The Office of Naval Research and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, conduct the first shot of the Electromagnetic Railgun at the terminal range November 17, 2016.
A railgun is an electromagnetic projectile launcher based on principles similar to those of the homo-polar motor.
A railgun uses a pair of parallel conductors, or rails, along which a sliding armature is accelerated by the electromagnetic effects of a current that flows down one rail, into the armature and then back along the other rail.
Railguns are being researched as weapons that would use neither explosives nor propellant, but rather rely on electromagnetic forces to impart a very high kinetic energy to a projectile, (e.g. APFSDS).
While explosive-powered military guns cannot readily achieve a muzzle velocity of more than about 2 km/s, railguns can readily exceed 3 km/s, and perhaps exceed conventionally delivered munitions in range and destructive force.
The absence of explosive propellants or warheads to store and handle, as well as the low cost of projectiles compared to conventional weaponry come as additional advantages. (WIKI)