The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is working on creating the weapons of the future. In this regard, they have started initial preparations for making an Electromagnetic Railgun. This is a cannon that can fire up to a distance of 200 kms. It is a deadly weapon that will come in handy for the land, air and naval forces.
An Electromagnetic Railgun utilizes electromagnetic energy to launch its projectiles. This makes it closer in design to a large electric circuit than a gun. In other words, it uses electromagnetic field, not gunpowder, to fire ammunition. DRDO has published a detailed report on Electromagnetic Railgun technology in a journal. Work on this has begun in Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) in Pune.
“The Electromagnetic Railgun could be a ‘game-changing’ weapon of the future. The gun can revolutionise naval strike operations by delivering hypervelocity projectiles to pinpoint accuracies and extended ranges. Furthermore, the absence of energetic materials also eliminates the need for explosive safety standards for manufacturing, transportation, handling, and storage,” said A Raju, Outstanding Scientist & Director, ARDE, Pune.
“Electromagnetic railgun technology is the unique and practical method for accelerating projectiles to muzzle velocity beyond 2000 m/s, which conventional chemical propellant guns cannot achieve,” he added.
How does the Electromagnetic Railgun work?
Using programmable pulsed power technology, a Railgun based on 10 MJ capacitor bank has been successfully designed, developed, and installed at ARDE, Pune. Hypervelocity propulsion of >2000 m/s has been achieved by using this facility. Using the 10 MJ EM Railgun, a series of dynamic firing trials from a fixed firing stand was conducted for experimental evaluation and system performance.
These experiments have helped to characterize EM Railgun for different bore sizes, from 12 mm to 45 mm for projectiles of 80 gm, 120 gm, 250 gm, and 500 gm.
Electromagnetic field is created by means of electric current. This generates kinetic energy, which throws the ball in the Railgun at a speed of six to seven times the speed of sound. It is necessary that only those shells can be used in railguns which are capable of containing electromagnetic flow.
Former DRDO scientist Dr. Ravi Gupta says many countries including America, Russia are working on Electromagnetic Railguns. China has also made similar claims. If India also attains optimal results in this field, it will prove to be an important technology to tackle future defense challenges.
– The Railgun is much more advanced than the cannon. The range of the cannon is up to 50-60 kms, while Railgun can fire up to 200 kms.
– It can be used to fire at enemy ships at sea to avert missile attacks or to shoot down enemy aircrafts.
– Due to no use of gunpowder, the cost will come down.