Notices
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Launching nuclear warheads with railguns

  1. #1 Launching nuclear warheads with railguns 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    46
    Hi! In a video game series ''Metal Gear'' there is this walking tank named ''Metal Gear REX'' which can launch nuclear warheads with a railgun at 100km/s. The reason in the game for using a railgun to launch nukes is that there won't be any propellant used which makes the warhead invisible to radars and second reason is that it bypasses treaties limiting the number of rockets for carrying the warheads and a third reason is that a walking tank carrying the warheads makes the nuclear weapons a lot more mobile. So does launching nuclear warheads with railguns sound like a feasible idea?


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Scunthorpe, UK
    Posts
    10,657
    It certainly won't affect the radar visibility.
    It MAY affect the on-board electronics - the initial launch g-forces would be horrendous 1.
    It wouldn't get round any treaty - all that would happen is that ALL rail guns would be classified as nuclear-capable.
    Why would nuclear weapons need to be "a lot more mobile"? You can hit practically any spot on Earth from a fixed site anyway.

    In short it's yet another "Ooh let's do it this way because I think it's cool, and bugger the practicalities" piece of nonsense.

    1 Although there have been tube (i.e. gun) fired nuke warheads, but certainly not at speeds of 100 km/ sec.


    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    46
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    It certainly won't affect the radar visibility.It MAY affect the on-board electronics - the initial launch g-forces would be horrendous 1.It wouldn't get round any treaty - all that would happen is that ALL rail guns would be classified as nuclear-capable.Why would nuclear weapons need to be "a lot more mobile"? You can hit practically any spot on Earth from a fixed site anyway.In short it's yet another "Ooh let's do it this way because I think it's cool, and bugger the practicalities" piece of nonsense.1 Although there have been tube (i.e. gun) fired nuke warheads, but certainly not at speeds of 100 km/ sec.
    In Metal Gear the nuclear weapons were wanted to be more mobile because nuclear warheads carried by Metal Gears aren't as easy to be spotted by a satellite than a walking tank that is that is only 12m tall and 18,5 m long. So they served also as a second option for retaliatory strike if all nuclear silos, etc... were lost. And if I recall correctly REX had a running speed of 144 kilometers per hour and it could move through all kinds of terrain making it possible to transport the warheads throughout a thick forest at the speed of 144km/h. And how much recoil would a railgun firing a projectile that would weigh 862kg (the weight of mk.23 nuke) to 100 kilometers per second have when REX itself weighs around 505 metric tons and the railgun is 18,5 meters long.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Scunthorpe, UK
    Posts
    10,657
    Quote Originally Posted by Tyzuris Coronati View Post
    In Metal Gear the nuclear weapons were wanted to be more mobile because ...
    ... the game designers thought it would be cool and don't have bother about things like engineering problems in the real world.
    It's that simple.

    And how much recoil would a railgun firing a projectile that would weigh 862kg (the weight of mk.23 nuke) to 100 kilometers per second have when REX itself weighs around 505 metric tons and the railgun is 18,5 meters long.
    Actual recoil has nothing to do with the weight of the vehicle (that's felt recoil).
    Knock yourself out: http://www.utexas.edu/research/cem/I...blications.pdf, but, roughly:

    Given your figures of 862 kg and 100 km/ sec then transmitted recoil is, surprisingly, 862 x 100,000 = 86200000.
    This would mean that the gun (if fixed rigidly to the vehicle) imparts a rearwards velocity of 170.7 m/ sec = ~382 mph to the vehicle.
    This could be mitigated by recoil absorbers, but...
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    1,969
    Quote Originally Posted by Tyzuris Coronati View Post
    Hi! In a video game series ''Metal Gear'' there is this walking tank named ''Metal Gear REX'' which can launch nuclear warheads with a railgun at 100km/s. The reason in the game for using a railgun to launch nukes is that there won't be any propellant used which makes the warhead invisible to radars and second reason is that it bypasses treaties limiting the number of rockets for carrying the warheads and a third reason is that a walking tank carrying the warheads makes the nuclear weapons a lot more mobile. So does launching nuclear warheads with railguns sound like a feasible idea?
    Not really.

    1) Energy required would far surpass any amount of energy available in a mobile supply
    2) Reaction would knock over any walking vehicle
    3) It wouldn't do a thing to reduce radar visibility
    4) Warheads would have to be significantly redesigned to accommodate the thousands of G's and megawatts of friction heating they would see
    5) Sure seems like a submarine would have a lot more mobility than a giant walking tank. Submarines can cover 70% of the Earth.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Forum Sophomore Phlogistician's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    156
    If I did the maths right, the nuke experiences 2,7550,486g That presents some engineering challenges, and would use so much energy there'd be a thermal bloom visible to satellites just like a rocket launch would be.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Forum Freshman Brian Foley's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    37
    Quote Originally Posted by Tyzuris Coronati View Post
    So does launching nuclear warheads with railguns sound like a feasible idea?
    Does not make any sense to fire them from a rail gun open to aerial surveillance and an easily sabotaged or bombed static rail network, when you have undersea submarines and aircraft to launch atomic tipped cruise missiles.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    24
    for some reason I imagined a nuke with railguns attached to it firing them all as it was heading to its target.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,046
    100,000 meters per second? I'm American, so I had to get Google to convert that into miles per hour before I could perceive the enormity of it. That's 223,694 miles per hour.

    I think the warhead would get burnt to a crisp by atmospheric drag the moment it left the rail gun's barrel. Consider how much heat shielding was needed for the Space Shuttle when it reentered the atmosphere after going into space, and that it only entered the upper atmosphere at 8,200 meters per second.

    Space Shuttle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    5,305
    Still it's a nice gesture that stomping through forests at 144 klicks while firing nukes from its fists, ''Metal Gear REX" was designed not to break any arms treaties.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
    Reply With Quote  
     

Similar Threads

  1. Nuclear Renaissance
    By The Finger Prince in forum Environmental Issues
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: November 29th, 2011, 06:21 PM
  2. NUCLEAR BATTLESHIP! Get Yours Now!
    By The Finger Prince in forum Military Technology
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: November 10th, 2011, 02:54 AM
  3. Railguns
    By rp181 in forum Physics
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: October 27th, 2009, 05:34 PM
  4. Giant Magnetic Launching Device
    By newkid in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: August 22nd, 2009, 03:37 AM
  5. Nuclear power
    By Djagkho in forum Philosophy
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: March 13th, 2008, 07:55 AM
Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •