BAE Systems Building “Future Weapons” in Minneapolis
This is Part I of the North Star Post series on the local military industrial complex.
BAE Systems Inc. an international defense contractor is building what can only be described as future-weapons for the United States military. Components for these advanced weapons platforms are being designed, developed, and manufactured right here in Minneapolis. Just what is being created here? The BAE website calls them an, “entirely new gun that will change the Navy forever.”
The “gun” is more like a cannon, and the cannon is more like something you’d see in a science fiction flick. The proper name for the advanced weapons platform, soon to be tested and fielded by the US Navy, is an ‘Electromagnetic Railgun’ or EMRG for short, and it works right in accordance with it’s name. Instead of conventional cannons or missiles which use chemical propellants, the railgun uses electromagnetism to accelerate munitions down a tube and at a target. Since the round will be fired out of the railgun at such a tremendous velocity, there is no need for the round to carry explosives, and thus they are dubbed kinetic rounds.
The capabilities and specifics of this new era weapons platform are truly jaw dropping. The kinetic round, typically weighing 10kg, could potentially reach speeds of mach 10, or over 7,600 miles per hour. BAE representatives speaking publicly previously stated their prototype to fire around mach 7, which is still immensely faster than so-called conventional weapons systems such as artillery or missiles. This power enables the railgun to reach targets “in excess of 100 nautical miles” away, penetrate the defenses of those targets at Mach 5, according to the EMRG datasheet, and costs far less “per shot” than conventional armaments.
The components being worked on at the facility in Minneapolis, that the North Star Post can confirm, involve the Guided User Interface – the control system, and some high energy aspects of the project, most likely dealing with capacitors or energy-banks, which are immense for a railgun. This information can be found by visiting the BAE System’s website as the “Railgun is an extremely sensitive program” according to spokesperson Sarah Chadwick of BAE Systems, following instructions by their US Navy partners to deny a media inquiry from the Post.
Another question in the media inquiry, denied by the Navy, was “Why doesn’t the ‘Control Systems Engineer’ require a security clearance?” Given that relatively basic questions about the project were left unanswered by the Navy, it is unusual that an engineer on this project wouldn’t require at least a secret clearance. Some of these engineers may be aboard Naval vessels or at military facilities during the field testing phase.
The railgun is expected to be tested in 2016 and eventually phased into the Naval Fleet sometime after that. This project, like similar advancements in weaponry from other branches of the US military are so far ahead of anything our potential enemies could wield people are asking questions about the need for such a weapon and the development costs.
Twin Cities radio personality Joey Vincent of the progressive radio station AM950 and notable anti-war commentator had this to say, “There will never be anything close to peace as long as there is so much profit in war… That’s why we don’t ‘win’ wars anymore. Once you win, production stops.”