The U.S. Navy is testing its new electromagnetic rail gun that military officials and researchers have described the as “Star Wars” technology.
The weapon can destroy targets up to 125 miles away without stockpiling ammunition and fire projectiles that go 4,500 miles per hour, Newsweek reported.
It can also break concrete from 100 miles away.
According to the Office of Naval Research website, these missiles are fueled solely by electricity and do not require the use of chemical propellants.
The weapon uses magnetic fields framed by two rails to launch the projectiles.
“Using its extreme speed on impact, the kinetic energy warhead eliminates the hazards of high explosives in the ship and unexploded ordnance on the battlefield,” the Office of Naval Research explains.
The Office of Naval Research posted its video on YouTube, where it shows the cannon blasting away in various directions.
“[It] will give our adversaries a huge moment of pause to go: ‘Do I even want to go engage a naval ship?’” former Rear Admiral Matt Klunder, then the chief of Naval Research, told Wired back in 2014 when the Navy introduced plans to implement the weapon. “Frankly, we think it might be the right time for them to know what we’ve been doing behind closed doors in a ‘Star Wars’ fashion. It’s now reality. It’s not science fiction. It’s real and you can look at it.”
The U.S. Navy has been developing the gun with BAE Systems since 2005, the Daily Mail reported.
It cost $250 million to develop the weapon as part of the Navy’s so-called “future weapon system.”
“The railgun is a true warfighter game changer. Wide-area coverage, exceptionally quick response and very deep magazines will extend the reach and lethality of ships armed with this technology,” the Navy explains on its website.
Office of Naval Research spokesman Robert Freeman told U.S. News and World Report in 2016 that the electromagnetic gun could “tear through sheets of metal” and eliminate the need to carry gunpowder aboard ships.
“Our need to carry gunpowder with us is a big vulnerability to our ships,” he said. “A rail gun could eliminate that need.”