On March 30th, Turkey released footage of the testing of its newest weapon: the hypersonic electromagnetic railgun ŞAHİ2019 Block I and its Improved version ŞAHİ209 Block II.
The first fire tests of the Şahi 209 Block II (naval) Electromagnetic gun were successfully carried out. The Şahi 209 team targets a range of 50 km with 35 mm ammunition. pic.twitter.com/KSmUVjENNv
— Yusuf Akbaba (@ssysfakb) March 30, 2019
According to Turkish media reports, the Block II passed its tests successfully and it is ten times more powerful than the Block I version.
The new railgun, developed by Yeteknoloji AŞ company, uses electromagnetic energy instead of gunpowder to propel 35mm rounds and is capable of striking a target at a distance of 50 km (approximately 31 miles). It has a permanent energy source of 10 megajoules.
Turkey is the fifth country in the world to develop the weapon, after Russia, the United States, China and India.
A railgun is a device that uses electromagnetic force to launch high-velocity projectiles, by means of a sliding armature that is accelerated along a pair of conductive rails.
A railgun consists of two parallel metal rails (hence the name). At one end, these rails are connected to an electrical power supply, to form the breech end of the gun. Then, if a conductive projectile is inserted between the rails (e.g. by insertion into the breach), it completes the circuit. Electrons flow from the negative terminal of the power supply up the negative rail, across the projectile, and down the positive rail, back to the power supply.
A shot launched by a railgun moves at hypersonic speeds and is quite difficult to intercept. Its also immune to jamming and electronic warfare, because it is simply a metal rod flying through the sky.
According to reports, in one of the live fire tests, a railgun shot successfully pierced a one-meter-thick reinforced concrete bunker.
In addition to that, Turkey’s defense industry is hard at work to source more equipment locally as part of its expansion, Anadolu Agency reported.
At the moment, Turkish weapons systems are produced using an average 68 percent of locally sourced materials.
Turkey is looking to boost its sales of defence products at home and abroad to reduce its reliance on imports and compete with manufacturers in Western countries, Russia and China.
The government said the initiative will also strengthen national security, rendering the country more independent from nations such as the United States, which has traditionally supplied much of the country’s armaments but withheld some weapons.
The Turkish military ordered 250 locally made Atalay tanks for its ground forces. The country is also making progress in production of more advanced unmanned drones and an agreement has been signed with defence contractors Aselsan and Roketsan to develop the nation’s own long-range air defence missile systems, Anadolu said.