Raytheon begins deliveries of pulse power containers for U.S. Navy’s railgun

American defense contractor Raytheon has begun deliveries of pulse power containers in support of the U.S. Navy’s Railgun program.

The electromagnetic railgun project is a futuristic weapon the U.S. Navy hopes to deploy on one of its surface combatants.

USNS Millinocket was supposed to be the first vessel fitted with the gun that is, according to the Navy, capable of firing a projectile at six times the speed of sound.

However, Millinocket joined the Navy without a railgun on its turret. The same happened with US Navy plans to equip the newest stealth destroyer USS Zumwalt with the gun.

Latest predictions say the Navy expects to deploy the electromagnetic gun on the third, and last, Zumwalt-class vessel, the USS Lyndon B. Johnson.

Raytheon said the containers, which are comprised of multiple pulsed power modules, will be integrated into the Navy’s railgun test range for additional development and testing.

The company built this pulse power container to provide the mighty 32-megajoule jolt that the U.S. Navy’s new railgun requires. The modular pulsed power containers, when combined, produce enough energy to enable the electromagnetic launch of a railgun’s high-velocity projectile at speeds in excess of Mach 6.

“Directed energy has the potential to redefine military technology beyond missiles and our pulse power modules and containers will provide the tremendous amount of energy required to power applications like the Navy Railgun,” said Colin Whelan, vice president of Advanced Technology for Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business.

Raytheon’s pulse power container design is the result of work stemming from an initial $10 million contract with Naval Sea Systems Command to develop a pulsed power system, which will enable land or sea-based projectiles to reach great distances without the use of an explosive charge or rocket motor. Raytheon is one of three contractors developing a PPC design for the U.S. Navy.