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Japan continues development of railguns, despite doubts over their effectiveness

15th May 2023 - 23:58 GMT | by Koji Miyake in Tokyo


This is a prototype of the 40mm-calibre railgun that Japan has been testing. (Photo: ATLA)

Japan continues to invest in railguns, even though questions remain over their practical utility.

Japan has developed a prototype medium railgun of 40mm calibre to research how to achieve higher initial velocity and longer barrel life.

This medium railgun can fire a projectile weighing 320g with an initial velocity of 2,230m/s (Mach 6.5). The rail’s endurance is more than 120 rounds, and the current charge energy is 5MJ, although Japan’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) is aiming for 20MJ in the future.

The ATLA's Ground Systems Research Centre (GSRC) began basic research on a small 16mm-calibre railgun in 1990. 

Then, in May 2022, the GSRC concluded a JPY6.5 billion ($47.9 million) contract with Japan Steel

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Koji Miyake


Koji Miyake

Koji Miyake is a Tokyo-based writer.

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