The railgun holds a special place for gamers across the world, but few realize that it does actually exist in real life. The US Navy on Saturday, fired the weapon which resulted in the projectile reaching a speed of Mach 7 (5,328.4 miles per hour).

Not the railgun from Quake 3 Arena

For the un-initiated, railguns use an electo-magnetic current instead of relying on explosives to launch the projectile. By doing so, it can launch projectiles at several times the speed of sound and can hit targets which are at a range of 100 miles or farther, all within a few minutes. When combined with current GPS guidance systems, it can achieve pin-point accuracy.

In a statement given to, Roger Ellis, Electromagnetic Railgun Program Manager with the Office of Naval Research, said the Navy has spent over $211 million on the program since 2005, which has provided many advantages over conventional weapons – such as eliminating explosives from the ship. This in turn brings a lot of safety and logistical benefits.

But the US Navy has their work cut out for them before they can bring a working railgun onto their ships. One of the big issues being worked on is the amount of heat and power that is generated when the railgun is fired. According to Ellis, it is enough force to destroy the rails as well as the barrel of the gun.

The US Navy expects to see the fully functional railgun on the US ships sometime in 2025.

Publish date: December 13, 2010 1:41 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 7:00 pm