Navy Targets New World Record With Electromagnetic Railgun Demonstration

Office of Naval Research
Corporate Strategic Communications
Phone: (703) 696-5031

MEDIA ADVISORY: Nov. 22, 2010

ARLINGTON, Va. –The Office of Naval Research and Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren, Va., will hold a media day Dec. 10 to showcase the latest developments in the Electromagnetic Railgun program, including an attempt to establish a new world record.

The Navy will attempt a 32-plus megajoule test shot--more than three times the previous record established Jan. 31, 2008, when NSWC Dahlgren fired an experimental Electromagnetic Railgun with a measured muzzle energy of 10.64 megajoules. A megajoule is a measurement of energy associated with a mass traveling at a certain velocity. For example, a one-ton vehicle moving at 100 mph equals a megajoule of energy.

In addition to the 32 megajoule railgun shot demonstration, there will be advanced half-scale prototypes of tactical composite launchers from the industry teams of General Atomics and BAE Systems on display. The General Atomics launcher was tested previously at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah. BAE's launcher will be tested at Dahlgren soon after the event.

Rear Adm. Nevin Carr, Chief of Naval Research, will be joined by other Navy program officials.

NSWC Dahlgren, Va. For directions go to:

Friday, Dec. 10. Media must be at the main gate at NSWC Dahlgren no later than 12:15 p.m. EST. The event will begin at 1:00 p.m. EST. The demonstration will be followed by a question and answer session and facilities tour. Media will be brought back to the main gate at 4 p.m. EST. To register, contact Peter Vietti at (703) 588-2167 or via e-mail at

The Navy is developing the Electromagnetic Railgun to bring significant advances for both combat operations, reduced costs and safety to Sailors and Marines. The railgun will be able to:

  • Hit targets at ranges almost 20 times farther than conventional surface ship combat systems. The 32 megajoule launch, for example, is capable of shooting a tactical, guided projectile more than 100 nautical miles from ship to target, with Mach 5 impact velocity
  • Inflict damage using kinetic energy, eliminating the need for a warhead or propellant
  • Shoot rounds at 6-12 rounds per minute rate of fire, and deliver them within 5  meters CEP
  • Provide surface fires at stand-off distance
  • Increase safety for a ship's Sailors and Marines by removing propellants and warheads
  • Minimize collateral damage through improved accuracy


  • High-speed B-roll of explosive and projectile will be provided to all media in attendance.
  • Still photo opportunities of the technology will be available.
  • Availabilities with the Navy's lead innovator, Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Nevin Carr and lead program engineers will be offered.

About the Office of Naval Research

The Department of the Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

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Office of Naval Research
Corporate Strategic Communications
Phone: (703) 696-5031

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