# Hypervelocity cannons: Why not centrifugal?

• xpell
In summary, this system would be able to fire projectiles at hypersonic speeds, with very little aerodynamic effects. It would be similar to artillery in that it would require two axes of directional control (aiming).
xpell
After reading a lot about railguns, light gas guns and other approaches to build an hypervelocity/hypersonic cannon, I wonder why the "centrifugal cannon" option hasn't been more thoroughly explored by any military power in the world. Yes, I know the old versions had a precision problem and were unreliable, but I can't see how this couldn't be corrected using modern technology. Sure there must be an obvious reason, but my ignorance doesn't let me grasp it. Please keep with me for a minute:

Let's build a cylindrical vacuum chamber with an inner diameter slightly over 2 m, on a gimbal to provide for azimuth and elevation. Inside, we install a well-balanced disk 2 m in diameter and an engine (or transmission, or magnetic engine...) able to make it spin at 250,000 rpm (like not a few turbochargers or even heavier industrial machinery.) Up to this point I can't see anything intrinsically impossible or even too expensive or complicated. Any ship and even probably some large airplanes could handle this.

OK, now let's load a projectile on the border of the disk and spin it up. At just 20,000 rpm, the linear/tangential velocity of this projectile will already be fully hypersonic at sea level: over 2 km/s. At 75,000 rpm, it's close to 7.9 km/s ---Mach 23, almost ground-level orbital speed at Earth's equator! At 125,000 rpm, the rotational speed of a lame turbocharger, it's 13.1 km/s ---way over Earth's escape velocity. If we go up all the way to 250,000 rpm, we get over 26 km/s, over Uranus' escape velocity. Since it's spinning in a vacuum, aerodynamic forces, drag and heating are nil. With proper refrigeration at any other source of heat, you could possibly keep it running for awhile until the appropriate moment to attack.

So just choose your rotational speed, azimuth and elevation and make a precise computer-controlled system release the projectile at the appropriate instant. Maybe we'd need a system of locks to transfer it from vacuum to atmosphere without damage, and/or a final but simple magnetic "drive" for extra precision. And we have a projectile streaking towards its target at highly hypersonic speeds. Sure, the accelerations are going to be hellish, but that is expected in most if not all hypervelocity designs. I feel this could be way "simpler", maybe more robust and ultimately more inexpensive than railguns, etc. Additional acceleration-resistant on-board guidance maybe could be developed for a second stage of such project, just like they're trying with "conventional" approaches.

Sure this is going to be impossible, unfeasible, far-fetched and/or plainly ridiculous by some reason(s), since nobody seems to be doing it and certainly I'm not smarter than the top military engineers around the world. But... would you help me to understand these reasons, please?

(If you think the higher rotational velocities are too far-fetched, please keep it under 50,000 rpm; Zippe-type uranium centrifuges need at least 90,000 rpm and they've been manufactured for ages, that's '50s tech. Or even lower rotational velocities with a larger disk diameter ---in both cases, we'd still have vastly hypersonic speeds above 5 km/s, around Mach 15.)

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Directional control (aiming) requires two axes.

Bystander said:
Directional control (aiming) requires two axes.
Thank you but... would you be so kind to expand, please? As I stated we have the "thing" mounted on a gimbal to provide for azimuth and elevation, and once the projectile is released, it will naturally tend to fly tangential to the release point at tangential initial velocity ---basically following the trajectory you aimed for using the gimbal and the precision release. I'm sorry, but I didn't understand you...

It takes time to spin it up, and targets do not hold still while you spin it up.

Bystander said:
It takes time to spin it up, and targets do not hold still while you spin it up.
It sure does (actually I was calculating how much it would reasonably take to spin the thing up... turbochargers do it real fast), and they sure doesn't (except static targets.)

But as I said, since it's spinning in a (near-)vacuum, there're close-to-zero aerodynamic effects inside the chamber (turbulence, drag, heating) and you could possibly spin it up upon first alert before entering combat and keep it spinning until you need it or disengage (or overheats, but without aerodynamic effects that would take a while if it's properly refrigerated and/or most components are magnetic and such.) You could even have several "stacked" disks (very much like a multi-disk hard disk drive) spinning at "stand-by" velocities, or deccelerating to reload, or accelerating to shoot again. Add a moving (or multiple) "expel system" if needed and actually that would make kind of an "hypersonic autocannon." All of this could obviously be thoroughly calculated and tested prior to actual deployment during the R&D programme. Don't you think so...?

Heck, as I see it, it's not so different from building a large, fast precision gyroscope with a couple extras. The flywheel/rotor of not a few aviation and spacecraft gyroscopes perfectly work for hours nonstop (or days, or more...) at 15,000 - 20,000 rpm with negligible degradation, and even the most basic air-driven attitude ones are up, running and stabilized in about 1 minute or so. Granted my "gyrocannon" is larger and rotates faster, but only by maybe 1 order of magnitude or so. In 1937, the Nazis were already developing 20,000-rpm gyroscopes for their V-2's. And I'd say modern battles involving this kind of weapons would not take hours to develop.

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xpell said:
"stand-by" velocities
"Aimed," note the past tense.

Bystander said:
"Aimed," note the past tense.
I still don't get you on these ones, sorry. We have computers today. The thing is fully aimed in azimuth and elevation (and rotational, thus tangential velocity) when the projectile is released. Before release, your sensors and computers keep it constantly following your target in azimuth and elevation with a pre-computed release speed. As soon as you hit the "arm" switch, the disk accelerates up (or deccelerates down) to the computed release speed (if needed) while the whole system is keeping the aim nonstop. And when you press the "fire" button, it just releases the projectile in the correct moment of the next rotation, then slows down to reload and spin up again. Very much like the launch procedure of any other modern weapon.

If it's the "multi-disk" version, you can pre-select a "burst" mode and it will launch all the projectiles sequentially, then they'll slow down to reload and repeat. Or, if in "single shot" mode, immediately the next disk will spin up (if needed) to get ready to fire again, while the "shot" one slows down to reload and repeat. In both cases, while constantly keeping the aim computationally.

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What's balancing the disk after it fires and is still moving at 20,000+ rpm?

scottdave and xpell
Drakkith said:
What's balancing the disk after it fires and is still moving at 20,000+ rpm?
Yes, I thought about this. Maybe a counterweight at the opposite side of the disk which is also released in the opposite direction? You could think of it as an "empty shell" ---just a worthless, cheap piece of tungsten or DU or plain old lead or the like with the same mass being "counter-released" simultaneously (not very difficult to implement if the release system for both the projectile and the "counter-mass" is electromagnetic ---just cut the power, or apply power from the same capacitor to both releases if it's a fail-safe system, and both objects will be released in the very exact instant. The detonators of a simple two-point levitated pit implosion atomic bomb are WAY more difficult to synchronize, and it's been done since way before I was born.)

It could introduce a small limitation in the angle of fire to prevent a self-hit with this "balancing shell" (not very relevant if the system is located on top of the tallest mast for instance), but that's all. If I'm not wrong, the disk will stay perfectly balanced with zero eccentricity in mass.

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xpell said:
Yes, I know the old versions had a precision problem and were unreliable
I look at it a different way, instead of a long range hypervelocity cannon, here is my 2 cents worth.

The inherent lack of precision and accuracy IMO would be more useful for a short range rapid fire, where one would want a spread of projectiles, something like a shotgun blast of pellets. Use 100g ball bearing size projectiles filled into tubes of the centrifuge and launch the whole batch at incoming missles or planes.
Size up the centrifuge to launch a 1000 or so pellets is the general direction of the incoming theat. The spread would be difficult for the incoming to maneuver against. With the centrifuge mass made to be much larger than the mass of pellets launched, the loss of mass would not be as great a design problem for balancing.

xpell
xpell said:
Inside, we install a well-balanced disk 2 m in diameter and an engine (or transmission, or magnetic engine...) able to make it spin at 250,000 rpm (like not a few turbochargers or even heavier industrial machinery.)
High speed turbos and gyros are certainly not 2 m in diameter.

Peripheral velocity is proportional to the product of diameter and rate of rotation. That is limited by the strength of the material necessary to hold such a disc together.

For cast iron flywheels you are limited to about 5000 ft/min = 83.33 feet/sec = mach 0.075
You can do better with carbon fibre but not that much better.

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billy_joule and mfb
Baluncore said:
High speed turbos and gyros are certainly not 2 m in diameter.

Peripheral velocity is proportional to the product of diameter and rate of rotation. That is limited by the strength of the material necessary to hold such a disc together.

For cast iron flywheels you are limited to about 5000 ft/min = 83.33 feet/sec = mach 0.075
You can do better with carbon fibre but not that much better.
Sorry but there must be something wrong here. The fan of a CFM56 jet engine is 1.735 meters in diameter and rotates at 5,200 rpm, meaning its tips have a linear/tangential velocity of 472.4 m/s, or Mach 1.3761 in standard conditions: http://theflyingengineer.com/flightdeck/pw1100g-gtf/ Same with the RR Trent, causing its typical "buzzsaw noise": http://www.pprune.org/tech-log/92703-large-turbofan-noise.html In normal operation, they're usually "capped" to prevent the tips from going supersonic, but only because it uses to be aerodynamically inefficient.

Many years ago some Russians decided that supersonic was good for their propellers too and they developed the Kuznetsov NK-12 in the '50s, the most powerful turboprop ever built. It's deployed in the world-famous Tu-95 Bear and variants. The tips of its up-to-6.5 meters in diameter double counter-rotating propellers go supersonic as standard procedure. That's why it's so noisy.

And we're talking vintage aerodynamics here. Now go imagine in a vacuum...

256bits said:
I look at it a different way, instead of a long range hypervelocity cannon, here is my 2 cents worth.

The inherent lack of precision and accuracy IMO would be more useful for a short range rapid fire, where one would want a spread of projectiles, something like a shotgun blast of pellets. Use 100g ball bearing size projectiles filled into tubes of the centrifuge and launch the whole batch at incoming missles or planes.
Size up the centrifuge to launch a 1000 or so pellets is the general direction of the incoming theat. The spread would be difficult for the incoming to maneuver against. With the centrifuge mass made to be much larger than the mass of pellets launched, the loss of mass would not be as great a design problem for balancing.
Yes, I've thought in this too, but this is a parallel project...

xpell said:
And we're talking vintage aerodynamics here. Now go imagine in a vacuum...
So calculate the tensile strength of a carbon fibre disc with detachable loads along the circumference, then from that compute the maximum circumferential velocity. That will be the maximum speed it can launch a projectile.

xpell
Baluncore said:
So calculate the tensile strength of a carbon fibre disc with detachable loads along the circumference, then from that compute the maximum circumferential velocity. That will be the maximum speed it can launch a projectile.
Certainly! And I'd certainly love to know how to do that... but unfortunately I don't. I'm just your average person with some scientific background, some imagination and lots of curiosity. But I'm good at Math, and if someone pointed me in the right direction, I'd sure love to give it a try.

If you designed it like the Hot Wheels car launchers

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EUY4IVE/?tag=pfamazon01-20

You could probably just have the motors running continuously and feed the projectiles in as needed. Drag won't be that big of a deal, but bearing friction will be a concern. It also seems like a device like this would lack durability. The mass of the projectile would have to be much less than the disks to ensure they don't slow down significantly.

xpell
OrangeDog said:
If you designed it like the Hot Wheels car launchers

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EUY4IVE/?tag=pfamazon01-20

You could probably just have the motors running continuously and feed the projectiles in as needed. Drag won't be that big of a deal, but bearing friction will be a concern. It also seems like a device like this would lack durability. The mass of the projectile would have to be much less than the disks to ensure they don't slow down significantly.
Heck, I would have never thought in that one. But I don't think that would be better than a "conventional" railgun or light gas gun or the like. As you say, too much friction and I'd add too harsh accelerations involved to achieve hypersonic speeds in a reasonable length. The "trick" in "my gyrogun" is that I don't see any "nasty forces" in action other than the most basic expected in all hypervelocity designs: kind-of-smooth acceleration (programmable as needed), no friction if using levitated disks or the like, no rails to degrade (this seems to be a major problem in railguns), no "firing" of anything but just an electromagnetic release... actually the thing just gets aimed in azimuth and elevation, spins up, releases as needed, then spins down to reload and repeat, all of it in a vacuum with minimum wear under precise computer control. If needed, add an "expel system" for smooth transition from vacuum to atmosphere and maybe a final "magnetic correction drive" for extra precision (you already have the speed and the general trajectory, you'd just maybe need to improve precision a bit.) I hardly can think of a "simpler" and more robust (and maybe inexpensive) machine to do this.

There must be something that I'm not seeing if people way smarter and better educated than me like the top military engineers around the world are not exploring it. But I still don't know what is it.

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I don't think it is anything as complicated as you think. If you have something like a weapon it needs to meet criteria beyond killing power/coolness-factor. If you have a machine gun that can shoot really accurate and really far with a high rate of fire, but it weighs 150lbs, it won't be useful for troops to carry onto the battlefield. If you have a gun like the one you are describing, maybe the shells fire at Mach 10, but if the equipment needs to be carefully calibrated it won't be able to traverse rough terrain. Do you understand my point?

OrangeDog said:
I don't think it is anything as complicated as you think. If you have something like a weapon it needs to meet criteria beyond killing power/coolness-factor. If you have a machine gun that can shoot really accurate and really far with a high rate of fire, but it weighs 150lbs, it won't be useful for troops to carry onto the battlefield. If you have a gun like the one you are describing, maybe the shells fire at Mach 10, but if the equipment needs to be carefully calibrated it won't be able to traverse rough terrain. Do you understand my point?
Sure and agreed. It's only that in the current state of the art, all approaches to hypervelocity guns are kind of "naval", if only (and not only) because of the required power source. Actually they are thought more for extended indirect-fire (ballistic) range than for direct fire power (if sure an hypersonic projectile hitting a nearby target with direct fire would cause really nasty effects!) Using current or proximal technology, I can't envision a "battlefield infantry-like hypersonic gun." Even a heavy tank or the like would have problems handling that, and it would possibly need an external (and quite massive) power source. As I see it, it would be more like a mobile-ICBM launch complex (Topol-style) with its auxiliary vehicles (maybe not so much, but close.) On the opposite, a warship (including some large surfaced submarines) could easily handle all of that, and maybe large airplanes with massive payload capacity could do it too (or static facilities on the ground of course, but those are easily detected, tracked and counter-fired.)

Your idea of an "infantry-like" hypervelocity weapon is certainly interesting, especially as a particularly powerful anti-materiel / anti-armor gun. But while "heavy" hypervelocity guns are being activelly pursued by several countries right now, I'm not aware of anyone pursuing "light" hypervelocity guns with the current or nearby state of the art.

xpell said:
There must be something that I'm not seeing if people way smarter and better educated than me like the top military engineers around the world are not exploring it. But I still don't know what is it.
The limitation on flywheels is disintegration due to hoop stress from centrifugal force.
See; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cylinder_stress#Hoop_stress

Flywheels for energy storage are limited by material tensile strength.
See; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flywheel
Which gives the following optimised design parameters for carbon fibre reinforced epoxy.
Material; Composite: CFRP (40% epoxy). Radius = 1.964 metre. RPM = 3382.

Compute; Circumference = 2 * Pi * 1.964 = 12.34 metre
Compute; Angular velocity = 56.367 rev/sec
Compute; Circumferential velocity = 12.34 * 56.367 = 695.5 m/sec for a CFRP flywheel.

The speed of sound in air is about 343.2 m/sec
That gives a mach number of 695.5 / 343.5 = 2.025 mach
That velocity is a significant over-estimate since projectiles on the periphery will have mass but no tensile strength.

billy_joule, xpell and berkeman
You can reach higher speeds with stronger materials and tapered wheels (to have more material in the center). 1 to 2 km/s are possible, if the projectile is very light compared to the wheel (also see no-rules NASCAR). That is about the speed range of conventional guns, so where is the point?

Also, the idea that you have to shoot backwards as well (to keep the wheel symmetric) sounds problematic for nearly all possible modes of operation.

xpell
Baluncore said:
The speed of sound in air is about 343.2 m/sec
That gives a mach number of 695.5 / 343.5 = 2.025 mach
That velocity is a significant over-estimate since projectiles on the periphery will have mass but no tensile strength.

Now that's something! Thank you very much, seriously! I knew there had to be something wrong in my idea!

Right now I was reading about a http://web.ornl.gov/~webworks/cpr/rpt/89015.pdf in 1985, which seems to include the fastest circumferential speed ever achieved. Their Demo 1C device was composed by 2 concentric rings, one 27" in outer diameter and the other, 24" in inner diameter (that's about 343 mm and 305 mm in radius for us metricateds.) They were manufactured using carbon fiber reinforced epoxy. The reinforcement was AS6 for the outer ring and IM6 for the inner ring (does anybody know what these AS6 and IM6 are?)

The thing failed at a circumferential speed of 1,405 m/s, slightly above Mach 4 in standard conditions. Sure it went highly supersonic at 1.4 km/s, but it never reached hypersonic regime (conventionally established at Mach 5), not to mention the "orbital" speeds I wanted to achieve.

Busted! Thanks to all!

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mfb said:
You can reach higher speeds with stronger materials and tapered wheels (to have more material in the center). 1 to 2 km/s are possible, if the projectile is very light compared to the wheel (also see no-rules NASCAR). That is about the speed range of conventional guns, so where is the point?

Also, the idea that you have to shoot backwards as well (to keep the wheel symmetric) sounds problematic for nearly all possible modes of operation.
Yes, I wanted to do the calculation with Kevlar or Zylon (because carbon nanotubes at industrial scale are not still available, are they? )

But why do you think that the "counter-release" sounds so problematic, please?

xpell said:
But why do you think that the "counter-release" sounds so problematic, please?
You want a deadly hypervelocity projectile fired accurately forward, with the simultaneous release of something backward to avoid blowing your rotating structure apart, and you ask us seriously what is wrong with that? Are you trolling us?

berkeman said:
You want a deadly hypervelocity projectile fired accurately forward, with the simultaneous release of something backward to avoid blowing your rotating structure apart, and you ask us seriously what is wrong with that? Are you trolling us?
No. As I said before, I'm just your average person (who, BTW, started to work at age 16 because my parents died and I couldn't continue studying), with just a bit of a scientific background, but lots of interest and curiosity and a will to learn as much as I can. Is that forbidden here or what?

As I see it, the "counter-balancing shell" would just impact somewhere around the launcher vehicle, sure making a mess, but with most of its energy going away from it. If I'm wrong, I'd appreciate to be corrected as always, that's why I'm here.

I think Berkeman's simply saying that the idea that the gun has to fire in both directions is such a severe limitation that the fact that you don't consider that big of a deal is strange.

Remember that ships rarely operate alone. This backwards firing projectile would be a danger to anything around the firing ship and the gun would be severely limited if anything was nearby or if the ship was defending an island or coastal area. This is an even bigger limitation if fired from an aircraft or land vehicle where the projectile can't be guaranteed to land in the water.

xpell and berkeman
No, not forbidden, but at least for me, this has been a painful thread to follow. Engineering is about optimization. Brainstorming is part of it, but calculations and optimization are the final arbiters of what is realistic. Science fiction can be fun to speculate about, but in the end, reality is what matters in Engineering. Your idea has been shown to be so wrong so many times in this thread, but you persist. I think your interest in science is good, but your reluctance to learn science is discouraging to me.

I'll move this thread to the Science Fiction forum so that I don't have to delete it. Please do your best to start learning basic physics -- there are many resources online to help with your learning.

Drakkith said:
I think Berkeman's simply saying that the idea that the gun has to fire in both directions is such a severe limitation that the fact that you don't consider that big of a deal is strange.

Remember that ships rarely operate alone. This backwards firing projectile would be a danger to anything around the firing ship and the gun would be severely limited if anything was nearby or if the ship was defending an island or coastal area. This is an even bigger limitation if fired from an aircraft or land vehicle where the projectile can't be guaranteed to land in the water.
That's a way more polite and understanding way to put it, and I thank you for it.

I didn't think it was such a big deal because I actually made some calculations prior to proposing it. Let's imagine the device is located on top of your ship, about 50 meters above water. If you launch a projectile with a typical indirect-fire elevation of 30º (that's what hypervelocity weapons are intended for: extended range ballistic fire), the "counterweight" is going to harmlessly splash into the water barely 87 meters away. I have never in my life seen a modern task force whose vessels operate so tightly packed, or so close to the coastline, and it wouldn't be logical or safe in the very least. Just a nuke in a missile or torpedo or f---ing catapulted from the coastline and your entire task force is gone. Actually, when facing real combat, they tend to spread really fast and not get much close to the coastline, just in case there's someone waiting for them there with an Exocet.

berkeman said:
No, not forbidden, but at least for me, this has been a painful thread to follow. Engineering is about optimization. Brainstorming is part of it, but calculations and optimization are the final arbiters of what is realistic. Science fiction can be fun to speculate about, but in the end, reality is what matters in Engineering. Your idea has been shown to be so wrong so many times in this thread, but you persist. I think your interest in science is good, but your reluctance to learn science is discouraging to me.

I'll move this thread to the Science Fiction forum so that I don't have to delete it. Please do your best to start learning basic physics -- there are many resources online to help with your learning.
Very polite and understanding of you, thank you for nothing. If you re-read most of the first answers I received, they were one-liners not explaining anything or talking about science at all. Only when Baluncore started explaining to me about tensile strength and resistance, I started to realize where my error was, and asked further to get a better explanation. Other than that, I haven't been shown any other obvious error in my idea. If asking questions until understanding what was wrong, then immediately acknowledging it, makes you feel "in pain", and "discouraged", I'm so sorry for you.

Yes, I'd like you to use the PF as a learning resource. And honestly your responses have been painful for me to read.

A few questions just to clarify where we are...

-1- Do you really understand how much energy you are proposing putting into rotating a several meter diameter launch mechanism for a hypervelocity launch?

-2- Do you really understand the damage that would be done by a simultaneous release of a reverse direction mass? Don't try to put it in the water at the rear of a battle group, what about on land?

-3- Why wouldn't the large group of professional scientists who are working on hypervelocity weapons be testing your idea, if it had any merit? They are certainly testing and fielding other hypervelocity weapon launch technologies. Why are they fielding them, and not some spinning mechanism?

Please take to heart that I'm fine with brainstorming (that's where my patents and much of my EE employment have come from), but in real life as an engineer you need to learn to look for existence/non-existence proofs early. Or you will waste your time and efforts on non-starter ideas, and not be much of an engineer. Hopefully that makes sense.

xpell said:
Let's imagine the device is located on top of your ship, about 50 meters above water. If you launch a projectile with a typical indirect-fire elevation of 30º (that's what hypervelocity weapons are intended for), the "counterweight" is going to harmlessly splash into the water barely 87 meters away.

But that's only a single angle. A real weapon would have to work at a range of different angles.

berkeman said:
-1- Do you really understand how much energy you are proposing putting into rotating a several meter diameter launch mechanism for a hypervelocity launch?

Calculating that was my next step, after checking if the concept was valid or not, as it happens to be and I expected but didn't know why. AFAIK, Engineering is also about not losing time or resources exploring invalid concepts.

berkeman said:
-2- Do you really understand the damage that would be done by a simultaneous release of a reverse direction mass? Don't try to put it in the water at the rear of a battle group, what about on land?

I of course put it in the water because every weaponized hypervelocity gun project that I'm aware of is being studied for naval warfare (and marginally for high-altitude launches.) Actually, in the U.S., the main institution researching weaponized railguns and such is the Naval Surface Warfare Center with some help form NASA, to be deployed in USN vessels. And all of them are extended-range, indirect-fire weapons, meaning typical launch elevations 5º-45º. AFAIK, Engineering is also about knowing WTH one is talking about before considering an idea.

berkeman said:
-3- Why wouldn't the large group of professional scientists who are working on hypervelocity weapons be testing your idea, if it had any merit? They are certainly testing and fielding other hypervelocity weapon launch technologies. Why are they fielding them, and not some spinning mechanism?

You certainly had to suffer lots of pain reading my messages to the point of not being able to read even the first one, because since the very first one I said:

xpell said:
Sure this is going to be impossible, unfeasible, far-fetched and/or plainly ridiculous by some reason(s), since nobody seems to be doing it and certainly I'm not smarter than the top military engineers around the world. But... would you help me to understand these reasons, please?

Again in #17:

xpell said:
There must be something that I'm not seeing if people way smarter and better educated than me like the top military engineers around the world are not exploring it. But I still don't know what is it.

And once more immediately after I was shown the problem which makes it impossible:

xpell said:
Now that's something! Thank you very much, seriously! I knew there had to be something wrong in my idea! (...)

Busted! Thanks to all!

berkeman said:
Please take to heart that I'm fine with brainstorming (that's where my patents and much of my EE employment have come from), but in real life as an engineer you need to learn to look for existence/non-existence proofs early. Or you will waste your time and efforts on non-starter ideas, and not be much of an engineer. Hopefully that makes sense.
Well, I must say you certainly don't feel like it at all, since you hadn't even read my messages before deciding I'm a crank or something, or even checked what hypervelocity weapons are being designed for. But as you can see, I suspected that my idea was a non-starter from the beginning; I just wanted to know why. In my book, that's learning. This is an Internet forum, not an Engineering department.

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Drakkith said:
But that's only a single angle. A real weapon would have to work at a range of different angles.
All of those weaponized railguns etc. that I'm aware of are being developed for naval extended-range indirect fire, not direct fire (you don't need hypervelocity for that at all.) That means typical elevation angles are going to be between 5º and 45º, so the "counter-shell" will splash into the water 50 to 572 meters away. In a real combat situation involving nothing less than super-long-range hypersonic weapons, no other friendly vessel is going to be so close by miles, and neither the coastline will be.

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xpell said:
In a real combat situation involving nothing less than super-long-range hypersonic weapons, no other friendly vessel is going to be so close by miles, and neither the coastline will be.

Maybe. I'm not familiar with naval task group formations.

xpell said:
That means typical elevation angles are going to be between 5º and 45º, so the "counter-shell" will splash into the water 50 to 572 meters away.
Or hit the deck, superstructure or antennas. You certainly are persistent.

The only naval application I can see for a centrifugal cannon would be to spray a cloud of small projectiles at an incoming anti-ship missile.
That would require a very nimble aiming mechanism, something not found in a gyroscopically stable rotating systems.
So you must spin it all up after it is aimed, which will probably require the disc to be the rotor of a flat electric motor.
I expect the disc will still be spinning up, as the missiles strike.

That would be one hell of a gyroscope!

Try moving one of those!

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