brigade under the PLA 72nd Group Army. (Chinese People's Liberation Army/Peng Xianhua )
China claims to be developing "magnetized plasma artillery."
The Chinese military recently published a notice inviting researchers to devise a weapon that sounds like a sort of electromagnetic rail gun—which uses magnetism instead of gunpowder to fire shells—that several nations are developing. But actually deploying railguns has been hampered by the size of the weapon and especially the vast amount of electrical energy needed to propel a shell to speeds of greater than Mach 7. For example, despite years of research and vast sums of money, the U.S. Navy appears less than optimistic about fitting railguns on its warships.
But Chinese scientists believe that magnetized plasma artillery will be so light and energy-efficient that it can be mounted on tanks.
U.S. Army Sgt. James R. Moore of Portland, Ore., a logitstics NCO with the 642nd Regional Support Group, shoots at the Fort Pickett rifle range as part of the Mortuary Affairs Exercise Aug. 15, 2018. (U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Gary A. Witte, 642nd Regional Support Group)
Chief Master Sgt. Eric Evers, 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent, walks on a ramp as he marshals a C-130H Hercules at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Oct. 16, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Yasuo Osakabe)
The U.S. Air Force in recent weeks took 60 C-130H Hercules aircraft out of service to examine and replace engine propeller blades that inspectors deemed risky because the blades were manufactured before 1971.