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BAE Systems Wins Contracts For Electro-Magnetic Rail Gun Programs

Navy concept for EM Launch system.
by Staff Writers
Minneapolis MN (SPX) Jul 07, 2006
BAE Systems was awarded two contracts for development of an electro-magnetic gun system capable of deployment on board naval surface combatant ships.

The development work includes a $9.3 million contract from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to develop technologies and preliminary design for an Electro-Magnetic (EM) railgun prototype and a $5.4M contract from Naval Special Warfare Center-Dahlgren for the design and fabrication of the U.S Navy's 32 megajule (MJ) Laboratory Launcher.

An electro-magnetic railgun uses electrical energy to accelerate projectiles to extreme velocities. Railguns do not require powders or explosives to fire the round and therefore free magazine space for other mission areas. In addition, electro-magnetic guns provide a highly consistent and uniform explosive charge that gives much greater accuracy.

BAE Systems was selected by ONR to advance to the next phase of the Innovative Naval Prototype Program. Under this 30-month phase, BAE Systems will take the state-of-the-art Electro-Magnetic Railgun technologies through technology maturation and develop a preliminary design of a 32-MJ EM Railgun.

Thirty-two megajule is equivalent to a firing speed of Mach 8 or eight times the speed of sound. This will be an intermediate step on the road to a 64-MJ Tactical System capable of deployment on-board naval surface combatant ships.

The design and fabrication of the 32-MJ Laboratory Launcher will serve as a major step towards development of a full-scale tactical EM Gun weapon system for the U.S. Navy.

BAE Systems will execute these contracts in conjunction with teammates IAP Research, Inc., Dayton, Ohio and Science Applications International Corporation, Vienna, Va.

"BAE Systems has a long history of supporting the U.S. Navy and we're proud to continue that tradition by playing a key role in the EM Gun Program," said Keith Howe, BAE Systems' vice president and general manager Armament Systems.

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