Electromagnetic Launcher
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Basic Information

Electromagnetic Launchers1 are a category of ranged weapon which shoot their projectiles by accelerating them in an electromagnetic field. They are not to be confused with electromagnetic pulse weapons which do not fire projectiles.

This category includes the railgun, coilgun and Gauss gun, all of which use the same principle but differ in their engineering.

As far as weapons go, these are still at the demonstrator technology stage - there are experimental railguns and coilguns available but for the time being most are still too heavy and power hungry to be practical.

Potentially these weapons offer a range of benefits - from muzzle velocities far above those possible with modern propellants to silent, flashless shooting. And possibly the ability to toggle between the two2. Being propellant free E-mag weapons also promise to be safer (without the risk of propellant fires) and to have reduced ammunition mass. Railgun designs can currently only cope with kinetic rounds but various coil guns have been tested for applications including mortars and the launching of missiles.

In science fiction this category also includes mass drivers - potential weapons of mass destruction used to fire large pieces of space debris, usually onto a planet's surface from orbit.

Non-combat roles for this technology include launching personnel and equipment into orbit - railguns tend to be more violent and are only suitable for robust, unmanned loads but several coilgun designs have been put forward to put delicate equpiment and even humans into earth orbit.


1. The Other Wiki onRailguns
2. …and on coilguns.
2. full source reference

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