San Diego Business Journal

Navy Fires Experimental, San Diego-built Rail Gun

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group said recently that it has delivered its prototype electromagnetic rail gun to the U.S. Navy, and that the Navy has successfully fired it.

GA delivered the device, called advanced containment launcher, to the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va.

The gun is “designed to deliver significantly higher muzzle energies than ever demonstrated in a tactically relevant configuration,” the company said.

The gun uses a surge of electrical energy rather than explosives to launch a projectile. Its builders believe the system is capable of sending a projectile more than 100 nautical miles — almost eight times farther than a conventional gun — at 5,600 miles per hour, more than twice the speed of conventional guns.

General Atomics built the device at its facilities in Rancho Bernardo.

The Navy will soon award a contract for a gun that can fire repeatedly, according to a spokeswoman with the electromagnetic systems unit. General Atomics plans to bid on the contract, the spokeswoman said.