Rail guns are the next generation of military weapon that promise to fire further and faster with zero gunpowder. Using electricity alone these cutting-edge weapons can fire a 17 pound projectile at Mach 7 to strike targets hundreds of miles away. Allowing them to sink battleships, shoot down aircraft and missiles while being virtually unstoppable.
Until recently the US Navy was the only game in town when it came to Rail Gun technology but this weekend pictures emerged of a Chinese naval vessel with what appears to be a kick ass rail gun mounted on the bow. With one picture leaked to the internet the Chinese government has signified that they are a military force not to be trifled with. Has the Chinese navy now stolen the technological lead from the US?
Initially tweeted by ex PLAN (Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy) officer Dafeng Cao the image captures the Haiyang Shan tank landing vessel with the rail gun mounted on the bow along with a number of large containers on the deck. It is assumed the containers connected to the rail gun are the power and control modules. If this is a working prototype ship mounted rail gun it would be the first test setup to successfully undertake sea trials.
The US Department of Defense have also been developing such technology for the last decade but funding restraints have delayed the sea trials of such a weapons system. Between the DOD delays and PLAN’s enthusiasm China may well have stolen the march to rail gun weaponry. Weapons that could give any navy a massive tactical advantage.