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post #21 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-23-14, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Nacho libre View Post
Seems like a huge waste of money to me.
Not really. If you can defend a billions dollar carrier battle group from a missile while it's still a hundred miles out with a round worth 25 grand it'd all be worth it. Their use is somewhat limited by the curvature of the earth though, meaning it's only really going to be useful against incoming missiles or aircraft. Something that fast would have a fairly flat trajectory, so basically the horizon is your maximum range.

I vaguely remember reading something about Reagan's Star Wars plans, and how one of the rail guns uses was envisaged to be shooting down enemy satellites. Now that would be pretty awesome.
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post #22 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-23-14, 06:46 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Khorne's Fist View Post
reading something about Reagan's Star Wars plans, and how one of the rail guns uses was envisaged to be shooting down enemy satellites
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Hypervelocity Rail Gun (CHECMATE)[edit]Research out of hypervelocity railgun technology was done to build an information base about rail guns so that SDI planners would know how to apply the technology to the proposed defense system. The SDI rail gun investigation, called the Compact High Energy Capacitor Module Advanced Technology Experiment (CHECMATE), had been able to fire two projectiles per day during the initiative. This represented a significant improvement over previous efforts, which were only able to achieve about one shot per month. Hypervelocity rail guns are, at least conceptually, an attractive alternative to a space-based defense system because of their envisioned ability to quickly shoot at many targets. Also, since only the projectile leaves the gun, a railgun system can potentially fire many times before needing to be resupplied.

A hypervelocity railgun works very much like a particle accelerator insofar as it converts electrical potential energy into kinetic energy imparted to the projectile. A conductive pellet (the projectile) is attracted down the rails by electric current flowing through a rail. Through the magnetic forces that this system achieves, a force is exerted on the projectile moving it down the rail. Railguns can generate muzzle-velocities in excess of 2.4 kilometers per second.[57] At this velocity, even a rifle-bullet sized projectile will penetrate the front armor of a main battle tank, let alone a thinly protected missile guidance system.

Rail guns face a host of technical challenges before they will be ready for battlefield deployment. First, the rails guiding the projectile must carry very high power. Each firing of the railgun produces tremendous current flow (almost half a million amperes) through the rails, causing rapid erosion of the rail's surfaces (through ohmic heating, and even vaporization of the rail-surface.) Early prototypes were essentially single-use weapons, requiring complete replacement of the rails after each firing. Another challenge with the rail gun system is projectile survivability. The projectiles experience acceleration force in excess of 100,000 g. In order to be effective, the fired projectile must first survive the mechanical stress of firing, the thermal effects of a trip through the atmosphere at many times the speed of sound, and then the subsequent impact with the target. In-flight guidance, if implemented, would require the onboard guidance system to be built to the same standard of sturdiness as the main mass of the projectile.

In addition to being considered for destroying ballistic missile threats, rail guns were also being planned for service in space platform (sensor and battle station) defense. This potential role reflected defense planner expectations that the rail guns of the future would be capable of not only rapid fire, but also of multiple firings (on the order of tens to hundreds of shots).

You were saying. They DID, and ARE still testing this though I think the ideaology has shifted from one of Anti-Ballistic use to one of Long-Range Artillery/Missile Interceptor.
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Originally Posted by Wusword77 View Post
the real advantage to a Rail gun isn't that you could easily fire a nuke at hypersonic speeds from within a few miles of a coast line at a target.
Would probably detonate in the chamber from the excessive forces/heat put on the warhead at launch. also, and I'm not sure so ask an Engineer, i would think the electro-magnetic current used to accelerate the prjectile to the insane speed it travels migth detonate it as well......maybe?



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post #23 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-23-14, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by emporershand89 View Post
Would probably detonate in the chamber from the excessive forces/heat put on the warhead at launch. also, and I'm not sure so ask an Engineer, i would think the electro-magnetic current used to accelerate the prjectile to the insane speed it travels migth detonate it as well......maybe?
Nope. Even if it did explode, it wouldn't be fusion. In fact, you could probably insulate the sucker enough that it would be fine. Shouldn't really be that hard, to be honest. That being said, it wouldn't make much sense and we aren't currently allowed to put nukes in space, so its kinda pointless. That being said, no one told us we can't stick a giant tungsten rod in a big ass magnet and put those into space…..

EDIT: Considering the cost of getting that much tungsten into low orbit, seems a tad silly, really.

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post #24 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-24-14, 01:06 AM
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I've been in the navy for 15 years now so I'm going to throw my tuppence worth in here. I can't see rail guns being used on a platform anytime soon, the type 45 destroyer, a world class destroyer and up to the point of me typing this is the most advanced warship in the world has not been designed with this in mind for the future, the type 26 frigate which will be even more impressive when it's launched has not been designed with this in mind, solid shot munitions aren't really what the navy do anymore, granted we still have a big gun strapped to the front of our ships but this is mainly for naval gunfire support reasons, the primary weapon of every Royal Navy warship is now (and has been since the start of the Cold War) the helicopter on the back, they can pass on radar returns much greater than the range of the ships radar, hunt and kill submarines in a much greater range, target enemy surface returns and help with humanitarian tasking, if your close enough that you can hit another ship with your main gun nowadays then something has gone terribly wrong and chances are that your already sinking due to the other ship nailing you with missiles and it's helo from hundreds of miles away, something you cannot do with a gun or rail gun, yes you may have range but all you can do is point and shoot, you can't alter the projectiles course mid flight and if the enemy is that far away there is no way you will hit it. Having said all that, the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier HAS been built with rail gun technology in mind, the steam catapults of old are gone and it has scope to be fitted with an electragnetic catapult to launch aircraft, the very same tech as a rail gun. She was due to be launched with this fitted but when the Tories came into power they scrapped it but left the compartments everything it needed to be fitted at a later date (maybe they're expecting to come into some money? I don't know) then again they also scrapped VSTOL capabilities for our new aircraft and then had to go back and ask for it to be fitted after all or the planes wouldn't be able to take off or land, genius. Btw someone mentioned small aluminium ships? You find this more commonplace now as aluminium has a higher tolerance for sea water than steel, it tends to corrode less and though it offers little protection from missiles one of the lessons we found from the Falklands was that if you have a thin skinned warship missiles can pass through them rather than bursting through one layer of armour then detonating. Your not going to find yourself under small arms fire at sea, it's just not likely. I know you get pirate skiffs but they generally won't be fitted with anything greater than a 7.62 gpmg at absolute best and the helo has already turned that into a smoking mess before your anywhere near it
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post #25 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-25-14, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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With all due respect Maximus that is the Royal Navy, not the U.S Navy. Many of the new Destroyers/Cruisers/Heavy Cruiser, including the new "Zumwalt" class Destroyer are being built with such technology in mind. Additionally I cannot see the Navy allowing some Engineering issue to to stop them from refitting or designing some new type of ship. Railguns will probably replace the current kinetic weapons that most ships use.

Even with all the new tehcnology, Missile, Missil;e Defense Systems, and EMP weapontry I cannot see the use of Guns going out of style. Until we invent some new type of a weapon, with a new type of ammunition, we will always need "Point-and-Shoot," weapons.



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post #26 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-25-14, 09:24 AM
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Granted it's not the USN but these ships are designed to be future proof for the foreseeable future they're not going to spend over 100Bn per ship on something that could be obsolete in 5 years, truth be told solid shot projectiles are needed but not to fire at targets 100's of miles away unless the idea is that it's got a sizeable payload that will do large area damage as you simply won't hit you intended target at that range, there are far too many variables, just because it's new and exciting doesn't mean they will get used, for example in the late 70's GB developed a sound weapon that used vibration to simply destroy targets at the molecular level, it worked perfectly, how many units have since been equipped with said weaponry? None, it's target area was too widespread and the power required was deemed too excessive. I'd love to see rail guns, laser cannons, flying aircraft carriers and men in power armour fighting aliens but I'm afraid it's not going to happen, at least not in my lifetime.
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post #27 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-25-14, 09:38 AM
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Then again, the US has a huge military budget so hopefully I'll be proved wrong
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post #28 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-25-14, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by dragonkingofthestars View Post
it's solid fairy dust,
you know,
ground up fairys, they have to use special mill stones plus the ear muffs for the workers takes a lot of money.
$25K is cheap. Hellfire missiles on Apaches are considered cheap, and it would have taken me 3 years salary before tax to just about afford a single one. Lets not even get on the cost of anti-ship missiles or JSOW's which can reach in excess of $750K.

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it's a neat toy (if you can call a rail gun a 'toy') but I don't see a practical advantage over the USS Iowa, which has much more total fire power, then this does given rate of fire, actual damage upon impact (this thing would over penetrate everything but a Land raider) and most of all, cost. it just more effective to run three Iowa's then this thing, and the Iowa is outdated as hell. a better investment would be in better fighters and fighter payloads then a gun that can only be used on a out dated delivery system.

(gets off soap box, bows, leaves)
Because for the cost of putting the USS Iowa to sea with its short range weaponry, or the cost of putting the Nimitz etc to sea with its entire complement of aircraft; and due to Flagship status the requirement of a flotilla of auxiliary defense vessels, you can send just one "railgun" mounted weapon system and control an area around the size of Sicily.

What I'm interested in is how they'll be able to get an AoE effect with it. Sure there's the explosive pressure, but considering how Thermobaric Warheads have such a vast radius, it'll be intriguing. Of course, it might just be there to "make war safer/cheaper".



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It's not a black and white question really, there are different shades of anal probing,
a rectum spectrum, if you will
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post #29 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-26-14, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Because for the cost of putting the USS Iowa to sea with its short range weaponry, or the cost of putting the Nimitz etc to sea with its entire complement of aircraft; and due to Flagship status the requirement of a flotilla of auxiliary defense vessels, you can send just one "railgun" mounted weapon system and control an area around the size of Sicily.
Excellent point, though my question is if this is true why they havn't rush to do this already to cut the defense budget?



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post #30 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-29-14, 07:25 PM
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Because of the Old Guard who are the decisions makers in such positions. It's why Vietnam had such a focus on "strategic" bombing, because many came from a schooling and bomber command led by those who often had familial or aircraft based ties to particular schoolings. Those in command were often those who had been taught by either WW2 survivors, or taught by those who had been.

However, at the same time, focusing on immediate threats and Cost/effectiveness ratio isn't everything, as it still needs to provide jobs for someone, and mothballing an entire fleet because railgun technology is still not feasible enough (and contrary to popular belief, throwing money at something isn't always going to work; look at the British Armies focus on the weekend warriors is working out - i.e. it isn't) to consider doing.

Railgun technology is still something that's viable, but doesn't have the best part of 60 years of engineering history behind it with a similar sort of budget, and something that's only just come from outside of science fiction novels for the majority of some people, there isn't a dedicated cadre of engineers; compare how many people go "Oh, I'm going to be an AET", compared to "Oh, I'm going to become a Railgun engineer".

It's a trickle effect, and provided it works in the upcoming conflicts of the next 20 years, there'll be some interest in it.

One thing that has been suggested is that planes wouldn't be half as effective or successful had there been no second world war. It condensed a vast majority of intellectuals together and forced them to achieve particular goals within a tight timeframe. I'm not suggesting another major conflict is needed, but to verify the effectiveness or a particular bit of hardware requires major testing and a secondary design process to back it up in a support function.

Another example is look how long its taken to get UAVs on task. I'm kind of sad that I'll not be able to participate in ops involving British UAV's. They've looked like awesome kit, especially now that things like tablets are becoming more and more commonplace.



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