WIT Press

Long Range Electromagnetic Cannon


Free (open access)








638 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


E. Schmidt & J. Tzeng


Electromagnetic (EM) railguns offer the potential to fire projectiles at velocities up to 6 km/s. This could conceivably permit ballistic trajectories to reach very long ranges, perhaps 1000 km or more. To deliver a payload of interest and survive the aerothermal environment associated with hypervelocity, sea level launch, the projectile would need to be quite large, 500–1000 Kg. This in turn implies a launcher of prodigious size and mass. This paper examines the nature of an electromagnetic cannon required to achieve such capabilities. Keywords: electromagnetic launch, rail guns, hypervelocity flight, long range artillery. 1 Introduction Historically, there has been a continuing interest in long range cannons. During the First World War, Germany [1] employed the 210 mm, K12(E), Paris Gun with a maximum range of 115 km. In the Second World War, they fielded the 800 mm Gustav cannon with a range of 47 km. The cannon was transported in pieces and assembled on two parallel railway tracks by a crew of 1200 men. Naval artillery also illustrates this trend as the bore size of guns on battleships grew throughout the Twentieth Century culminating in the 460 mm guns on the Japanese Yamato class with a range of 40 km. With the advances in aircraft and missile capabilities, long range delivery of ordnance became routine and interest in very large calibre guns has waned. However, the cost of missiles and risk of manned delivery are of concern. Thus, worldwide efforts to increase the range of conventional artillery, e.g., 155 mm, have lead to the introduction of technologies such as base bleed, rocket assist, and gliding trajectories stretching ranges out to nearly 100 km. At the Electromagnetic Launch Symposium in May 2006 in Potsdam, Germany, MG Nadeau (Commander, US Army RDECOM) challenged the


electromagnetic launch, rail guns, hypervelocity flight, long range artillery.