US Navy Canceling Railgun Project

The Navy—solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the gun-launched guided projectile (GLGP) [aka hypervelocity projectile (HVP)] for about a decade. The US Navy’s proposed FY2022 budget requests research and development funding for continued work on lasers but wants to suspend further work on the EMRG and GLGP programs and requests no research and development funding for them. The Navy had been developing EMRG since 2005 and has spent nearly half a billion dollars.

The Navy has had a combat laser installed on a ship since 2014. The railgun had lab tests and then some outdoor tests. The railgun was never installed on a ship.

It is believed that China has installed a railgun onto a ship back in 2019.

The high-velocity projectile was supposed to be a simple upgrade to enable existing large guns to fire further and faster. This supposedly relatively low-tech and low project is also being canceled.

This cancelation suggests that the US Navy believes that practical problems cannot be fixed for railguns to make them actually useful for combat.

This is another project where the regular US weapon companies have failed to develop and deliver what appeared to be doable technology.

Written by Brian Wang,