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YOKOSUKA, Japan — The Navy test-fired its new electromagnetic railgun at a U.S. test facility this week in preparation for a two-month evaluation of the weapon’s capabilities, according to a Navy news release.

The Office of Naval Research will conduct a series of tests over the next two months to determine the effectiveness of EM railguns against surface, air and ground targets, the release said.

The railgun uses magnetic fields instead of chemicals to launch projectiles at speeds ranging from 4,500 mph to 5,600 mph, according to the Office of Naval Research.

The prototype railgun arrived at the test facility in Dahlgren, Va., on Jan. 30. Another railgun is scheduled for delivery in April.

The Navy’s goal is to produce a 20- to 30-megajoule weapon capable of firing 50 to 100 nautical miles. One megajoule of energy is equivalent to a 1-ton car traveling at 100 mph.


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