Rail gun bullets move seven times the speed of sound. Laser beams fire at the speed of light. But Pentagon procurement? Not so fast. But with both Congress and the Navy Secretary expressing impatience, the Navy is accelerating its efforts to move both lasers and rail guns from the test phase into the fleet.
“We’ve got a laser weapon now in the Arabian Gulf, we’ve got a rail gun under development,” Sec. Ray Mabus said Thursday at the National Press Club. “We’ve got some gee-whiz scientific stuff going on. Part of my job, part of our job, is to get those from the lab to the warfighter quicker….That rail gun, we’ve been working on that since the eighties; we’re gonna put it on a ship and test it next year,” with operational deployment sometime in the future. That timeline, Mabus said, is “way too long.”