Railgun Weapons

Originally designed as a replacement for the the ancient chemical-propulsion weapons that were used long before the AI Wars. The common feature to every railgun is a slug of dense metal that is accelerated along a pair of electrically charged rails. The weapons were at first limited due to weight and overheating concerns caused by the large amounts of electrical energy needed to operate them. At the start of the AI wars two important breakthroughs came that finally made it a viable weapon system.

The first of these improvements would be the discovery of room-temperature superconductors that made the rails work at 100% efficiency. The rails could be made lighter and carried more charge as a result of this and there was virtually no waste heat as a result so the massive cooling systems that were once needed could be discarded. This still left the weapon as a vehicle-mounted or two-man infantry setup due to the large power consumption of the weapon. This is where the breakthrough of highly advanced chemical energy cell made it a very practical weapon.

A soldier could now carry several thousand rounds of ammunition as well as the necessary energy cells to propel them instead of a tradition weapon that had much shorter range, lower stopping power, and far less ammunition. This reign was short-live as the outbreak of warfare against machines began. The robust nature of the AI war machines to sustain damage while maintaining combat effectiveness meant that the small caliber kinetic rounds of the railguns were almost completely useless at close range and plasma weaponry quickly took over.

Despite velocities of projectiles upwards of 20,000 meters per second the weapon has a surprisingly short range, though it remains far beyond any combat theater. This is due to the fact that the largest caliber of infantry railgun ever produced fired a 1.75x35mm slug at a velocity of 13,000 m/s. The round was moving at such high speeds that after traveling only 25 km it would have disintegrated completely. This was called the "burnout" of the round and it is based off of round mass and velocity.

The main advantage is that at such high speeds the rounds all but negate the protection offered by most body armor at the cost of deadliness because of the small caliber. This low lethality was the biggest detractor of this weapon all around and it fell by the wayside of the much more powerful plasma weapons developed later on, despite their lower accuracy compared to the railguns.

As personal shield generators were developed to fight the advancing state of plasma weapons and eventually reached the point where the most powerful plasma rifles would take upwards of ten shots to overload the shields. A look back in history was all that was needed to rediscover railguns as the purely kinetic nature of their designs would be unaffected by shielding, bring about a renaissance in their use on the battlefield.

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