General Atomics New 10 Megajoule Railgun System

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that its new 10 Mega Joule (MJ) medium range multi-mission railgun system has completed final assembly and factory acceptance test in preparation for transport to Dugway Proving Ground in Utah to begin testing. The 10 MJ railgun system has been designed and built by GA-EMS to provide multi-mission, multi-domain capability with greater flexibility and a smaller footprint for ship, land and mobile platforms.

“The 10 MJ railgun system has our third generation railgun launcher, and includes our fifth generation pulsed power system and a new mounting system that allows the launcher to elevate and train for better targeting,” stated Nick Bucci, vice president for Missile Defense and Space Systems at GA-EMS. “This represents a leap forward in advancing railgun technologies, offering reduced size and weight for the launcher, twice the energy density in a significantly reduced pulsed power footprint, and more capable hypersonic projectiles. We’ll continue to develop and mature these technologies, perform risk reduction, and test under real-world conditions to ultimately deliver a more capable, effective, and cost-efficient solution to counter future threats.”

GA-EMS multi-mission medium range railgun weapon system integrates the High Energy Pulsed Power Container (HEPPC), 10 MJ launcher, hypersonic hybrid missile, and fire control technologies. The HEPPC utilizes GA-EMS next generation railgun capacitors and a new approach to packaging and distribution of the energy in a smaller footprint than existing pulsed power solutions. This reduces the number of pulsed power containers required to launch the guided projectiles or hybrid missiles. The HEPPC provides additional capabilities to test GA-EMS hypersonic projectiles, which contain a Guidance Control Unit with guidance, navigation, and control software and a complex control actuation system.

Successful projectile component testing was completed earlier this year, with multiple firings at launch accelerations over 30,000 Gees. The testing also demonstrated a continuous two-way data link between the in-flight projectiles and the ground station over an open range that supports the fire control solution.

In May, 2017, General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced they successfully fired hypersonic projectiles with an enhanced Guidance Electronics Unit (GEU). They were successful in tests during multiple firings from their three mega joule (3 MJ) Blitzer™ railgun system.

GA-EMS has internally funded the Blitzer railgun systems and hypersonic projectile development. Blitzer railguns are test assets that include a launcher, high density pulsed power, and weapon fire control system. GA-EMS recently announced the development and completion of the High Energy Pulsed Power Container (HEPPC) which provides twice the energy density of existing pulsed power systems. The HEPPC is intended to reduce the footprint for pulsed power required to launch projectiles, offering greater flexibility for future Navy and Army railgun applications.

GA demonstrated a new lightweight composite sabot, achieving successful sabot separation and maintaining in-bore structural integrity at high acceleration levels.

General Atomics Electro Magnetic Systems (GA-EMS) is assembling a 10 MJ railgun in preparation for shipping to Utah, where the company will begin readying the weapon system for testing in 2018.

BAE Systems has a competing railgun. A 32 Megajoule prototype was delivered by BAE Systems. BAE’s railgun can shoot up to 220 miles in range, around 10 times the distance capable of standard ship mounted guns with rounds landing more swiftly and with little or no warning compared to a volley of Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Recent tests of the BAE system were at 5 shots per minute.