The Daily Mail | Source URL
China‘s hypersonic naval gun which is said to be capable of striking targets 124 miles away at more than seven times the speed of sound will be ready for warfare by 2025, insiders have revealed.
The ship-mounted super weapon has been one of Beijing’s most secretive military projects and is reported to be the world’s first electromagnetic railgun.
Chinese media said the terrifying gun, which can fire projectiles at reportedly 2.5km (1.55miles) per second, was successfully tested last year – after nearly 20 years of research and development.
It is said that the gun would be mounted onto Type 055, China’s most advanced domestically produced destroyer.
This puts China ahead of the United States in the field. Washington had dedicated millions of dollars and more than a decade to its own ‘game-changing’ railgun before the project was said to be scrapped last year.
Railguns have long been touted as one of the future technologies of warfare, with the ability to launch projectiles at Mach 6 – or, more than 4,500 miles per hour.
The Chinese railgun is believed to be capable of launching projectiles at nearly 5,600 miles per hour.
Because the missile is fired using kinetic energy, this eliminates the risks associated with keeping explosives on a ship.
It has been described by the US Navy as a ‘true warfighter game changer.’
Sources with direct knowledge of a US intelligence report told CNBC that China had run another test of its railgun earlier this month.
The sources also revealed that the weapon could enter China’s arsenal by 2025.
China started developing an electromagnetic railgun as early as 2001, according to news site 163.com.
The current gun is the brainchild of Dr. Ma Weiming, a decorated military scientist, who began making the weapon with his team in 2007 in the far-flung Xinjiang Province in west China.
Dr. Ma, 58, is an expert in ship energy management and a director at China’s PLA Naval University of Engineering.
His top-secret project was only revealed in 2017 when he received a medal from Beijing for his innovative research effort in the scientific area.
Early last year, a set of pictures appeared on Chinese social media, which appeared to show a fully assembled railgun atop the Chinese tank landing ship Haiyang Shan, also known as the ‘Ocean Mountain’.
The picture sparked speculation that China had successfully produced the world’s first electromagnetic railgun.
Weeks later, state-run news site Huanqiu.com announced the successful test of ‘a certain new weapon on a ship’ while reporting about a scientist in Dr. Ma’s team. The female scientist, Zhang Xiao, was said to specialise in electromagnetic launching technology.
Chinese media believed that this was a way for Beijing to announce its successful development of an electromagnetic railgun.
China Central Television Station claimed in a previous report that Dr. Ma and his team had mastered a number of world-class technologies and these technologies ‘are more advanced than what other nations have by 10 years’.
The report said these technologies included the medium voltage DC integrated power system, which is regarded as the key to the development of railguns.
Speaking to CCTV, Dr. Ma said: ‘The fundamental purpose of the integrated power system is to solve the problems of mounting high-energy weapons onto ships.’
The awarded scientist claimed that his team were also developing China’s next-generation nuclear submarine, which would be more advanced than its equivalent from the United States.
The state broadcaster then aired rare footage of Dr. Ma inspecting a military ship which fired projectiles during drills.
China is likely to install the railgun on 10,000-tonne destroyer Type 055, which is designed to be equipped with an integrated electric system, reported Xinhua News Agency.
According to Chinese military commentator Cheng Shuo, a railgun-mounted Type 055 will be ‘an unbeatable ship’ in the 21st century and will have ‘epoch-making’ significance.
The most advanced domestically produced destroyer, Type 055 was launched in a shipyard in Shanghai in June, 2017.
The ship is equipped with the latest air, missile, ship and submarine defence systems, according to reports at the time.
China is believed to be planning to produce four of the ships.
A Pentagon report warned this month that China had some of the world’s most advanced weapon systems.
The report claimed that the country had developed leading technologies in naval forces, missiles and hypersonic weapons.
HOW DOES THE RAILGUN REACH SUCH HIGH SPEEDS?
Railguns use electricity instead of gunpowder to accelerate a projectile at six or seven times the speed of sound.
Using an electromagnetic force known as the Lorenz Force, the gun accelerates a projectile between two rails that conduct electricity, before launching it at ferocious speed.
This means the railgun can fire further than conventional guns and maintain enough kinetic energy to inflict tremendous damage.
Tests have shown that the weapons can fire a shell weighing 10kg at up to 5,400mph over 100 miles – with such force and accuracy it penetrates three concrete walls or six half-inch thick steel plates.
The video below shows tests of BAE’s model.