The US Navy 'Star Wars' Weapon - Fires Missiles At Mach 3 From Existing Guns

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US Navy's 'Star Wars' weapon can can fire missiles 3 times the speed of sound | Daily Mail Online

A radical new weapon that can fire a shell at mach three and use existing warship guns is believed developed by the US Navy.

The new guided rounds were originally designed as part of the Navy's railgun project, which will fire them at mach 5 - but is not expected to be available until 2025.

However, Navy bosses now believe they can adapt the projectiles to be fired through normal guns - albeit at a slower Mach 3 speed.

Naval Sea Systems Command are now in early testing phases of using the planned hyper velocity projectile (HVPs) with the service's existing gunpowder-based deck guns found on almost every U.S. Navy surface ship, NAVSEA told USNI News.

The new projectiles will be more than double the speed of an unguided regular shell from the service's Mk 45 five-inch gun found on its guided missile cruisers and destroyers, according to information from NAVSEA.

Navy bosses hope that by using existing guns, they can bring the weapons online far sooner.

According to NAVSEA, the service is also investigating using HVP in larger guns than the MK 45.

'The round is being designed to be compatible with multiple guns in the U.S. inventory,' read the NAVSEA statement to USNI News.

Both BAE Systems and General Atomics have worked with the service on railgun and projectile technology, though NAVSEA did not specify any companies working on the effort.

'This is a government-led effort, and we are working to involve a number of different defense contractors at this stage,' NAVSEA said.

A BAE Systems designed railgun will undergo a first round of at-sea testing next year.

Warships can carry dozens of conventional missiles, which cost around £600,000 each, but could be loaded with hundreds of railgun projectiles, at only £15,000 each.

The projectiles, Hyper Velocity Projectiles, are also under development by BAE.