Airborne Awesomosity

Flight Plan

Photo Mar 07, 10 05 00 AM

We love the SR-71 here at Atomic Toasters Galactic Command. As well we should. It’s damn sexy. Twenty three years ago yesterday, the SR-71 was first retired from the US Air Force, before pulling a Michael Jordan. It had one last record-setting flight.

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Atomic Awesome, Big Complicated Machines

Velocitas Eradico

bae_railgunz

The Navy has a new gun to play with

Good morning everyone.

The image above is a prototype of what could possibly be the future in the long line of powerful naval weapons: a railgun. This is not to be confused with “railway guns”, such as the huge cannons that the Germans made in WWI and WWII that had to be moved on railroad cars. A railgun, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is a device that uses a huge amount of electrical power to fire a projectile at incredible speed at targets up to hundreds of miles away. Up until the last couple of decades, weapons such as this have been largely a matter of theory, with just small test models being built, but the Navy has been working on making it a practical reality, although they’ve been having a tough time selling it to Congress, but they’ve been working hard and have gotten a reprieve.

The Navy is making tangible progress, however. In December of 2010 they set a record for the world’s most powerful railgun by launching a 23 pound projectile at 5,500 feet per second using 33 megajoules of electrical energy, or about 1.5 million amps, stored in several very large capacitor arrays (some of my favourite things). The railgun used isn’t the one pictured above, but an earlier model one in the picture below,  after the jump.

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