Kinetic Energy Weapons

Functional Characteristics:
• Speed
• Energy
• Penetration

Kinetic energy weapons provide the biggest punch of any spacecraft weapons short of nukes; their range is, however, very short. Kinetic energy weapons are magnetic quadrupole accelerators used to fire flechette canisters. A kinetic weapon requires a power storage system.

Δxa = a R2 / v2

then

P(hit) = r2 / (Δxa)2

where

• a = Target effective acceleration
• R = Range
• v = Projectile speed
• r = Target effective radius

Example:

• Target radius = 25 m
• Target acceleration = 3 m s-2
• Projectile speed = 25 km s-1
• Cannister mass = 5 kg
• Cannister energy = 1.5 GJ
• P(hit) = 0.5 at R = 86 km

Firing rates of 1 shot per second are achievable with current KE weapons. Maximum mass per projectile is approximately 5 kg. Acceleration of projectile is approximately 100 000 g, giving a weapon length of 300 m.

The probability of a hit can be improved by using rocket-powered projectiles for terminal guidance. 