Itâ€™s not just cars that are getting electrified â€“ guns may be going high-tech as well. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has ordered a battery system from K2 Energy Solutions to be used in an electromagnetic rail gun, part of an $81,400,000 contract.
Rail gun technology uses electromagnetic energy instead of chemical propellants. A current flows from one of two parallel rails, through the projectile, and into the second rail. This generates three magnetic fields: a parallel field around each rail, and a perpendicular one around the projectile. Squeezed forward by the magnetic fields, the projectile accelerates rapidly along the rails and is launched from the muzzle of the gun.
The gun currently under development is expected to be able to fire a 23 lb projectile more than 110 nautical miles, striking its target at Mach 5 (3,839 mph). The US Navyâ€™s current MK 45 five-inch gun has a range of about 20 miles.
The ONR hopes to demonstrate a prototype by 2016-2018.