The U.S. Navy said it generated on Thursday the strongest-ever force of its kind used to fire a futuristic weapon designed to boost naval gunfire range more than 10 times by 2020.
The Office of Naval Research said it had demonstrated a “revolutionary” technology that could turn U.S. warships into super-long-range machine guns capable of firing relatively inexpensive rounds with near pinpoint accuracy.
Development of the so-called electromagnetic railgun began in earnest in 2006 under contracts awarded to BAE Systems and closely held General Atomics, which produces the Predator family of remotely piloted aircraft.
The system, when fully developed, would send an electric current along parallel rails to shoot a shell more than 200 nautical miles, or 230 miles, at seven times the speed of sound and within five meters of the target. Conventional guns, by contrast, rely on chemical powders to launch projectiles.
PRIME Minister Gordon Brown has said the building of two Royal Navy aircraft carriers at Rosyth Dockyards is still going ahead, but has refused to commit to a timescale.
Recent reports suggested there may be delays in the £3.9 billion project to assemble the “supercarriers” at Rosyth.
In the House of Commons yesterday, Dunfermline and West Fife MP Willie Rennie asked why the contracts for the job had still not been signed, even though the Defence Secretary announced the go-ahead last July.
Mr Brown replied that the Government was still committed to assembling the ships at the Fife yard, although he would not be drawn on when work will start.
French navy warship has intercepted a Liberian-flagged fishing vessel carrying 2.5 tonnes of cocaine in waters off the West African coast, a United Nations anti-narcotics official has said.
It was the biggest cocaine seizure so far this year off West Africa, which has increasingly become a trans-shipment point favoured by Latin American drug cartels because of weak local law enforcement and its long largely unsupervised coastline.
In this growing trafficking corridor, the drugs are flown or shipped across the Atlantic and then on to markets in Europe.
The Blue Atlantic and its nine Ghanaian crew members were detained by the French navy vessel Tonnerre on Wednesday, 520 km south west of the Liberian capital Monrovia, Amado de Andres, deputy representative for West Africa of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told Reuters.