The Japanese Ministry of Defense is planning to strengthen the country’s defense capabilities by developing and deploying electromagnetic guns capable of shooting down hypersonic weapons.
The Japanese government has set aside 6.5 billion yen ($56 million) this fiscal year to develop a prototype railgun-based counter-hypersonic weapon system, Nikkei Asia revealed, citing sources
The development of the electromagnetic air defense system will be finished by the end of the current decade. Japan is expected to deploy its first new weapon by 2030.
A projectile generated a speed of 2,300 meters (7,546 feet) per second during the research phase, nearly 600 meters (1,968 feet) per second faster than current intercept systems, the outlet added.
This weapon system allows to adjust the speed of the projectile through the adjustment of the amount of power, to be compatible with the speed of the missile to be intercepted.
The developers intend to add this electromagnetic gun to the country’s multi-layered interceptor missile system, combined with long-range missiles.
The concept of an electromagnetic gun is not new and several countries, including the US and China, have been testing the weapon for several years now. “India” was the first to get into this highly futuristic weapon programme. In 1994, India’s DRDO‘s Armament Research and Development Establishment developed a railgun with a 240 kJ, low inductance capacitor bank operating at 5 kV power able to launch projectiles of 3–3.5 g weight to a velocity of more than 2,000 m/s.
However, no country has yet to mass produce electromagnetic guns. Because these guns require advanced materials that can generate strong magnetic fields that easily conduct electricity.
The shotguns also consume a huge amount of energy per shot. Therefore, it poses a challenge for manufacturers how to reduce power consumption or create small energy capacitors but must have enough capacity so that it can become a mobile cannon.
Japan is confident that its domestic advanced material technology can fully meet the above challenges.
The information about the electromagnetic gun comes in the context of the Japanese government condemning North Korea’s missile launch on January 5.