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.
While the United States spent years dithering over the future of its much-hyped electromagnetic railgun project, China ate its lunch. The Chinese navy plans to field its own secretive version of the electromagnetic railgun on naval vessels as early as 2025, according to a U.S. intelligence assessment first reported by CNBC.
The skies above a crucial U.S. military base in Africa are reportedly doing their best impression of a Pink Floyd laser show at your local planetarium — and that may end up causing major problems at a strategic chokepoint that’s increasingly subject to aggressive competition between global military powers.
The Navy’s futuristic electromagnetic railgun may be dead in the water, but other countries appear to be plowing ahead with their own research. New photos circulating purportedly show a Chinese navy landing ship with the distinct housing of an electromagnetic railgun mounted on its bow.
When one reads enough Chinese naval literature, diagrams of multi-axial cruise missile saturation attacks against aircraft carrier groups may begin to seem normal. However, one particular graphic from the October 2015 issue (p. 32) of the naval journal Naval & Merchant Ships [舰船知识] stands out as both unusual and singularly disturbing. It purports to map the impact of a Chinese intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) strike by twenty nuclear-armed rockets against the United States.
On June 6, the U.S. military sent two B-1B Lancer bombs from Guam to the South China Sea, a move that challenges China's increasingly aggressive territorial claims over island chains in the waterway, which the U.S. recognizes as international waters.