The military has decided to launch missiles, projectiles, and other building-destroying explosives out of what can accurately be described as the world’s largest potato gun.
It’s hard not to love the military when they come up with cool gadgets like this one. The Department of Defense basically filled with a bunch of mad scientists with an unlimited budget.
While it might be tempting to call this thing an oversized toy for kids in combat fatigues, it does actually serve a practical purpose. The Variable Energy Research Accelerator (VERA) allows military testers to fire different projectiles at nearly the speed of sound. Its massive 19” bore utilizes a one-size-fits-all approach that lets them fit just about anything they want inside of it (including a sack of potatoes).
In theory, this souped-up potato cannon should significantly cut the price of weapons testing. They don’t need to spend time or money manufacturing a custom firing device for each projectile. Plus, the transonic velocity reduces the stress that’s placed on each projectile.
The bone-shaking kra-thoom when this thing goes off may make it seem like it’s massively high-powered, but a projectile that travels slower than the speed of sound is actually sluggish as far as muzzle velocity goes. Though, according to Gizmodo, it still packs enough of a punch to send a 100-pound object 1000 feet per second.
The person who posted the video to YouTube, Inigo93, says, “Yes, VERA, can be described as a ‘potato gun on steroids.’ Quite possibly the world’s most powerful, but no research to back up such a claim has been made.” We like to think of it as the world’s fastest mashed-potato-maker.