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Turkey Develops Second Electromagnetic Railgun; Weapon to be Seen at IDEF 2017

By Arthur Dominic J. Villasanta , | April 21, 2017

Railgun made by ASELSAN being test fired.

Railgun made by ASELSAN being test fired.

AnotherTurkish defense firm is building an electromagnetic railgun it plans to have the Turkish Army use as a weapon to bombard land targets and as an air defense weapon.

Turkey's second railgun hurled a projectile at a speed six times faster than sound in its first test-firing, according to Turkish media. The weapon was developed by ASELSAN, a leading defense contractor based in Ankara that designs, develops and manufactures modern electronic systems for military and industrial customers. ASELSAN is the largest in its industry.

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As a weapon, the Turkish railgun can fire a projectile to over 300 kilometers at a speed ranging from 2,000 to 2,500 meters per second. It can also be deployed as an air defense weapon "with high efficiency against current threats."

ASELSAN successfully conducted its first live-fire tests between Dec. 26 and 29, 2016. It will demonstrate its first railgun prototype at the forthcoming IDEF 2017 (International Defense Industry Fair 2017) to be held at Ankara from May 9 to 12.

ASELSAN's railgun is Turkey's second indigenously developed weapon of this kind, and indicates a serious interest in this weapon by the Turkish Armed Forces. An operational railgun system or systems will make Turkey the first European NATO member state in possession of such a weapon.

In October 2016, Turkey released the first photos of its new railgun that will arm the Turkish Navy's TF-2000-class anti-air warfare frigates currently undergoing development by the Turkish Naval Institute.

The EM railgun named "TÜBITAK SAPAN" is a 14 megajoule (MJ) weapon using technology similar to that of railguns produced by the U.S. Navy. Military railguns rely on electromagnetic forces to generate very high kinetic energies that fire specially-made projectiles towards targets at speeds of up to 3,500 meters per second.

Tübitak Sapan is Turkey's first domestically engineered railgun. The word "sapan" is Turkish for sling. "Tübitak," is an acronym for the state-run "Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey." It's a national agency whose goal is to conduct research, technology and development studies in line with "national priorities."

Tübitak has been conducting extensive research into inertial confinement fusion technology over the past decade and the Sapan railgun is merely a by-product of that research.

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