ARLINGTON, Va., July 1 (UPI) -- A Phase 2 contract for development of the Electromagnetic Railgun has been given to BAE Systems by the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research.
The award, under the Navy's Innovative Naval Prototype program, is worth $34.5 million. Initial prototype launchers are to be delivered next year.
"We're committed to developing this innovative and game changing technology that will revolutionize naval warfare," said Chris Hughes, vice president and general manager of Weapon Systems at BAE Systems. "The Railgun's ability to defend against enemy threats from distances greater than ever before improves the capabilities of our armed forces."
The EM Railgun uses high-power electromagnetic energy instead of explosive chemical propellants to launch a projectile. When fully weaponized, a Railgun will deliver hyper-velocity projectiles to the target.
Phase 2 of EM Railgun development aims to advance the technology by maturing the launcher and pulsed power from a single shot operation to a multi-shot capability. Auto-loading and thermal management systems will also be incorporated.
BAE Systems said work on the contract will be conducted at a facility in Minnesota and that IAP Research and SAIC will help in the development effort.