The best example is, the railgun is being used on our ultra-futuristic Zumwalt-class Destroyers. The Zumwalt ships have “stealth-like” capabilities…and they cost $4 billion each (not including the cost of R&D). One huge attribute of using a non-guided projectile is simple; bad-guys can’t stop a “bullet” using computer technology. That is a big deal in terms security to guarding against attacks in a battlefield dominated by whoever has the most capable computers.
Anyways, I spliced together 5 videos released by the government to try and make a “best of” type video. Hope ya enjoy.