Rail guns play a major part in nearly every fanciful battle of the future, whether it be giant robots fighting for control of the Inner Sphere or the last remaining member of Noble Team holding off the Covenant invasion for as long as possible. They're the stuff of geeky dreams, and thanks to the US Navy
they're closer to deployment than ever. Three years ago our sea-borne force managed an 8 megajoule blast
, now its researchers have more than quadrupled that: 33 megajoules accelerating a projectile using magnets. That power means speeds of Mach 7 for the slug and a current range of 100 miles, though the hope is for at least double that by the time these things start finding themselves mounted on the decks of battleships in 2025. At that point they'll reduce the need for rooms full of powder charges and the associated dangers that come along with explosive shells, but will instead need to make way for what looks to be a warehouse full of capacitors. There's a video of the thing in action below, and you'll be sorry if you miss it.
[Thanks, Jacob L.]