Power pulse

Raytheon has started delivering pulse power containers (PPCs) to support the US Navy’s railgun programme.

In January 2012, the US Naval Sea Systems Command awarded an initial $10m contract to Raytheon for the preliminary design of a large power system, Pulse Forming Network (PFN). The company is one of the three contractors that received the contract.

The PFN will provide the electromagnetic energy for the railgun projectile to travel without the use of an explosive charge or rocket motor. The containers will be included in the navy’s railgun test range for additional development and testing.

"Raytheon’s engineering and manufacturing expertise uniquely positions us to support next generation weapon systems."

According to Raytheon, these PPCs, when combined, produce enough power to trigger an electromagnetic launch of a railgun’s high-velocity projectile, at speeds of more than mach 6.

Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems Business Advanced Technology vice-president Colin Whelan said: "Directed energy has the potential to redefine military technology beyond missiles and our pulse power modules and containers will provide the tremendous amount of energy required to power applications like the navy railgun.

"Raytheon’s engineering and manufacturing expertise uniquely positions us to support next generation weapon systems to meet the ever-evolving threat."

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The US Navy’s railgun uses an electromagnetic force, known as the ‘Lorenz Force’, to fire a projectile at six or seven times the speed of sound.

The weapon is being considered for installation on the US Navy’s third Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer, Lyndon B Johnson (DDG-1002).

In 2014, the US Navy revealed plans to test a prototype electromagnetic on-board a joint high-speed vessel (JHSV) this year.

Image: Raytheon develops pulse power containers to power the US Navy’s electromagnetic railgun. Photo: courtesy of Raytheon Company.