Thursday, April 14, 2011

Railgun reality

Before we go further - watch this wee clip.

OK, everyone awake? Now, take a deep breath and let's talk as adults.

No one loves the naval gun more than I do. You need the robustness, multi-mission capability, and reliability of the gun. Missiles are nice - but they are very fragile, a are very few in number.

The rail gun has promise - but we need to be sober about its capabilities. With those speeds - ASUW is what comes straight to mind. You don't need a big warhead against most modern surface ships - the kinetic energy and secondary damage will give you a mission kill with just a few hits.

AAW: unless it is guided, I see no utility for something that fast with so little fragmention ability. There might be some utility depending on how many rounds it could spit out - but I don't think it would be all that great.

NSFS: Look at that warhead; 27mm out of the sabot? Unless you are going to tremendously upscale it - I don't see its tactical utility for NSFS. Guided warheads? I see a very big price tag. Low collateral damage from where it hits --- but again - unguided and that small, you will be putting a lot of rounds downrange to be effective in NSFS - if ever effective. Even with precision guidance - 27mm doesn't give you a lot to work with.

Well - for now I think we have a great almost undefeatable ASUW weapon. Perhaps as technology improves we will see more options out there, but for now - be sober and modest in your expectations. Talk evolutionary, not revolutionary.

As for putting it on a DDG-51 - unless you are going to take out the 5", I don't know where you would put it. If you do replace the 5" - well - that is in alignment with smart Salamander Weapons Development Programmatics. Just use a FLT 1 to do it as a test platform for a few years.

Executive Summary: so far, so good. Put it on a ship and tell the CO, "Figure out how to use this and get back to me in 15 months." Give him plenty of underway and range time, get out of his way, and be patient. He'll figure it out.


Hat tip DT.

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