Two years from now, the U.S. Navy will begin testing a new high-tech railgun that uses futuristic “Star Wars” electromagnetic technology.
The Star Wars gun — which can accelerate a projectile to seven times the speed of sound — has already been tested on land. In 2016, the Star Wars gun will be placed onboard a navy ship for tests at sea, Reuters notes.
Navy officials hope the Star Wars gun will boost defense against cruise and ballistic missiles, allowing the military to destroy airborne missiles at a fraction of the cost of current anti-missile missile systems.
Missiles can cost between $500,000 and $1.5 million each. By contrast, a rail gun projectile costs just $25,000.
The Star Wars gun technology is hoped to preserve the U.S. Navy’s technological edge against increasing competition from China and Russia.