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A large-scale railgun is being considered by the U.S. Navy as a future long-range (>200 nm) naval weapon system. The notional concept includes a 15 kg projectile with a 2.5 km/s muzzle velocity. The choice of bore and rail geometry for such a weapon can influence key aspects of the total system design. This study explored a range of bore and rail geometries and looked at their effects on key railgun system parameters such as parasitic mass, inductance gradient, linear current density, required pulse forming network (PFN) size, and barrel mass. Preliminary solid modeling and structural analysis of the integrated launch package was performed in order to quantify parasitic mass. Inductance gradient calculations were based on a current density distribution analysis. A PFN/launcher numerical simulation model was then used to determine linear current density and PFN size. Finally, barrel mass was estimated by structural analysis based on calculated rail repulsive forces. Trends and sensitivities of the different parameters to changes in the bore and rail geometries are presented and conclusions are given.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2005