An electromagnetic propulsion system is disclosed having separate rails for ballistic guidance and for carrying current. In this system, one or more pairs of ballistic guidance rails are provided, with each ballistic guidance rail having a pair of current carrying rails joined to it to form a combined rail. Each combined rail is separated electrically from adjacent combined rails by electrically insulating blocks. Each of the current carrying rails in a given combined rail pair have the same electrical polarity, and the polarities alternate between adjacent combined rails. Armatures contact current carrying rails to complete the circuit to generate the accelerating Lorentz force on the armatures. Bore riders on the sabot and/or projectile are in contact with the ballistic guide rails. Separation of the current carrying and ballistic guidance functions increases resistance of the system to rail movement and bending, as well as reduced wear/damage to the rails. In further embodiments, a circumferential over wrap providing compressive force on the rails further increases resistance of the system to rail movement and bending.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396 between the United States Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration and the Los Alamos National Security LLC for the operation of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.