The Pentagon awarded La Jolla-based General Atomics more work on a power system for the Navy’s nascent electromagnetic railgun project — which military leaders say will be able to hurtle a projectile 83 miles a minute.

The contract modification, announced on Jan. 26, is worth $36.5 million.

The Navy plans to test fire a railgun built by U.K.-based BAE Systems from the USNS Millinocket at sea next year. The gun will reportedly be able to fire a projectile at speeds greater than 5,000 mph over a distance of 110 miles. A projectile hitting a target at that speed will not need to carry any explosives to inflict major damage.

The Millinocket visited Naval Base San Diego in July. At the time, GA showed off a railgun power system mounted in a small shipping container.

The new contract modification will cover research and development of integrated power system power load modules, and the fabrication and testing of prototypes. Thirty percent of the work will be performed in Rancho Bernardo while 70 percent will be done in Tupelo, Miss.

General Atomics has developed an expertise in moving large amounts of electrical power around, applying that knowledge to another Navy project: an electromagnetic catapult that will launch aircraft from a carrier deck.

The Naval Sea Systems Command of Washington, D.C. awarded the railgun power contract.