In late January 2018, photos started circulating on social media showing a Chinese landing ship armed with a large gun turret fitted on its bow where the ship’s anti-aircraft turret would normally be. If confirmed to be a working prototype, China would be the first in the world to have a warship carrying an electromagnetic railgun (EMRG)—a new type of armament capable of posing a severe threat to U.S. forward-deployed forces. Despite sinking over $500 million into research and development, the U.S. Navy has thus far been unable to successfully produce the weapon. The absence of any information on the design and the testing of the railgun prototype from Chinese authorities, however, casts doubt on whether the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) prototype even works.
The development of rail guns and other directed-energy weapons are the future of maritime superiority. So, should the U.S. military be concerned about the Chinese ships with next-generation weapons? Until we see a fully operational Chinese railgun launch a projectile using electromagnetic energy, the answer is “no.”
Read the full article in The National Interest
More from CNAS
CommentarySharper: The Authoritarianism Challenge
Autocratic leadership is on the rise globally. Even in democratic nations, leaders are eroding checks on their power and weakening institutions. The use of illiberal technolog...
By Anna Pederson
Taiwan plays a pivotal role in East Asian and global affairs. It has long been a central point of contention in the strategic competition between the United States and China. ...
By Anna Pederson & Jacob Stokes
VideoIf India won't readjust ties with Russia, questions will be asked about Indo-US ties
ThePrint's Senior Consulting Editor Jyoti Malhotra speaks to Lisa Curtis about the impact of India's relationship with Russia on ties with Russia. Watch the full interview fr...
By Lisa Curtis
CommentaryCreating Waves in the Indo-Pacific: Reverberations from Russia’s War in Ukraine
Russia’s war in Ukraine is making it increasingly difficult—perhaps impossible— for India to be able to straddle the US-Russia divide for much longer....
By Lisa Curtis