A tank landing ship and what appears to be an electromagnetic railgun weapon were spotted along the Yangtze River, presumably heading for sea trials.
Chinese outlets said recently that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy is “making notable achievements on advanced weapons, including sea tests of electromagnetic railguns”.
What the hell is this? pic.twitter.com/sQDAsHd7A3
— dafeng cao (@dafengcao) January 31, 2018
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
According to a report from US intelligence, China’s railgun system was first revealed in 2011, and ground testing began in 2014. A major breakthrough happened in 2015 when the weapon system gained the ability to strike over extended ranges. The weapon system was successfully mounted on a Chinese Navy ship in December 2017, with sea trials happening later.
In early February 2018, pictures of what is claimed to be a Chinese railgun were published online. The sea trials now appear to be underway.
Outside of China, a 32 Megajoule prototype was delivered by BAE Systems for the US Navy. Their particular rail gun delivers fire from up to 220 miles in range, around 10 times the distance capable of standard ship mounted guns with rounds landing more swiftly and with little or no warning compared to a volley of Tomahawk cruise missiles.
A previous 32-megajoule installation existed at Kirkcudbright Electromagnetic Launch Facility at the Dundrennan Weapons Testing Range in Scotland, UK.
China is the first to take a railgun to sea.