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The U.S. Navy is considering the development of electromagnetic railguns for future ships for naval surface-fire support (NSFS) and other missions. To reach long ranges, muzzle velocities in excess of 2000 m/s with projectile flight mass of 16 kg and above are needed. Relatively high firing rates are desired; typically 6-12 rounds per minute, so substantial power demands will be made on the ship. For an electrically driven ship, as in the DD(X) concepts presently being explored by the Navy, an existing electrical infrastructure would be in place that could be modified to recharge the pulsed power supplies for the railgun. This study focused on the railgun, the pulsed power system needed to drive the gun, the power system needed to restore the energy required to match the firing rate, and special ship interfaces. Railgun concepts and sizing for the NSFS mission were undertaken, and research and development issues of importance for the success of a future system were identified. Recommendations for analytical and experimental studies that should be undertaken to further address these issues are provided.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2005