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Navy unveils $250 million 'rail gun' weapons project

A $250 million Navy project could change the way the U.S. fights wars. The Navy has unveiled a new electromagnetic "rail gun."

It's a long-range weapon that fires projectiles using electricity generated by ships, instead of gunpowder. Naval researchers compare its force to that of a freight train slamming into a building at 100 miles per hour.

"It can shoot down ballistic missiles, it can shoot down very advanced cruise missiles, and it can shoot down fast-moving aircraft. It's extremely safe and it's extremely effective," Chief of Naval Research Mathew I. Klunder.

The projectile travels at more than 5,000 miles an hour. That's like going from San Francisco to San Diego in one minute. The rail gun costs a fraction of the cost of traditional missiles at $25,000.

It's scheduled for more testing through 2016.
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