Video: Navy Railgun Sets New Record, Launching A Metal Bullet To Mach 7 Speeds

Railgun Test

U.S. Navy

The Navy just broke its own record for an awesomely powerful railgun, which can hurl a projectile hundreds of miles at superfast speeds without using explosives.

Today's 33-megajoule shot — powerful enough to launch 33 Smart cars at 100 mph — means the Navy can fire projectiles at least 125 miles, keeping military personnel at a safe distance from their targets, according to the Office of Naval Research.

Rather than using an explosion to fire a bullet, the futuristic weapon uses an electromagnetic current to accelerate a projectile to March 7.5. The video pretty much says it all.

The eventual goal is a ship-mounted railgun that can fire a projectile more than 200 miles at speeds of more than 8,000 feet per second. A kinetic energy warhead would eliminate the use of hazardous explosives on ships and on the battlefield, the Navy says.

Today's test beats the Navy's previous record, set in 2008. The old video is still pretty impressive.