General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced on 08 January 2016 that projectiles with prototype components for a Control and Actuation System (CAS) successfully performed programmed actions and communicated component performance to a ground station via a telemetry link in tests carried out 7-10 December 2015 at the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. Fired at accelerations greater than 30,000 times that of gravity from GA-EMS’ 3 mega joule Blitzer electromagnetic railgun, the four test projectiles and the critical components within them experienced the multi-Tesla electromagnetic field within the launcher and performed as expected.
«We continue to mature railgun projectile technologies and conduct testing under varied open range, real-world conditions», stated Nick Bucci, Vice President Missile Defense Systems, GA-EMS. «We remain committed to advancing this transformational weapon system and are making significant progress in the development and testing of multi-mission railgun projectiles and critical component technologies».
During the December test firings, the projectiles not only survived and operated under the 30,000 G-force and multi-Tesla magnetic field launch conditions, but also successfully performed under ambient operating temperatures ranging between 20 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, with up to 4 inches of snow on the ground, and with wind conditions ranging from 10 to 50 knots. To date, projectiles have been open range tested under temperatures varying from minus 11 degrees to as high as 105 degrees.
In June, 2015, GA-EMS successfully tested and received data from projectiles with on-board electronics, and marked the 100th launch of its 3 mega joule Blitzer testing prototype railgun weapon system. After the December test series, the Blitzer railgun system has performed 120 successful launches. Risk reduction and technology maturation testing of additional components will continue in 2016.
GA-EMS’ Blitzer railgun is a test asset designed and manufactured by GA-EMS to advance technology development toward multi-mission railgun weapon systems. Railguns launch projectiles using electromagnetic forces instead of chemical propellants and can deliver muzzle velocities greater than twice those of conventional guns. Blitzer railgun technology, when integrated into a weapon system that includes the launcher, high density capacitor driven pulsed power, and weapon fire control system, can launch multi-mission projectiles with shorter time-to-target and greater effectiveness at longer range.