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 state media recently revealed that China will “soon” arm warships with electromagnetic railguns, a much-hyped technology that’s of questionable use to a military.
* This would certainly be a noteworthy technological feat for China, but it would be militarily insignificant, experts told Business Insider.
* An operational railgun would likely bring very little to the table militarily, but it would advance the narrative that China is a formidable rising power with the ability to develop next-generation weaponry.
China claims it’s winning the race to bring long-range superguns to its growing fleet, but experts say that even if these weapons work, they won’t make a difference in high-end conflict.
China announced it will “soon” be arming its warships with railguns, a technology which uses electromagnetic energy rather than explosive charges to fire rounds farther than conventional guns and at seven or eight times the speed of sound. The US Navy has spent more than a decade pursuing this technology, but naval affairs experts contend that even the best railguns have huge problems that make them a poor substitute for existing capabilities.
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WNU Editor: This technology is new (and it is still be researched and developed), so its impact on future conflicts and wars is still unknown. But the Chinese believe that there is value to pursue it, and they are doing it in cooperation with their Navy.