Japan sends experts to U.S. for railgun development

Japan sends experts to U.S. for railgun development

Japan’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) has dispatched personnel to the U.S. Navy to advance the development of railguns, as revealed on the 21st.

This initiative aims to leverage U.S. expertise to expedite the practical application of railguns, according to multiple government sources.

Previously disclosed information revealed Japan’s development of a medium railgun, capable of launching a 320g projectile at an astounding initial velocity of 2,230m/s (Mach 6.5). The railgun’s remarkable endurance of over 120 rounds and its current charge energy standing at 5MJ showcase the technology’s prowess, with ambitions set for future advancements, aiming towards a 20MJ charge energy.

ATLA began developing railguns in the 2016 fiscal year and conducted the world’s first offshore firing test using a Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel in 2023, targeting early practical deployment.

Railguns, which use electromagnetic force to launch projectiles at high speeds, offer a lower-cost alternative to traditional gunpowder-based artillery and are harder to intercept. They are considered a potential game-changer by the Self-Defense Forces, with potential applications in ground and naval attacks and missile interception. However, challenges remain in improving accuracy and miniaturizing the equipment.

Since November 2023, ATLA has stationed a research officer with the U.S. Navy’s research institutions, where the officer has been gathering insights from those involved in railgun research and inspecting facilities. The current term ends in June, after which ATLA plans to consider sending additional personnel.

This collaboration underscores Japan’s commitment to advancing its defense capabilities through international cooperation and cutting-edge technology.

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