The U.S. militaries most powerful cannon isn’t what you’d expect. Where most modern projectile-firing weapons rely on gunpowder in order to tear across the sky and through their target, this railgun uses an electromagnetic pulse.

It’s surprising to hear, but this railgun is capable of firing projectiles at Mach VII, can hit a target over 100 miles away with accuracy and needs just one sailor to operate.

“The electromagnetic railgun represents an incredible new offensive capability for the U.S. Navy,” Rear Adm. Bryant Fuller, the Navy’s chief engineer, said in a statement. “This capability will allow us to effectively counter a wide-range of threats at a relatively low cost, while keeping our ships and sailors safer by removing the need to carry as many high-explosive weapons.”

Instead of relying on giant missiles that potentially cost millions of dollars each, these 18-inch projectiles cost only $25,000 and are capable of being stocked by the hundreds.

“[It] will give our adversaries a huge moment of pause to go: ‘Do I even want to go engage a naval ship?’” Rear Admiral Matt Klunder told reporters. “Because you are going to lose. You could throw anything at us, frankly, and the fact that we now can shoot a number of these rounds at a very affordable cost, it’s my opinion that they don’t win.”


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