U.S. Navy unveils electromagnetic railgun

SAN DIEGO, CA (KSWB/CNN) — A 250-million dollar Navy project could change the way the US fights wars.

The new “railgun” is said to be smaller, cheaper — and more destructive.

Imagine a freight train, traveling a hundred miles an hour into a building. This 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,” Matthew L. Klunder, Chief of Naval Research said. “It’s extremely safe and its 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 this 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 it’s cost is about a fraction of the money, at just 25-thousand a pop.

“We want the American public to know now that we have a gun system that is so effective and so affordable that now our adversaries 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 this new Joint High Speed Vessel for further testing in 2016 before it becomes operational in 2018.

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