BAE Systems boosts railgun efforts with acquisition of IAP research

In an effort to accelerate progress on the electromagnetic railgun development, BAE Systems announced the acquisition of Ohio-based IAP Research.

Prior to the acquisition, IAP Research was a major BAE Systems subcontractor on the U.S. Navy-led development of an electromagnetic (EM) railgun.

The Dayton team, which is part of BAE’s weapons systems business, has more than 35 years of specialized experience, focused on the development and production of electromagnetic launchers, power electronics, and advanced materials. The addition of IAP also positions BAE Systems to pursue other business opportunities in advanced weapon systems, the company said.

“We look forward to leveraging our combined workforces and long-standing strategic partnership,” said Erwin Bieber, president of Platforms & Services.

BAE Systems hopes this acquisition will help their efforts in the EM Railgun engineering and manufacturing development. The new technology uses high-power electromagnetic energy instead of explosive chemical propellants to launch projectiles farther and faster than any previous system.

When fully weaponized, the gun will deliver hypervelocity projectiles to support the U.S. Marines, ground forces, and ship defense. And at full capability, if mounted on U.S. naval vessels, it will be able to fire a projectile 100 nautical miles at very high speeds — to include a launch velocity of up to Mach 7.5 and at Mach 5 when impacting a target.

USNS Millinocket was supposed to be the first U.S. Navy ship fitted with the gun. However, these plans did not materialize and the same happened with plans to equip the newest stealth destroyer USS Zumwalt with the system.

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


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