Executive Intelligence Review


China Well Ahead of United States in Rail Gun Development

Jan. 2, 2018 (EIRNS)—A U.S. intelligence estimate of June 2018 found that China is well ahead of the United States in developing electromagnetic rail gun technology and expects to begin fielding such weapons on PLA Navy ships as soon as 2025. Development of China’s rail guns began in 2011 but, according to a Dec. 30 report in Task & Purpose, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA)-run news outlet claimed in February 2018 that the Chinese Navy had achieved a “breakthrough” during sea trials for the new rail gun.

And indeed, the referenced U.S. intelligence report apparently not only confirms the PLAN claim but suggests that trials began even earlier than the PLA said.

Photographs of the Haiyang Shan, a Type 072 III landing ship, with the prototype rail gun mounted to the bow, have recently been circulating on the Internet, and they demonstrate how far the Chinese are ahead of the U.S. Navy in developing this technology. The U.S. has tested a prototype rail gun at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia, but has yet to mount one on a ship for further testing, though T&P reports that an extra $20 million is provided in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act to accelerate the development of a shipboard demonstrator.