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Weapons

GA-EMS to test 10 MJ railgun in early 2018

14 July 2017
GA-EMS has been testing its Blitzer 3 MJ railgun at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. The company is currently assembling a 10 MJ launcher that will begin testing in Utah later this year. Source: GA-EMS

General Atomics Electro Magnetic Systems (GA-EMS) is assembling a 10 MJ railgun in preparation for shipping to Utah, where the company will begin readying the weapon system for testing in 2018.

In addition, GA-EMS announced in May that it had successfully tested its hypersonic projectile, which has been fitted with an enhanced guidance electronics unit (GEU) containing a new battery configuration. The tests were conducted using GA-EMS' 3 MJ Blitzer railgun system at the US Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

During the test, GA-EMS demonstrated a continuous two-way datalink that enables target information between the in-flight projectile and a ground station to be updated.

"Everything communicated, it was still operating when it landed 7 km away from our launch point – and it communicated in-flight, which is exactly what we were trying to achieve," GA-EMS president Scott Forney told Jane's .

Besides the GEU tests, the company stated that it had also demonstrated a new lightweight composite sabot, achieving successful sabot separation and maintaining in-bore structural integrity at high acceleration levels.

The projectile that will be launched later this year from the 10 MJ railgun will be twice as long as that fired from the 3 MJ gun, Forney noted.

For the past two years GA-EMS has been undertaking risk reduction testing on its 3 MJ gun. While the testing was to prove the railgun concept and pulse power capability, the company was unable to test their highly manoeuvrable projectile – which was loaded with electronics – because the 3 MJ launcher was too small, Forney said.

To work around that, the company created what Forney called a "bus round".

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