SAN DIEGO (CNN) - A $250 million Navy project could change the way the U.S. fights wars.
The new "railgun" is said to be smaller, cheaper and more destructive.
Imagine a freight train, traveling 100 miles an hour into a building. The projectile can do the same damage according to officials.
“It can shoot down ballistic missiles, it can shoot down very advanced cruise missiles, and it can shoot down fast moving aircraft,” said Mathew L. Klunder, Chief of Naval research. “It's extremely safe and it’s extremely effective.”
The projectile travels at more than 5,000 miles an hour. To put it in perspective, that's like going from San Diego to San Francisco in one minute.
“At the end of the day they can throw anything in the sky at us and we can knock it out,” Klunder said.
It's all a part of a new electromagnetic railgun. The navy showed off Tuesday at naval base San Diego. The long-range weapon fires projectiles using electricity generated by the ship instead of gunpowder.
The electromagnetic force then accelerates the missile to Mach 7.5 and it can go an estimated 50 to 100 nautical miles. It isn't expected to replace traditional missiles but its cost is about a fraction of the money, at just $25,000.
“We want the American public to know now that we have a gun system that is so effective and so affordable that now our advisories will know that before they even try to do something to our nation that they will never win,” Klunder said.
The railgun is scheduled to go aboard a new joint high speed cargo ship for further testing in 2016 before it becomes operational in 2018.
Copyright 2014 KSWB, OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH via CNN. All rights reserved.
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