Admiral Richardson Comments on Navy’s Electromagnetic Railgun Technology

The Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored Electromagnetic Railgun (EMRG) at terminal range located at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD). (U.S. Navy/John F. Williams).

The Navy’s $500 Million investment in railgun technology was part of a discussion during a 6 February 2019 Atlantic Council event that included a discussion with the U.S. Navy’s top officer.

Admiral John M. Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations, United States Navy, stressed the need for rapid prototyping to maintain maritime superiority, and added, “I would say that rail gun is the case study that would say, this is how innovation maybe shouldn’t happen.”

“[The rail gun project] has been around 15 years, maybe 20; ’rapid’ doesn’t come to mind in a time frame like that . . . Now we’ve learned a lot [from the project], and the engineering of building something like that that can handle that much electromagnetic energy and not just explode is challenging. So, we’re going to continue after this — we’re going to install this thing, we’re going to continue to develop it, test it. It’s too great a weapon system so it’s going somewhere, hopefully.”

He added that “The high-velocity projectile is also usable in just about every gun we have. It can be out in the fleet very, very quickly independent of the railgun,” he said. “So, this effort is breeding all sorts of advances. We just need to get the clock sped up with respect to the railgun.”

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