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.
This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.