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China’s Railgun Breakthrough Stuns Military Experts: A Threat to U.S. Naval Dominance?

Dream Weapon Railgun

Developed by a Chinese Navy Scientist

Korean Railgun Development Underway

SCMP

China has announced the development of an electromagnetic railgun capable of launching projectiles at super-high speeds using electromagnetic force.

The railgun, a weapon that made a powerful appearance in the movie Transformers series, can fire at speeds up to six times the speed of sound (approximately 4,473 mph) and destroy targets 62-124 miles away in the blink of an eye. It is often referred to as a dream weapon among military officials.

Living up to its nickname, the railgun’s projectiles, with their incredible range and devastating power, are being hailed as game changers that could reshape future warfare. Countries worldwide are currently immersed in its development, with Japan also announcing successful firing tests following China.

According to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP), a team at the National Key Laboratory for Vessel Integrated Power System Technology at the Naval University of Engineering in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, successfully fired 120 railgun projectiles at Mach 7 (seven times the speed of sound).

Additionally, the weapon maintained its firing accuracy during continuous shooting, and similar research has not been publicly reported before, sparking discussion.

AP

The research team involved in the development stated, “War weapons are slowly transitioning from chemical power to electromagnetic power. The velocity of continuous firing is an important indicator that represents the combat effectiveness of the electromagnetic rail firing system.” They added, “This groundbreaking advancement signifies that the electromagnetic rail firing system can now be fired continuously, stably, and quickly.”

The Chinese research team revealed that the secret to their success was an AI system capable of collecting and analyzing data simultaneously from more than 100,000 component points, enabling sophisticated measurement and diagnosis.

The AI system used by the Chinese research team boasts the power to reduce the time it takes to solve problems arising from machines operating under complex and extreme conditions to milliseconds (one-thousandth of a second).

It is reported the Chinese Navy is currently anticipating that their developed railgun will shake up the landscape of maritime supremacy. They seem to take even more tremendous pride in the fact that this weapon was something the U.S. Navy attempted to develop but ultimately abandoned.

Pop Time

The U.S. Navy poured massive funds and decades of effort into developing a railgun but abandoned the project in 2021 to focus resources on hypersonic missiles.

The game-changing railgun fires projectiles using electric power instead of gunpowder’s explosive power. Consequently, it uses electrical energy to accelerate a metal projectile with electromagnetic force and launch it so that it can follow a missile’s trajectory.

It is reported that a railgun projectile can be launched at six times the speed of sound (approximately 4,473 mph) and precisely hit and destroy targets up to 62-124 miles away.

This allows them to reach further distances faster than regular guns because railguns use electromagnetic force to propel projectiles or missiles along their trajectories. The core of railgun technology development lies here.

Ensuring the safety of continuous firing becomes a key strategic asset for military authorities.

AP

The railgun concept first appeared during World War I, but the modern railgun was essentially completed in the early 20th century. However, commercialization was deemed a failure due to its lack of technology and practicality.

The U.S. also started in earnest in 1985 when the U.S. Army, Navy, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) were tasked with developing a railgun for ground combat vehicles (armored vehicles, tanks, etc.). However, they abandoned the development due to problems like the firing speed not meeting expectations.

On the other hand, Japan is known to be accelerating its railgun development. Recently, the Japanese Defense Equipment Agency under the Ministry of Defense announced the results of continuous railgun firing tests, stating that railgun research has reached a stage where it is starting to address stability and other issues.

Online Community

So, is South Korea also developing a railgun? South Korea is known to have started the full-scale development of a railgun in 2009.

When the initial start date for South Korea’s railgun development was 1989, they decided to develop an electrothermal-chemical gun instead of a railgun, believing it would be better while creating prototypes.

However, with the worldwide phasing out of electrothermal-chemical guns, the direction was shifted back to railgun development.

2011, the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) started full-scale railgun development and even released test footage. In 2015, about $4.7 million was invested in producing a 70mm medium-caliber railgun prototype by 2018.

Hyundai Rotem

In Korea, naval railguns, tank guns, and anti-tank railguns are believed to be considered for use.

In the development plan for the K-3 tank, which will follow the K1 series and K2 Black Panther, it is known that the introduction of stealth technology and railguns is being considered.

Given that the Korean peninsula is a relatively shallow battlefield, the role of railguns is expected to increase.

South Korean military authorities are reportedly researching to develop a railgun that can fire continuously, fly at speeds exceeding six times the speed of sound, and respond to massive missile attacks.

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  • mitch markle

    Have been interested, fascinated actually for many years. A Sci-Fi introduced this tech nearly a dozen decades ago!

  • Upit

    Boot Zex

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