China succesfully tested “the world’s most powerful naval gun,” earlier in January, according to anonymous sources familiar with a US intelligence report cited by CNBC.
The gun is an ultra-high velocity electromagnetically powered railgun — which is expected to be battlefield ready ” by 2025, according to people with direct knowledge of a U.S. intelligence report.”
China’s railgun was first seen in 2011 and underwent testing in 2014, according to the anonymous sources.
“Between 2015 and 2017, the weapon was calibrated to strike at extended ranges, increasing its lethality. By December 2017, the weapon was successfully mounted on a warship and began at-sea testing, a feat no other nation has accomplished. The Chinese are expected to complete at-sea testing by 2023,” CNBC reported.
The reports of the successful tests come at a time of tension between China and the US over the South China Sea and other areas.
According to the anonymous sources, railguns use electromagnetic energy instead of gunpowder to propel rounds, and China’s is capable of striking a target 124 miles away at speeds of up to 1.6 miles per second.
“A shot fired from Washington could reach Philadelphia in under 90 seconds.”
The gun can launch metal projectiles from dual electrified rails at a speed ranging from Mach 4 to Mach 7, making it capable of punching holes in enemy vessels or aircraft up to 150km away.
The yet unreleased intelligence report allegedly claims that the rounds used by the Chinese railgun cost between $25,000 and $50,000 each.
Successful railguns have been a wish of the Russian and US militaries for a long time, but it appears that China is leading the push for the technology.
The Chinese railgun, if the reports are true is the most powerful cannon to ever roam the high seas, and is now doing so ahead of schedule given prior US intelligence predictions.
“The U.S. Navy’s railgun, which is years away from being operational, remains a classified system still in development under the Office of Naval Research,” CNBC claimed.
Previously, in March 2018, the Chinese-owned Global Times revealed that two months after pictures were revealed of the “Yangtze River Monster,” the People’s Liberation Army boasted that was “making notable achievements on advanced weapons, including sea tests of electromagnetic railguns.”
What the hell is this? pic.twitter.com/sQDAsHd7A3
— dafeng cao (@dafengcao) January 31, 2018
On December 29th, the same ship with the railgun reportedly mounted on it was sighted going out for sea trials.
Long time no see, the railgun test ship is spotted undergoing sea trials these days. pic.twitter.com/WdxXkyYWrF
— dafeng cao (@dafengcao) December 29, 2018
“Chinese warships will ‘soon’ be equipped with world-leading electromagnetic railguns, as breakthroughs have been made … in multiple sectors,” the Global times reported. The state-owned newspaper proudly asserted that “China’s naval electromagnetic weapon and equipment have surpassed other countries and become a world leader.”
On January 15th, the Defense Intelligence Agency published a report called “China Military Power.”
The report concludes that due to Chinese policy of “acquiring technology by any means available” — especially in the areas of naval and missile systems, including intermediate range missiles and hypersonic weapons, capable of allowing missiles to travel at many times the speed of sound — China’s defense tech is not only at the cutting edge but “In some areas, it already leads the world.”
In conclusion, the report also confirmed a warning by Gen. Paul Selva, vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who in June 2018 warned of China’s advances in hypersonic missiles: “If we just sit back and don’t react we will lose our technological superiority” over China.
The Pentagon report also reached the same conclusion:
“The result of this multifaceted approach to technology acquisition is a PLA (People’s Liberation Army) on the verge of fielding some of the most modern weapon systems in the world.”