General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has conducted four successful tests of its projectiles with on-board electronics at the US Army’s dugway proving ground in Utah.
As part of this development, the projectiles survived the railgun launch environment, and tests also witnessed the 100th successful launch from the GA-EMS’ 3 megajoule Blitzer electromagnetic railgun.
GA Electromagnetic Systems Group Missile Defense Systems vice-president Nick Bucci said: "This is a significant milestone in the technology development toward a railgun weapon system, and marks the first time flight dynamics data have been successfully measured and down-linked from an aerodynamic projectile fired from our railgun on an open test range.
"GA-EMS’ successful testing and on-going investment to advance our scalable railgun and projectile technologies illustrates our commitment to mature this transformational weapon system and provide the warfighter multi-mission advantages across several platforms."
During tests, the electronics on-board the projectiles assessed in-bore accelerations and projectile dynamics, which is important for developing precision guidance.
Launched at accelerations more than 30,000 times that of gravity, the test projectiles were exposed to the full electromagnetic environment of the railgun launch.
Designed and manufactured by GA-EMS, railgun launch projectiles are powered by electromagnetic forces instead of chemical propellants. They are also able to deliver better muzzle velocities than conventional guns.
Blitzer railgun technology includes the launcher, high-density capacitor driven pulsed power, and weapon fire control system.
It is capable of launching multi-mission projectiles with a shorter time-to-target and greater effectiveness at longer range.