The US Army has awarded a new contract to General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) for the evaluation and advancement of electromagnetic railgun weapon system technology.
The contract was awarded by the Department of Defense Ordnance Technology Consortium (DOTC). It will help support the US Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Command (ARDEC).
Under the three-year performance deal, GA-EMS will collaborate with ARDEC to upgrade railgun technologies and provide a series of prototypes. The company will also carry out system integration, as well as testing for mission effectiveness and possible integration with existing and future US Army vehicles.
GA-EMS railgun weapon systems are equipped with electromagnetic launchers that use electricity in place of chemical propellants to fire projectiles at high speeds.
The system’s high muzzle velocity can be twice that of conventional guns, while its high firing rate can engage several threats simultaneously.
GA-EMS Missile Defense and Space Systems vice-president Nick Bucci said: “This contract allows the ARDEC to leverage our ongoing research, development, and testing to advance railgun technologies and further develop railgun weapon systems for army applications enhancing their effectiveness against multiple types of threats.
“The railgun weapon system is intended to integrate with existing army systems and complement conventional capabilities, providing an effective counter to aircraft, rocket, and cruise missile raids, as well as other threats.”
GA-EMS Missile Defense Systems Programmes director Mike Rucker said that railgun uses hypersonic projectiles that provide the soldiers with shorter time to target.
This helps them attain effectiveness at long-range and offers lower costs for each engagement compared to conventional interceptors.
The company has designed and developed several multi-mission railgun systems, such as an integrated 3 Mega Joule (MJ) test asset, 32MJ system, and a new mobile 10MJ railgun system.