Home Americas US Navy, Army test hypersonic railgun-launched projectile interceptors

US Navy, Army test hypersonic railgun-launched projectile interceptors

US Navy railgun
Illustration: US Navy file photo of an electromagnetic railgun developed by GA-EMS

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) says it worked with the US Army and Navy to advance gun-launched defensive projectile interceptor designs by completing a major test series.

The company supported the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center (DEVCOM-AC) and the Naval Surface Warfare Center – Dahlgren Division (NSWC-DD) to perform several test firings.

Identical projectile designs were test fired from a railgun at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and a powder gun at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

During the first test series, projectiles were launched using the navy’s 32 megajoule railgun system at the White Sands Missile Range. The second test series fired the same projectile designs from a 120 mm powder gun at Dugway Proving Ground. GA-EMS fabricated and delivered completed projectile assemblies which contain guidance electronics and control actuation systems. The projectiles were integrated with gun-hardened guidance electronics to test their capability to sustain data links and control trajectory while the projectiles undergo intense G-forces at hypersonic speeds.

According to GA-EMS, the projectiles fired from the railgun reached record hypersonic velocities, while their guided flight capabilities were tested from both gun systems.

“Close communication among the team members was critical to the outcome of this effort,” stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “We tested significant advancements in our projectile design, demonstrating survivability and good aerodynamic performance at these velocities, while testing guidance capabilities that promise greater precision and accuracy to effectively meet and defeat airborne threats.”

“We have completed our contract to fabricate, deliver, and test prototype projectiles in railgun and powder gun environments,” continued Forney. “GA-EMS continues to develop technologies to bring the most affordable, gun-launched hypersonic and supersonic weapon system capabilities to the future battlespace.”