Friday, February 09, 2018

Chinese Navy breakthrough makes it deadlier than US Navy

Pictures surfacing online appear to show a new weapon developed in China. The nation may have just installed a full-scale railgun on a warship, something even the United States Navy has yet to do.


Railguns use electromagnetic energy, rather than gunpowder, to sling a projectile. The concept has been incredibly appealing to militaries, as the weapon offers the speed and efficiency of a cannon, but with the range of a missile.

Photos shared on Twitter show that the Chinese Navy's Type 072III landing ship tank (LST) Haiyang Shan, #936, has a new turret installed on its bow, replacing the H/PJ76F 37mm anti-aircraft turret. There are also three shipping containers.

The turret spotted indicates the presence of a railgun. It's large, for one, with a barrel that measures 26-33 feet in length and 12 to 20 inches in diameter. That's 2-3 times the cannon caliber of conventional tube artillery barrels, which generally have a diameter-to-caliber ratio of 1.25:1.

In terms of benefits, the railguns' hypersonic (Mach 5+), long-range projectiles would be perfect for cheaply and quickly knocking out high-threat air targets like ballistic missiles, aircraft, and even future hypersonic vehicles. The long range would also come in handy for missions like anti-ship warfare, supplementing shorter-ranged antiship ballistic and cruise missiles. Finally, such long-ranged artillery would be a significant addition to long-range bombardment of ground targets.


The United States had earlier planned to install a railgun prototype on the USNS Trenton fast transport in 2016, but this was postponed for budgetary reasons.

The US has been scaling back their efforts on developing railguns and other electromagnetic technologies. The Navy has spent more than $500 million on the project, which will likely never see combat.

Officials at the Department of Defense "don't want to fund the railgun because they're simply not buying it," a senior legislative official with direct knowledge of the US' railgun project recently told Task & Purpose.

"Promising technologies fall into the 'valley of death' all the time," another legislative source told Task & Purpose. "Testing is great, but unless you want to put money into transitioning that tech into an actual weapons system then what the hell are you doing? We're afraid to take a risk and try to get things moving."

China's military has a well known history of being interested in electromagnetic technologies. The country has been researching how to build and deploy a Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) for its aircraft carriers.

EMALS would require less maintenance that current systems, which rely on compressed steam to launch aircraft, and could allow Chinese aircraft carriers to carry and launch larger aircraft, increasing the range and strike power of a Chinese carrier force.

China would be the first nation to successfully install a railgun prototype onto a sea-worthy vessel.

#1 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2018-02-09 02:03 PM

The US Navy has been using EMALS since 2010 thanks to Disney's Rock and Roll Roller Coaster technology.

#2 | Posted by 726 at 2018-02-09 02:27 PM

That's great. However it's the railgun that is the game changer, not the EMALS.

#3 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2018-02-09 02:40 PM

Seems to me the Zumwalt was supposed to pack a railgun but they decided $4 Billion for a destroyer was probably enough.

#4 | Posted by REDIAL at 2018-02-09 02:48 PM

When I saw the headline I knew this was a Tremain/Tosser/Rigel thread.

#5 | Posted by JeffJ at 2018-02-09 02:53 PM

It's cute that they have a piece of equipment assembled, but China's railgun set up hasn't demonstrated proof of function.

The US has demonstrated in video that their design works on land.

#6 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2018-02-09 03:24 PM

#3 The US Railgun

#7 | Posted by 726 at 2018-02-09 03:29 PM

And I can't even get a decent made-in-China microwave oven.

#8 | Posted by Greatamerican at 2018-02-09 05:08 PM

I guarantee you this is all for show, there is no way that the Chinese have solved multi-shot and barrel wear issues inherent in railgun technology, much less even prove that they can fire one.

#9 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2018-02-09 07:08 PM

It's time for a 30% tariff on imported railguns.

#10 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-02-09 07:11 PM

I guarantee you this is all for show, there is no way that the Chinese have solved multi-shot and barrel wear issues inherent in railgun technology, much less even prove that they can fire one.

What you say is certainly possible.

However, I have NEVER known them to bluff about their military capability (unlike the Soviets). If anything, they always UNDERSTATE it.

#11 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2018-02-10 12:06 AM

It's a Popular Science blog article, not anything from China.

#12 | Posted by REDIAL at 2018-02-10 12:13 AM

I guarantee you this is all for show, there is no way that the Chinese have solved multi-shot and barrel wear issues inherent in railgun technology, much less even prove that they can fire one.

How come?

#13 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2018-02-10 12:35 AM

How come?

#13 | POSTED BY RSTYBEACH11 AT 2018-02-10 12:35 AM | REPLY

They can't even make square exhausts for their stealth fighter. That shows a military industrial complex that has not mastered complex material design and construction.

#14 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2018-02-10 08:54 AM

Typically, the JTremain headline is so stupid as to make the thread a joke.

#15 | Posted by danni at 2018-02-10 01:21 PM

the JTremain headline.... a classic.

It forced you to post here, didn't it?

#16 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2018-02-10 11:40 PM

And it isn't a lie either.

IF the rail-gun works... they have a capability that is unmatched. Like shooting down missiles.

And if it doesn't work right, they'll keep on trying until it does.

Point is, they try. Meanwhile the US Navy abandoned it's rail-gun (for now).

#17 | Posted by J_Tremain at 2018-02-10 11:44 PM

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