Even bigger bada boom!

Remember around this time last year when the US Navy started testing railguns as ship-mounted weapons? BAE Systems has developed an even more powerful magnetic linear accelerator weapon for testing called the 32-MJ LRG (which stands for "32-megajoule Laboratory Rail Gun" - I guess the person in charge of naming experimental weapons was hired by the federal government to name the PATRIOT Act). The experimental weapon is about the size of an airport x-ray machine, and probably masses about as much. It doesn't fire explosive rounds but then again it doesn't have to. If you can throw a projectile at eight …

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Big bada boom!

A weapons test at the Naval Surface Warface Centre made the news yesterday because a heretofore novel device was successfully tested: A railgun, more technically referred to as a Gauss-effect linear accelerator. Railguns are, conceptually, pretty simple devices: A ferrous projective rests inside a set of conductive metal rails, through which an electric current passes. When a sufficiently large pulse of electricity passes through the rails, the projectile goes out of the business end of the device at high velocity. Whatever is hit by the projectile either ceases to exist or has a very, very large hole through it due …

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