Modern artillery cannons are a fusion of the latest technology, jewelry precision and increased ammunition power. And yet, despite the colossal progress, guns of the 21st century shoot in the same way as their great-grandmothers - using the energy of powder gases.
Electricity was able to shake the gunpowder monopoly. The idea of creating an electromagnetic gun originated almost simultaneously in Russia and France at the height of the First World War. It was based on the works of the German researcher Johann Karl Friedrich Gauss, who developed the theory of electromagnetism, embodied in an unusual device - an electromagnetic gun.
Ahead of time
The idea of creating an electromagnetic gun was far ahead of its time. Then, at the beginning of the last century, everything was limited to prototypes, which also showed very modest results. So the French model barely managed to disperse a 50 gram projectile to a speed of 200 m / s, which could not be compared with the conventional artillery systems operating at that time. Its Russian counterpart, the magnetic-fugal gun, remained in the blueprints altogether. And yet, the main result is the embodiment of the idea in real "hardware", and true success was a matter of time.
The Gauss cannon developed by the German scientist is a kind of electromagnetic mass accelerator. The gun consists of a solenoid (coil) with a barrel of dielectric material located inside it. It is charged with a ferromagnetic projectile. To make the projectile move, an electric current is applied to the coil, creating a magnetic field that pulls the projectile into the solenoid. The speed of the projectile is the faster, the more powerful and shorter the generated impulse.
How the Gauss Cannon Works
The advantages of the Gaussian electromagnetic cannon over other types of weapons are the ability to flexibly vary the muzzle velocity and energy of the projectile, as well as the noiselessness of the shot. There is also a drawback - low efficiency, which is no more than 27% and the associated large energy costs. Therefore, in our time, the Gauss cannon has prospects rather as an amateur installation. However, the idea can get a second life in the case of the invention of new compact and super-powerful current sources.
Rail-mounted electromagnetic gun
Railgun is another type of electromagnetic cannon. The railgun includes a power source, switching equipment and two electrically conductive rails from 1 to 5 meters, which are simultaneously electrodes located at a distance of 1 cm.In it, the energy of the electromagnetic field interacts with the energy of the plasma, which is formed as a result of the combustion of a special insert at the moment of high voltage supply.
The principle of operation of the railgun
Gunpowder can't do more
Of course, it is too early to say that the time of traditional ammunition is irrevocably a thing of the past. However, according to experts, they have reached their limit. The speed of the charge released with their help is limited to 2.5 km / sec. This is clearly not enough for the wars of the future.
Railguns are not fantasy anymore
In the United States, laboratory tests of a 475 mm railgun developed by General Atomics and BAE Systems are in full swing. The first volleys of the wonder weapon showed encouraging results. The 23-kg projectile flew out of the barrel at a speed exceeding 2200 m / s, which will allow it to hit targets at a distance of up to 160 km in the future. The incredible kinetic energy of the striking elements of electromagnetic weapons makes propelling charges unnecessary, which means that the survivability of the calculations increases. After the development of the prototype, the railgun will be installed on the high-speed ship JHSV Millinocket. In about 5-8 years, US NAVY will begin to be systematically equipped with rail guns.
In our country, electromagnetic guns were remembered in the 50s, when the mad race to create another superweapon began. Until now, these works are strictly classified. The Soviet project was led by an outstanding physicist, Academician L.A. Artsimovich, who had been dealing with plasma problems for many years. It was he who replaced the cumbersome name "electrodynamic mass accelerator" with what everyone knows today - "railgun".
Similar developments are still underway in Russia. The team of one of the branches of the Joint Institute for High Temperatures of the Russian Academy of Sciences recently demonstrated their vision of the railgun. To accelerate the charge, an electromagnetic accelerator was developed. A bullet weighing several grams was here managed to accelerate to a speed of about 6.3 km / sec.