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Japan confirms development of electromagnetic railgun

07 August 2018

The Japanese Ministry of Defense’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) released video footage on 31 July showing a small-calibre developmental electromagnetic (EM) railgun along with related support and test equipment.

A screenshot of a video released by Japan’s MoD on 31 July showing a small-calibre developmental electromagnetic railgun along with its support and test equipment. (ATLA)A screenshot of a video released by Japan’s MoD on 31 July showing a small-calibre developmental electromagnetic railgun along with its support and test equipment. (ATLA)

ATLA said in a report that it will spend JPY1 billion (USD9 million) from fiscal year (FY) 2016 to FY 2021 to fund research and efforts to develop an EM railgun weapon system.

“This is the first time ATLA [has released] a promotional video on the internet showing footage of the experimental equipment used for developing the electromagnetic railgun,” an ATLA official told Jane’s on 7 August, adding that Japan is currently working on a prototype.

The video was first shown during last year’s Defense Technology Symposium, which was hosted by ATLA on 10–11 November in Tokyo.

In the video ATLA claims that the EM railgun system, if powered by an electrical current exceeding two mega-amperes, could theoretically launch a 10 kg projectile at 2,000 m/s. This would not only increase range but also accuracy, the agency added.

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