- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The U.S. Navy is planning to test out a new weapon on the sea that’s equipped with “Star Wars”-type technology and that fires at seven times the speed of sound, researchers said.

Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, chief of Naval Research, said the Navy’s newest electromagnetic rail gun has already gone through quite a bit of land-based testing — but now it’s ready to hit the water, via a mount on the USNS Millinocket, Newsmax reported. Sea tests are set to kick off in 2016, he said.

“It’s now reality, and it’s not science fiction,” Adm. Klunder said in the media outlet. “It’s actually real. You can look at it. It’s firing. It will help us in air defense, it will help us in cruise missile defense, it will help us in ballistic missile defense.”

One other plus: The rail gun costs significantly less than a missile.

Adm. Klunder said a rail-gun projectile runs about $25,000, versus a missile, which comes in between $500,000 and $1.5 million, Newsmax reported. That’s a big selling point for the Pentagon, which is trying to balance the reality of tight budgets with the security need to keep up with the latest technological wartime developments.

“That … will give our adversaries a huge moment of pause to go: ‘Do I even want to go engage a naval ship?’ You could throw anything at us, frankly, and that fact that we now can shoot a number of these rounds at a very affordable cost, it’s my opinion that they don’t win.”

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