T9000 RailgunThe objective of the T9000 project was to successfully design and construct a linear electromagnetic accelerator capable of accelerating a lightweight payload to velocities greater than 2000m/s without hypervelocity erosion in the rail/armature interface.
In the 1950's, when the first true rail guns were built and fired, it was believed that they would provide a means to accelerate objects to virtually any desired speed and replace conventional weapons. In practice, erosion of the sliding contacts through arcing and friction was a constant problem. Railguns were confined to the laboratory, where rails were often removed and resurfaced due to hypervelocity erosion.
Real-world tests continued to fly in the face of otherwise sound physics. In a well-designed railgun with a high inductance gradient, current is the predominant factor that determines exit velocity. However, maintaining a high current through a long pair of rails requires a lot of energy, and with high currents, high rates of rail erosion are inevitable. Also, energy loss in a railgun is proportional to projectile momentum, which would imply that rail guns are most efficient at accelerating light payloads. However, it has been shown experimentally that with calibers less than 18mm, the efficiency of a railgun decreases with the smaller size bores.
It would take over two centuries of intermittent research until the practical problems with railgun technology were adequately addressed. Worldsoft Laboratories realized that imparting an initial velocity to the projectile before the electric action further accelerates it, i.e. through a gas injection mechanism, would produce higher exit velocities, which in turn would give the electrical arcing and ohmic heating between the projectile and the rails less time to heat the rail surfaces. In 2245, they invented the first usable railgun, called the Damocles. The Damocles achieved velocity speeds of 1000m/s, but its performance still degraded over time from magnetic field and velocity impacts. Unfortunately, after the fall of Worldsoft, advances on the Damocles came to a halt.
Developed in the secret labs of the T9000 Starbase, the T9000 Railgun was first deployed to Federation troops in 2285. This remarkable weapon resolved the energy problem by using a Radon gas power source. The increased power allowed for a manageable sized rail. Corrosion was reduced to negligible amounts by using a combination of titanium and dachronian metals. Although the railgun is still in its infancy and costs an exorbitant amount of money to produce, it is the favored weapon of most Federation cadets. The T9000 Railgun uses 26-round cartridges of lightweight titanium slugs, sized perfectly to achieve the maximum muzzle velocity.
At the Federation's request, the T9000 will also support a grenade launcher attachment. This attachment uses grenades customized to be propelled by the T9000's exhaust system. Like any pressurized-gas mechanism, their range is limited, but their explosive power make for an effective combination with the railgun slugs. T9000 grenades are preset to detonate 2 seconds after impact.