A draft House bill envisions the Missile Defense Agency assuming management from the Navy of a project to develop an electromagnetic rail gun.
The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces in its mark-up of yearly defense authorization legislation noted the promise of the technology as a "more affordable air and missile defense" alternative, Inside Defense reported on Thursday.
The legislation includes a directive for the Missile Defense Agency to work with the Pentagon's Strategic Capabilities Office to draft a report by mid-November that details a testing strategy for determining the "suitability of this [electromagnetic rail gun] technology for transfer to MDA for further development activity."
The subcommittee said the Missile Defense Agency, with its special authority to speed along the acquisition process, was in a unique position to move forward the work done thus far by the Navy and the Strategic Capabilities Office.
The Missile Defense Agency has already singled out the rail gun as a "priority" technology in light of its possibilities as a comparatively reasonably priced antimissile technology for use against theater-level ballistic missile threats.
The rail gun is operated by an energy pulse instead of explosive fuel and is envisioned for use against a large number of targets, including cruise and ballistic missiles, and warships.