ARDE (DRDO) has successfully developed an indigenously 10MJ (megajoules) EM Railgun. This boosts up to 100MJ, which will be carried out at a dedicated infrastructure facility ‘CEMaLT’, which is currently under construction according to a DRDO Newsletter report.
Railguns have the experimentally proven capability to accelerate masses of several kilograms to velocities over 2 km/s. For military payloads, railguns are attractive accelerators, as they can reach velocities over what explosively driven guns can achieve. Masses from 0.1 kg to several kilograms in the military domain must be accelerated to velocities between 2 km/s to 3 km/s.
The latest technology in the name of EM propulsion is being explored in which EM energy due to Lorentz force is used to propel a projectile. This propulsion system has no such theoretical limit of velocity of the medium, unlike the gases in chemical energy-based propulsion, as electromagnetic phenomena travel with the speed of light.
Using programmable pulsed power technology, a railgun based on a 10 MJ capacitor bank has been successfully designed, developed, and installed at ARDE, Pune. Hypervelocity propulsion of >2000 m/s has been achieved by using this facility. Using the 10 MJ EM railgun, a series of dynamic firing trials from a fixed firing stand was conducted for experimental evaluation and system performance. These experiments have helped to characterize EM railguns for different bore sizes up from 12 mm to 45 mm for projectiles of 80 gm, 120 gm, 250 gm, and 500 gm.
With the know-how gained after successfully completing the Technology Demonstration (TD) project, the configuration and design methodology can be extended to achieve higher speed, range, and lethality in a futuristic railgun.