US Navy considers skipping prototype and going direct in 2018 to operational railgun on Zumwalt Destroyer

Navy admiral Pete Fanta wants to skip an at-sea prototype railgun in favor of installing an operational railgun aboard a new Zumwalt class destroyer which is planned to go into service in 2018.

The Navy has been testing an electromagnetic railgun and could have an operational unit ready to go on one of the new Zumwalt-class destroyers under construction at Bath Iron Works.

Admiral Fanta is the he Navy’s director of surface warfare. He has floated the idea of foregoing the current plan to put a prototype on another vessel this year and instead put it directly on future USS Lyndon B. Johnson, though no final decision has been made.

“The Zumwalt-class is one of a number of options being explored for the electromagnetic railgun,” said Lt. Cmdr. Hayley Sims, a Navy spokeswoman. “Due to the size, weight and power requirements, some platforms will be better suited for the technology than others.”

The 600-foot-long destroyers are fitted with marine turbines that resembled those that power the Boeing 777. These turbines are capable of generating as much as 78 megawatts worth of electricity to propel the warship as well as operate its sensors and weaponry. It is also enough power to fire a railgun.

If Fanta’s proposal pushes through, the electromagnetic weapon would replace one of the destroyer’s 155mm guns, which uses rocket-propelled projectiles.

SOURCES – Wikipedia,