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  • Naval railguns?

    I've heard the us navy is developing electromagnetic railguns for use on warships in the near future? What are your thoughts on this kind of weapon?

  • #2
    This would be similar to the armoured trains of the Russia Civil War in terms of mechanics. Now the electromagnetic aspect of this is different. As opposed to pure mechanical power which the armoured train guns used. These guns rely on electromagnetism. You would need two years of calculus, two years of physics and probably one year of thermodynamics, before starting to understand this. No intent to demean or depreciate you. This is a very complex operation.
    When looking for the reason why things go wrong, never rule out stupidity, Murphy's Law Nº 8
    Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. George Santayana
    "Ach du schwein" a German parrot captured at Bukoba GEA the only prisoner taken

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Nickuru View Post
      This would be similar to the armoured trains of the Russia Civil War in terms of mechanics. Now the electromagnetic aspect of this is different. As opposed to pure mechanical power which the armoured train guns used. These guns rely on electromagnetism. You would need two years of calculus, two years of physics and probably one year of thermodynamics, before starting to understand this. No intent to demean or depreciate you. This is a very complex operation.
      You need all of that edumacation to understand it and yet you don't know that today's railguns have absolutely nothing in common with railroad artillery?

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      • #4
        Jeez guys

        http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...hlight=railgun

        That's what the search function is for.
        Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

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        • #5
          This gun might mean the return of the battleship. However, I would prefer a guided missile. As long range artillery goes it would be better than Big Bertha of the 1st World War. But the electromagnetic induction need for this gun would place an enormous strain on the ships power supplies.

          One could use a plutonium powered ship similar to the batteries which power Mars lander Curiosity.

          However, in battle if damaged this could short out the ship's electrical system; because of the inductive kick effect. Placing the weapon in a turret, WWI battleship style would cause complications electromagnetically. Problem is if something goes wrong the shell would at best jam the muzzle; at worst the gun blows up.
          When looking for the reason why things go wrong, never rule out stupidity, Murphy's Law Nº 8
          Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. George Santayana
          "Ach du schwein" a German parrot captured at Bukoba GEA the only prisoner taken

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          • #6
            I was thinking the same thing, that it may bring back the battleship. These guns firing guided munitions could make rocket-propelled missiles obsolete.
            The power drain would be huge for sure, but probably some kind of nuclear plant coupled with advanced lithium batteries might solve this, but i don't know much about it.
            Didn't know about the 'induction kick' though. I'll have to look into what that is.
            In any case i don't know if this would bring back anything like the traditional battleship, as i can't imagine any kind of armor that would be able to withstand the fire of the railguns. Deflector shields, maybe?

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            • #7
              Biggest problem is that currently there is no known way to put a guided round through a railgun and it survive. Ditto with an explosive round. The only thing that fires from these guns is a solid slug.

              Railguns certainly have potential, especially as long-range artillery support. With their incredible muzzle velocities they even have some potential in naval combat to allow a gun to once again be a factor alongside missiles and torpedoes. At the moment the only thing that can really use a railgun is a fixed emplacement, but the next step would be putting one on a warship.

              I'd think that rather than batteries or some other complex arrangement, you'd be better off with capacitors running off of a nuclear reactor. Something the size of an VA Class submarine's reactor would suffice, as it could recharge capacitors during downtime, and individual firings of the gun would drain capacitors in sequence rather than pulling directly off the ship's power grid.
              Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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              • #8
                Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
                Bi
                I'd think that rather than batteries or some other complex arrangement, you'd be better off with capacitors running off of a nuclear reactor. Something the size of an VA Class submarine's reactor would suffice, as it could recharge capacitors during downtime, and individual firings of the gun would drain capacitors in sequence rather than pulling directly off the ship's power grid.
                Batteries can not discharge fast enough to pulse the gun with the high currents required. Banks of capacitors in parallel circuits are used to maximize the current by discharging them all simultaneously into the circuit.
                Battles are dangerous affairs... Wang Hsi

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                • #9
                  The concept of the rail gun slug is that the kinetic energy of the slug behaves as an explosive charge when it impacts on a solid object. Those slugs are far cheaper to produce and can be stored in greater numbers then explosive shells.

                  Nuclear power generators combined with a high capacity capacitor banks can easily provide the power needed for rail gun operation and propulsion. But, even a diesel electric powered modern cruise ship could still have that power available for charging capacitors to fire a rail gun. Even the old Lexington class carriers of WW2 had that capability as their main propulsion was electric motors supplied by steam powered generators.
                  “Breaking News,”

                  “Something irrelevant in your life just happened and now we are going to blow it all out of proportion for days to keep you distracted from what's really going on.”

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Pirate-Drakk View Post
                    Batteries can not discharge fast enough to pulse the gun with the high currents required. Banks of capacitors in parallel circuits are used to maximize the current by discharging them all simultaneously into the circuit.
                    Ah but you could use this to power them for cheap.

                    An explosively pumped flux compression generator (EPFCG) is a device used to generate a high-power electromagnetic pulse by compressing magnetic flux using high explosive. An EPFCG can be used only once as a pulsed power supply since the device is physically destroyed during operation. An EPFCG package that could be easily carried by a person can produce pulses in the millions of amperes and tens of terawatts, exceeding the power of a lightning strike by orders of magnitude.[citation needed] They require a starting current pulse to operate, usually supplied by capacitors.
                    Explosively pumped flux compression generators are popular as power sources for electronic warfare devices known as transient electromagnetic devices that generate an electromagnetic pulse without the costs and side effects of a nuclear weapon. They also can be used to accelerate objects to extreme velocities, and compress objects to very high pressures and densities; this gives them a role as a physics research tool.


                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Explosi...sion_generator
                    Credo quia absurdum.


                    Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd! - Richard Feynman

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                    • #11
                      But if you used that device you'd definitely have to shield all the electronic systems on the ship/emplacement from the associated electromagnetic pulse, as well as all other friendly units in the pulse's area of effect. On the other hand, it would mean that in addition to the railgun fire the target would have to deal with the EMP.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                        You need all of that edumacation to understand it and yet you don't know that today's railguns have absolutely nothing in common with railroad artillery?
                        Railroad Artillery? I hate to admit it but you can't enter the topic of Railroad Artillery without tipping your hat at least once to the 'Jerries' in WW2 now can you! lcm1
                        'By Horse by Tram'.


                        I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
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                        • #13
                          I've been of the opinion of using it as a method to launch space probes...
                          Credo quia absurdum.


                          Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd! - Richard Feynman

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                          • #14
                            The inductive kick from a gun like this could require a complete redesign of the ship's electrical and electronic systems. Also how does one adjust for salininty between fresh water like Lake Michigan, and the high saline conditions of the South China Seas for example? A warship is a plate of a capacitor, between itself and the earth (electrical ground) and the dielectric is the water on which it floats.
                            Last edited by Nickuru; 24 Nov 12, 05:45. Reason: syntax
                            When looking for the reason why things go wrong, never rule out stupidity, Murphy's Law Nº 8
                            Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. George Santayana
                            "Ach du schwein" a German parrot captured at Bukoba GEA the only prisoner taken

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Nickuru View Post
                              These guns rely on electromagnetism. You would need two years of calculus, two years of physics and probably one year of thermodynamics, before starting to understand this. No intent to demean or depreciate you. This is a very complex operation.
                              Railguns are an excellent application of 19th century physics.

                              Most of theory is encompassed by Faraday's Law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday...w_of_induction

                              This is a nice cartoon except there is a sign error in the magnetic field on the projectile.
                              http://science.howstuffworks.com/rail-gun1.htm

                              In simple terms, magnetic flux lines always apply a force that reduces the flux density. Just behind the projectile is a point of maximum magnetic flux density. The magnetic forces exerted on the projectile and the two conductors are immense. Furthermore, with pulse power systems vaporizing things with concentrated electric current becomes a real problem. That is why the engineering practices to build a railgun are much more difficult than the physics concepts.
                              Battles are dangerous affairs... Wang Hsi

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