The US Navy has been developing an insanely powerful railgun, which it hopes will eventually replace the massive deck guns currently fitted aboard its ships, Business Insider reported.
There are plans to deploy a prototype electromagnetic railgun aboard the Spearhead-class joint high-speed vessel USNS Trenton for at-sea testing in mid-2016.
The tests will assess the weapon's firepower capabilities against floating static targets at a distance of 40-80km using GPS-guided hyper-velocity projectiles (HVPs).
The railgun substitutes electromagnetic propulsion for gunpowder launching HVPs at six times the speed of sound (9000 km/h) over distances of more than 180km.
The speed and force at which the HVPs hit targets is so powerful that there's no need for them to be armed with explosives.
This also reduces the need for ships to carry high explosives and eliminates the danger of unexploded ordnance remaining on the battlefield.
The gun made its public debut at the Navy's Future Force Science and Technology Expo in Washington earlier this year. One Navy official was quoted as likening the impact of the railgun to that of "a freight train going through the wall at 100 miles an hour."