JAPAN ANNOUNCES SUCCESSFUL SEA-BORNE RAIL GUN
Technological news, as regular readers of this website know, sometimes preoccupies us here because of its wider impact and implications, and that's certainly the case with this article spotted and shared by K.M., for Japan has completed tests of a sea-borne railgun weapons system:
Note that the test is a first:
Japan’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency announced on Tuesday that it had conducted its first-ever test firing of an electromagnetic railgun from a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship at sea, the first publicly disclosed test firing of a railgun at sea anywhere in the world.
The Japanese military research and procurement agency uploaded a video of the test in a post on the X social media network announcing the test, which it claimed to be the first ever railgun to be fired at sea. The undated video shows the ship-mounted experimental railgun firing, but the projectile impact is not shown.
In case you're wondering what the difference between a rail gun and a conventional artillery piece is, the basic difference is not in basic concept or principle, but as it were, method;
The ATLA is pursuing development of ship-mounted railguns to defend against advanced airborne or seaborne threats like hypersonic weapons, with railgun projectiles’ high velocity and deeper magazines theoretically improving their effectiveness compared to conventional interceptor missiles or cannon shells.
Unlike conventional shells that are driven by the detonation of chemical propellants, electromagnetic railguns use an electromagnetic field to launch a projectile at very high speed. The extreme kinetic energy of the projectile on impact is the main means of target destruction.
There you have it, though for purposes of today's high octane speculation, I want to emphasize that electromagnetic acceleration component as opposed to the conventional powder propellants of a standard artillery piece; electromagnetic acceleration gives a "muzzle velocity" significantly higher than is capable with any chemical propellant, and thus, the kinetic energy of a projectile from such a weapon is much greater, as therefore is its destructive impact. A railgun is thus simply a smaller version of the often talked-about "rods of God" or "rods of the gods" technology that many - including yours truly - believe might already be deployed in space. In actuality, the idea of rail guns and electromagnetic propulsion of projectiles is an idea that pre-dates World War One. Research was actually conducted on the concept throughout that war and subsequently on into World War Two, most notably by Germany. The point of all of this - and of the Japanese test - is that the concept is workable.
Just how far that concept has been developed is the real question, and the Japanese test, I believe, may just be a kind of "public announcement" on behalf of the West. Indeed, it's less an announcement of a successful test, as it is a message, for as the article makes clear, Japan has been developing the technology in conjunction with American firms that were involved in the supposedly defunct American rail gun program:
In April , ATLA Vice Commissioner Shigenori Mishima told National Defense magazine that Japan was interested in partnering with contractors that had participated in the American programs, with an eye on sharing knowledge to overcome difficulties faced by both nations’ railgun programs in order to deliver a functional railgun.
For our high octane speculation purposes today, the real questions are these: (1) to what extent have such weapons been deployed on ships and aircraft for local defense against hyper-sonic weapons, (2) to what extent have these types of systems been scaled up for ship-to-ship ballistic bombardment systems, (3) to what extent have these systems been deployed in space as satellite defense systems, (4) to what extent have these systems been scaled up as operational or even strategic land or space-based long range ballistic bombardment systems (actual rods of god systems)? Can such systems be used to launch non-ballistic precision-guided munitions?
Rest assured, the timing of Japan's announcement as the world is melting into a hysteria of war is not accidental. And rest assured, those questions that I've outlined here are being carefully pondered and weighed in the major capitals of the world right now.
See you on the flip side...
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