High performance electromagnetic railgun launcher

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Dennis R. Peterson
William F. Weldon
John H. Gully
Raymond C. Zowarka, Jr.
Damon A. Weeks
Mike L. Spann
Jim L. Upshaw

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United States Patent and Trademark Office


A railgun operates at high pressure (up to 350 MPa) without structural damage and is readily disassembled for inspection, maintenance and component testing. A rail assembly is pressed into a hoop-wound epoxy fiberglass containment tube and clamped within a steel compression frame. The geometry of the rail assembly permits rail movement without insulator intrusion and achieves bore sealing during rail movement at maximum pressure. The rail assembly also has replaceable insulator inserts which are isolated from rail re-bound shock. Fused quartz insulator inserts provide the best results. A flash tube is provided at the gun muzzle to suppress precursor discharge and commutate precursor current back to the armature. To realize increased velocity without sacrificing in-bore projectile stability, a cut-corner projectile is used having a L/D ratio as small as 0.65 which reduces the mass by about 11%.



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