PRC/PLAN Laser and Rail Gun Development Thread


Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
I have yet to see the western analyst comment on this rail gun development I guess they all still asleep
Here is Navreco comment
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Is China's PLAN About to Test a Railgun at Sea ?
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POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, 31 JANUARY 2018 23:23
Ship spotters from China released several pictures of what appears to be an electromagnetic (EM) railgun. The pictures released on January 31st show the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN or Chinese Navy) Type 072 III landing ship Haiyangshan (hull number 936) fitted with the suspected railgun at its bow and several ISO containers amidship.

Chinese ship spotter picture showing the PLAN Type 072 III landing ship fitted with a large turret which could be a railgun

At least three containers seem to be placed on the landing ship, likely for power supply and control. The shape of the turret itself is in line with what a railgun turret could look like. The shape of the barrel itself shares some similarities with BAE Systems' railgun (in its turreted variant) with a large diameter on one half and a smaller diameter on the second half.

The location where those pictures were taken has not been disclosed, but it could be in Wuhan in central China (on Yangtze river).

Chinese ship spotter guestimation on the nature of the various elements fitted aboard Type 072 III landing ship Haiyangshan (translation by Navy Recogintion).

A total of ten Type 072III-class landing ship (NATO designation Yuting-II class) were commissioned with the PLAN from 1992 until 2002. They have a length of 119.5 meters and a displacement of 4,800 tons. They are usually fitted with three H/PJ76F twin 37mm gun system (including at the bow where the suspected railgun is not fitted). All of 072III landing ships were built by Shanghai Zhonghua Shipyard.

Type 072 III landing ship Haiyangshan underway

Later in the day on January 31st, a picture emmerged showing the landing ship underway showing that the program is likely mature enough to enter a phase of testing at sea. If this turns out to be an actual EM railgun, China would become the very first country to test such a system at sea.

Chinese advances in the field of EM railguis should not come as a surprise however: According to a Popular Science article published recently
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China is the nation producing the most unclassified, peer-reviewed electromagnetic launch research in the world. It's the type of public science that suggests China could field a range of military electromagnetic technologies in the future.


Our video on BAE Systems' railgun at Sea Air Space 2016

About railguns
Railgun technology relies on a massive electrical pulse, rather than gunpowder or other chemical propellants, to launch projectiles at distances over 100 nautical miles – and at speeds that exceed Mach 6.

The military applications for this technology are many:
- Long range artillery (in excess of 200 Km)
- Anti-surface (naval)
- Increased penetration thanks to high impact speed
- Anti air and anti missile defense (including against hypersonic threats)
- Simultaneous impacts thanks via rate of fire and velocity control
- No powder (no prytechnic risks)


The U.S. Navy, along with the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and BAE Systems has been working on the technology for several years.
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the ability to conduct "multi shot salvo" (with two projectiles are fired in a 12 seconds span or about 5 rounds per minute). But this was at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, a land based facility.

US company
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is also working on the technology.

Other countries countries currently conducting research on railguns include Japan,
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and
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. But those countries are still at "in laboratory testing" stage. Again, if this turret aboard the landing ship is confirmed to be a railgun, China would definitly be ahead with the technology.
 
Wonder where they are going to test fire the gun. From what I've heard the ship was last spotted in Wuhan.
LOL until now I wrongly assumed (I don't know why) that gadget was in Shanghai, but it'd be take two days (?) to sail down there from Wuhan

the whole cruise is of about the length of the Danube!

7 Days & 6 Nights Chongqing Shanghai Cruise Itinerary
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Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
I guess we have been ignoring the progress that China has made in Railgun technology looking back here is what Byran Wang has to say . Interesting in this article is the comparison of energy release by this thing vs tomahawk.But the advantages of railgun are the flexibility, cost, ease of logistic and saturation attack. And as usual inuendo of stealing etc

China may have secret railgun programs that have caught up with the USA
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| December 16, 2017
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Landbased electromagnetic launchers have been photographed undergoing tests in China. There had not been any indication that China had a competitive railgun program.


China’s landbased electromagnetic launcher

The US has been the leader in Railgun testing and has placed an electromagnetic plane and drone launcher onto its most recent supercarrier.

The United States Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division demonstrated an 8 MJ railgun firing 3.2 kg (7.1 lb) projectiles in October 2006 as a prototype of a 64 MJ weapon to be deployed aboard Navy warships. A BGM-109 Tomahawk will deliver 3,000 MJ of destructive energy to a target but railguns shots are a fraction of the cost of a missile and will be much harder to shoot down versus future defensive systems. The Rheinmetall 120mm gun used on main battle tanks generates 9 MJ of muzzle energy. A Mark 8 round fired from the 16-inch guns of an Iowa-class battleship at 2,500 ft/s (762 m/s) has 356 MJ of kinetic energy at the muzzle.

BAE Systems has delivered a 32 MJ prototype (muzzle energy) to the U.S. Navy. The same amount of energy is released by the detonation of 4.8 kg (11 lb) of C4.

In July, 2017, Tom Beutner, head of Naval Air Warfare and Weapons for the Office of Naval Research indicated that within 12 months the railgun program would achieve ten shots per minute at 32 megajoules.

Recently, Rear Admiral Ma Weiming told Chinese experts in electromagnetic research that China has made breakthroughs in key areas of electromagnetic applications, such as railguns and electromagnetic-assisted launch system (EMALS) catapults.

The EMALS catapult is likely to equip the second domestically built
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In November 2017, it was reported that the Chinese Navy had developed a new means of powering electromagnetic catapults with conventional power sources instead of nuclear reactors, and construction of the Type 002 was due to begin imminently.

In 2016, retired Rear Admiral Zhao Dengping discussed plans for a follow-up warship to the Type 055; a “Universal Combatant Ship” that would be equipped with laser, railguns, and, most intriguingly, electromagnetically assisted missile launchers, which could increase missile range.

China has desire, technical and financial resources for solid directed energy and railgun programs

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At least from public sources, the Chinese electromagnetic gun prototype was a coil gun. You can check out
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the barrel is circular not rectangular.

A coil gun faces other technical difficulties but the projectile is not touching the barrel; it is literally floating in the air. This reduces the worries on barrel durability. In a rail gun the current must run through the container of the projectile. In a coilgun there is no need for this container.

Due to language issues, the English sources only talked about "railgun", but were not clear if it is pure electromagnetic, or chemistry-assisted. The Chinese sources only talk about "electromagnetic gun", but offered no details if it is a rail gun or a coil gun. Maybe the two Navies are taking on different path this time.
Would be crazy if it was a coil-gun! From my limited research, I've heard that in addiction to decreased barrel wear from non-contact, coil-guns (Gauss guns) are more energy-efficient, can impart greater power, and are more advanced/difficult to make than rail guns. Once again, though, limited short search results. Feel free to correct me.
 

Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
Well it is all over the net now with Skywatcher blog "Eastern Arsenal" with eye catching title
Looks like China just installed a railgun on a warship, beating the U.S. Navy to the punch
Well tomorrow expect to see in Yahoo news and Bryan Wang next big future or Kye Mizokami blog
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and Mike Yeo blog Defense news
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Sand this guy Tyler Rogoway from the Drive who claim to be the first to report the EMRG which is worng since it was first posted by Dafengcao. This guy even reported it to pentagon wow
I have been watching all those new con blog like Andrew Erickson, Ryan Martenson, Peter Dutton they are all silence
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Recently it has
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that the Navy has quietly stepped away from their railgun dreams due to the huge technological hurdles that still remain. Over the last month we have reached out to the Office of Naval Research time and again to confirm that this is in fact the case without response. If indeed the Navy has recently sidelined their railgun project, its status could change drastically due to these recent foreign developments. And this prompts another question—did American intelligence services see China's breakthroughs in railgun technologies coming or not?

We have contacted the Pentagon for comment and waiting
 
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taxiya

Colonel
Registered Member
With an all electric system you can probably also integrate some electrical components that would have been dedicated before but would could be rendered redundant. I’ll take your point about batteries being heavy, but I’m not sure batteries plus electric motors would actually be heavier than the mechanical drive components that it would replace (that stuff is *big* in these large ships). Furthermore, the storage piece of the power system is its most modular part, and I’d be curious to see if lighter weight storage solutions emerge as IEPS technologies mature (do we know what kind of storage solutions today’s combat ships use? Certainly not lithium based batteries I imagine?).

I forgot to mention another thing, the energy density per unit weight or unit volume. Right now, all batteries are much less dense than chemicals. Diesel fuel is like 2 to 3 times denser than the best lithium battery, high explosives are even more denser in the range above 5. That means, to store the same amount of energy for a shot, batteries will be 3 to 5 times heavier and bigger than the equivalent explosive charges in a shell. Of course, one does not need to have the storage capacity equivalent to the full magazine (50 shells let's say), but depending on the shooting rate (5 shots per minute) and total charging power (that can be drawn from the power grid for the 5 shots in one minute), maybe only say 10 shells equivalent battery is needed. The final configuration and therefor weight and volume requirement of a EM gun may or may not be higher than conventional gun. So there is a cut off line of ship displacement that determines feasibility of EM gun on a ship. So the answer to what is that cut off line will tell us whether EM gun can be used on a 4000t ship (call it frigate or destroyer).

Today's storage systems that were proposed by Professor Ma are Flywheel for EM catapult, and Battery and Super capacitor for EM gun. His paper did not mention type of battery. But I doubt anyone would use lithium battery in EM gun. Japanese uses them in their sub probably because the discharge is smooth and constant, they can design enough safe margin (power drawing rate) to avoid overheating. But EM gun is a burstingly charging and discharging system, the current is high, too dangerous for lithium, if used for EM gun the safety margin will be too high (translated to extra weight) eliminating the energy density advantage of it.
 

taxiya

Colonel
Registered Member
Maybe within 10km it is not an issue. But it is on a ship, if the waves cause the ship to turn 0.1 degree just as the weapon is going to fire, I can't imagine it lands near the target 200km away. Some sort of guidance is absolutely necessary.
Think of the 053 ship with MRLS. The rockets were not guided, the launch platform was specially designed to counter the waves. The outcome was that the accuracy was as good as land based MRLS.
 

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