China reportedly tested the world’s most powerful naval gun earlier this month, and it is expected to be ready for deployment by the middle of the next decade.
The Chinese first mounted its railgun on a warship and began at-sea testing in December 2017, CNBC reported, citing unnamed sources.
Testing is expected to be completed by 2023.
“Railguns use electromagnetic energy instead of gunpowder to propel rounds, and China’s is capable of striking a target 124 miles away at speeds of up to 1.6 miles per second, according to the people who have knowledge of the intelligence report,” according to CNBC.
“For perspective, a shot fired from Washington could reach Philadelphia in under 90 seconds.”
— Brett Haase 🌎🚀✨👻👽🤖💫 (@brett7three) January 31, 2019
The railgun gives navies the “might of a cannon with the range of a precision-guided missile,” the news outlet reported.
The U.S. Navy is developing its own railgun, but it is believed to be years away from entering the fleet.
The U.S. Naval Institute News reported last summer that the Office of Naval Research launched its railgun program in 2005 and in 2012 shifted into making the technology deployable.
However, USNI added that sources suggested to the news outlet last year the “railgun was struggling to gain support to make the transition from a research project to an acquisition program.”
“The Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that was signed into law earlier this month added $20 million to the Navy budget to ‘accelerate Navy railgun development and prototyping,’” according to USNI.
The Navy is designing its next generation of surface combat ships to accommodate new weapons systems like the railgun and lasers, which are currently being testing.
David Axe wrote at The National Interest the Navy is planning to start building its new class of ships in 2023.
The Wall Street Journal reported the U.S. intelligence officials testified on Tuesday concerning the increased threats to national security posed by tighter cooperation between China and Russia.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Chris Wray, and Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel addressed the warnings contained in the newly published annual threat assessment.
According to The Journal, “The assessment cautioned that Beijing and Moscow are pouring resources into a ‘race for technological and military superiority’ that will define the 21st century.
“It said the two countries are more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950s.”
China is seeking naval dominance in the South China Sea, where it has claimed sovereignty over a series of islands and reefs, on some of which it has built military outposts.
The posts sit aside one of the most highly trafficked sea lanes in the world, through which $3.4 trillion worth of traded goods and commodities pass.
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