Japan Working on Multi-purpose Railgun

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Japan Working on Multi-purpose Railgun
Japan has revealed the concept of a multi-purpose railgun projected to be used in Anti-Surface and Anti-Air Warfare missions.

A prototype was tested earlier from a JMSDF ship’s deck in October 2023, with the round reaching a velocity of Mach 6.5. In August 2023, 23.8 billion ¥ (About 164.3 million $) was requested to continue railgun development.
Railgun to be developed for operational use is projected to be used on land platforms as artillery and naval platforms as a multifunctional weapon. Aside from rigid ammunition, airburst ammunition will be developed to engage missiles and aircraft at short to medium ranges. 
Compared to modern airburst rounds, the considerably higher velocity of a railgun round can make fragmentations more lethal due to higher pre-airburst velocities—however, little time to target and electromagnetic effects upon firing come as prime problems for programmed ammunition.
Most countries developing railguns have a velocity goal for operational systems between Mach 6-8. This will allow both a more extended range and increased lethality. Projectiles at hypersonic speeds will likely excel against hardened targets like bunkers and warships.
Additionally, railgun ammunition is designed with reduced drag and fin stabilisation, which will heavily reduce dispersion coupled with a short time to target.

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The U.S., China, Turkiye, French-German Research Institute of Saint-Louis (ISL) and Russia are known to have projects in the railgun field aside from Japan. Due to high energy requirements, for the time being, there isn’t a pressure to introduce the railguns operationally. 

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Aside from energy requirements, mechanical issues such as friction and heating due to the extreme speeds of railgun components are also present. For that reason, most prototypes have a rate of fire lower than current artilleries and naval guns.
The U.S. has developed multiple prototypes with BAE Systems and General Dynamics. BAE Systems developed a large 32 MJ railgun; meanwhile, General Dynamics took a scalable approach with 3 to 32 MJ prototypes. The U.S. Navy recently toned down its efforts on development temporarily due to excessive energy requirements to put the railguns on warships.
China put a railgun prototype on a landing ship with components taking up nearly the whole deck.
Turkiye has three companies working on railguns: ASELSAN cooperates with TÜBİTAK SAGE, while Urban Defence works alone. ASELSAN is working on the TUFAN railgun with the goal of usage on land and naval platforms. Urban Defence has developed two prototypes under the title ŞAHİ-209. Prototype Block 1 can propel 16 mm rounds at Mach 3 with a muzzle energy of 1 MJ. The second prototype, closer to an envisioned operational system, can fire the larger armour-piercing/impact fuze 35 mm rounds at Mach 6 with a muzzle energy of 10 MJ. Neither company has made any statements regarding progress since 2021.


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