Installation and Testing of a High L’ Laminated Railgun
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In December 1993, the Center of Electromechanics at The University of Texas at Austin (CEM-UT) completed construction of an high L‘ railgun for the 9 IMJ Range Gun System Program. The 90 mm bore railgun utilizes dispersion strengthened copper rails and incorporates a laminated stainless steel containment structure and filament wound fiber epoxy composite overwrap. In January 1994, the railgun was installed at The Electric Armaments Research Center (EARC) at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey for testing on the 52 MJ capacitor bank power supply. The test program at EARC was designed to allow full 2.8 MA current testing of the railgun, breech connection, and flexible hexapolar cable bus system during completion of the 9 MJ Range Gun System compulsator. The EARC test program allows evaluation of the launcher and flexible bus components prior to the range test program at the Yuma Proving Ground electric gun test facility, and provides empirical data for concurrent design of other railguns incorporating laminated containment structures. This paper will describe installation of the railgun into the EARC facility and discuss performance of the railgun and flexible hexapolar cable bus system during testing. The hexapolar cables have been tested to 34 kV and are rated for a nominal current of 200 kA, per cable, and the flexible bus system and breech connection have repeatedly performed successfully at gigawatt power levels. The paper will also present the results of the railgun test program firing two variations of the sabot launched electric gun kinetic energy (SLEKE) projectiles along with an evaluation of the performance of the dispersion strengthened copper rails with transitioning solid armatures. This effort is being funded by the U.S. Army Armament Research Development and Engineering Center under contract number DAAA2 1 -86-C-0281.