The U.S. Navy awarded an $81 Million contract to K2 Energy Solutions, a lithium-iron phosphate battery developer and manufacturer, to create a battery strong enough to power an electromagnetic railgun. The railgun is a Directed-Energy Weapon (DEW) which differs from traditional weapons because it is powered by electricity instead of propellents such as gunpowder or rocket motors. The railgun can attack multiple targets with greater precision.
DEWs have become one of the largest science and technology projects for the Navy. Researchers have spent years trying to find a way to generate a large enough pulse of energy to launch a railgun. The $81 million investment suggests that K2 has finally come close to solving the power challenge. The railgun could become a practical weapon soon: the new battery system is expected to be completed by 2016.