The Future is here, we’ve seen them in sci-fi games like Quake and Eve but the US Navy has developed the first working railgun with practical applications. A railgun is an electrically-powered artillery piece that accelerates a conductive projectile along magnetic metal rails; basically through the use of electromagnetic fields a projectile can be fired without the use of a propellant such as gunpowder. Previous tests by the US Navy fired a 3.2 kg round at aprroximately 2.4 km per second, that’s 5,400 mph in old money. The benefits of this (apart from massive kinetic damage) is that no spent cartridges would need to be expelled meaning that if you could dissipate heat quickly enough or generate enough power you could fire at a much faster rate.
Once political opposition has been cleared (as legislators consider it a waste of money and electricity) the US Navy hopes to deploy these in active service in by 2025. Oh yeah and those flames in the image? That’s not projectile ignition, well test chief Tom Bouche explains that it’s “1 million amps flowing through” the gun, the hypersonic speed of the shot, and the actual aluminum of the bullet — “reactive in the atmosphere” — burning off. While there are more practical applications than weaponry one finds it difficult to think of anything else. Especially when it makes a sound like that, and looks like this: