On paper the Pentagon’s “Railgun” looks good, but can it hit a Meteorite in time to save Earth from total destruction? In the 1950s, Jerry Pournelle imagined what the equivalent of the extinction of dinosaurs for the military would be. Pournelle, a US Army veteran, was Boeing operations researcher after the Manhattan Project and the first lightning unclear test of the Soviet Union. He envisioned a weapons system that did not have chemical explosive or munitions, but instead huge metal rods that would be dropped from heights that were sub-orbital. The New York Times labeled them ‘tungsten bolts’ and predicted that they would have the power to impact the strongholds of the enemies—without any fear of nuclear fallout.
Pournelle’s weapon was ultimately given the name Project Thor, but earned the nickname ‘Rods from Gods.’ The weapon is able to operate without complex systems or harsh chemicals and has the power to destroy everything in its path. These times of weapons have been used by the military for decades in the form of kinetic energy penetrators (KEPs). These were shells in an outer shell specially designed to be fired a high velocity instead of being dropped out of the sky, however. But the same idea is behind them: hit the enemy with a dense object that is moving remarkably fast and incredibly hard.
KEP was tested in 2013. The US Air Force 846th Test Squadron and civilian researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory test-fired a kinetic energy projectile that traveled at around 3,500 feet per second—three times the speed of sound. More recently, the Pentagon has tested out electromagnetic rain guns with hypervelocity projectiles. The Navy is hoping that a completed canon will be able to launch shells six times the speed of sound.
According to Matt Weingart, a weapons program development manager, KEPs have a certain kind of elegance. The biggest difference they present is the ability to arrive at a given target, with an energy that required no chemical explosives to accelerate them. The bottom line? The bigger the mass, the more damage the weapon will cause.
If implemented, the solution could also be a cost-effective one. For the time being, however, the applications are simply theoretical. But if kinetic energy projectiles eventually make their way into warfare, some believe they have a chance at beating the MOAB as the Pentagon’s most violent non-nuclear weapon.
Source: Disclose.tv, nkradio