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Chinese navy engineers claim to have developed an electromagnetic rail gun that can fire multiple projectiles at hypersonic speeds. This breakthrough starts a new era in naval warfare, potentially altering the balance of power on the world stage.
As was reported by the South China Morning Post, the rail gun can fire projectiles at a speed of 2 kilometers per second (Mach 6) and has a phenomenal range of 100-200 kilometers (which matches the capabilities of conventional artillery). When tested it was able to flawlessly fire 120 rounds thus showcasing its exceptional durability and operational efficiency, which is an achievement the most advanced American prototypes couldn’t accomplish.
Professor Lu Junyong, leader of the research team at the National Key Laboratory of Electromagnetic Energy explains that this achievement marks a dramatic shift in the warfare landscape, stating: “This breakthrough represents a paradigm shift from chemical to electromagnetic power… Continuous firing capability is the cornerstone of effective electromagnetic rail launch systems, and we have successfully achieved it.”
According to Interesting Engineering, the US Navy has been heavily investing in rail gun research for decades, yet abandoned the project due to issues with funds, engineering, and technology, and shifted its focus to hypersonic missiles. A main issue the US had while developing the rail gun was the stress and wear caused by the repeated firing.
The secret to China’s success? Revolutionary measurement and diagnostic system- the system is capable of analyzing data from over 100,000 sensors (ten times more than those in a modern aircraft), which allows for real-time identification and rectification of potential issues within milliseconds. This AI-powered technology has reportedly saved the weapon from critical damage multiple times, demonstrating its crucial role in ensuring the rail gun’s operational longevity.
This new and revolutionary technology is expected to be used more than just in naval warfare, with its developers claiming it could be used in revolutionizing high-speed transportation, and even transforming space travel by facilitating significantly cheaper and more efficient rocket launches.