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'PR Trick': New US Hypersonic Projectile Not Yet a 'Superweapon'

CC0 / / A photograph taken from a high-speed video camera during a railgun firing at the Naval Surface Warfare Center on January 31, 2008
A photograph taken from a high-speed video camera during a  railgun firing at the Naval Surface Warfare Center on January 31, 2008 - Sputnik International
The Pentagon is accelerating the development of its high-tech electromagnetic Hyper Velocity Projectile (HVP), the website Scout Warrior reported citing Pentagon officials.

US Navy Railgun - Sputnik International
US Navy Tests Electromagnetic Railgun That Shoots Projectiles at 4,500 MPH
Initially designed for the Navy’s Rail Gun Weapon, the HVP can now fire from existing weapons platforms such as a howitzer.

"Pentagon weapons developers are working to further accelerate development of both the gun launcher and the hypervelocity projectile it fires. While plans for the weapon’s development are still being deliberated, ongoing work is developing integration and firing of the projectile onto existing Navy’s deck-mounted 5-inch guns or Army M109 Paladin self-propelled howitzer," the article read.

The railgun is capable of firing the HVP at a distance of up to 160-180 kilometers at speeds of some 8,000 kmh, using an electromagnetic current. Due to its ability to reach hypersonic speeds, the HVP destroys targets with kinetic energy, instead of explosives. By the 2020s, the navy expects to mount railguns on DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers and cruisers.

However, according to Russian military expert and journalist Alexei Leonkov, it is too early to claim that the Pentagon has created a "superweapon."

"Previously, such projectiles have already been test-fired from the railgun. They made just two shots and said they had a superweapon. But the railgun is very expensive. The Zumwalt destroyer was designed so it can carry a railgun, but there are still some problems with the ship. Maybe, this is why the projectile is being tested on howitzers," Leonkov told Radio Sputnik.

The future USS Zumwalt Navy destroyer - Sputnik International
US Navy Builds Third Stealth Zumwalt Destroyer Despite Embarrassing Breakdowns
Moreover, the expert noted that despite the fact that the firing distance has been improved there is no saying about   accuracy.

Leonkov said that for now reports about the HVP being fired from a howitzer are PR rather than actual achievements.

"If a projectile is very inaccurate it is not a high-precision weapon. It is a stray shell. So far, this is nothing but a PR trick. Before making judgments, it is necessary to see this weapon in action," the expert concluded.


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