DRDO pushes forward with research in its Rail Gun Program

The Rail gun is a weapon capable of launching projectile without the usage of explosives or propellants at speeds of mach 7 or more. The Railgun capability of launching projectiles at velocities higher than other guns & cannons makes it hit targets at greater ranges with extreme speed & accuracy. This nullifies the escape factor of the enemy platform or an approaching projectile.

Ever since the U.S. Navy tested a rail gun that fired a projectile at 10.64 MJ with a muzzle velocity of 2,520 m/s on 31st January 2008, India’s Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) seems obsessed with the technology & is moving forward with its research.

Although it is speculated that the DRDO was working on the electro-magnetic rail gun technology since the 1990s, the actual testing of a 12 mm square bore Electromagnetic Railgun (EMRG) was only recently confirmed on their website.

Testing of a 30 mm square bore EMRG with target to accelerate a 1 kg projectile to a velocity of more than 2000 m/s (~Mach 6) with a capacitor bank of 10 Mega Joules is said to be in the pipeline.

DRDO claims that the massive rail gun being developed needs just one gunner to operate. It relies on electromagnetic energy of the Lorentz force (combination of electric & magnetic forces on a point charge).

The Indian Navy seems to have taken a keen interest in this futuristic technology
as it has a range of 200 miles & doesn’t require explosive warheads. It is thus, safer for sailors. Firing projectiles from the railgun is also slated to be much cheaper than firing from conventional guns. At present, the only class of ships that can generate the enormous 25 megawatts of power required to fire the railgun are aircraft carriers & destroyers.

The US navy is testing the gun for land bombardment & as anti-aircraft weapons to intercept air threats, particularly intercepting anti-ship cruise missiles.