April 21 - The U.S. Navy says it will test its prototype electromagnetic railgun aboard a naval vessel for the first time in 2016. The railgun can hurl a 23 lb. missile more than a hundred miles and is described by the Navy as ''a true warfighter game-changer''. Rob Muir reports.
After successful tests on land, the US Navy says its railgun technology is ready for the next phase of testing. Rather than chemical propellants, the railgun uses electricity to create an electromagnetic force that can hurl a projectile at a speed of 5400 miles per hour over a distance of 120 miles. Targets are destroyed by the force of kinetic energy carried by the missile. No explosives are needed. The Navy now plans to take the railgun out to sea. In 2016 it will be mounted aboard a Spearhead class ship for testing. It says the railgun is expected to be "lethal and effective against multiple threats, including enemy warships, missiles and land-based targets and says the tests will symbolize "a significant advance in naval combat."