The type 072II Yuting-class tank landing ship Haiyangshan has set sail for possible testing in the open ocean. The Chinese navy warship is equipped with what appears to be an electromagnetic railgun.
The latest photos of the test bed ship, which appeared on social media a few days ago, show the ship mounted with the suspected railgun on the vessel as it roams the high seas.
What the hell is this? pic.twitter.com/sQDAsHd7A3
— dafeng cao (@dafengcao) January 31, 2018
China is expected to field warship-mounted electromagnetic railguns with the ability to fire high-speed projectiles at targets up to 124 miles (200 kilometers) away by 2025, CNBC reported in June, citing US defence sources.
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
While conventional guns rely on gunpowder to propel projectiles forward, railguns use electromagnetic energy to hurl projectiles at targets downrange at huge speeds, roughly 1.6 miles per second (2.6 kilometers per second), making these weapons desirable next-generation combat systems.
Railguns require significant amounts of power, among other challenging demands. Whether or not China has managed to overcome these developmental issues remains to be seen.
China appears to be making progress as it moves toward possibly mounting railguns on combat-ready warships, such as the new Type 055 stealth destroyers, rather than test bed ships like the Haiyangshan. The US military, on the other hand, has yet to put the powerful gun on a naval vessel even though railgun development began over a decade ago.
Source: Science Alert