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First ever suspected prototype rail gun on Chinese Navy ship.

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  • #16
    Originally posted by citanon View Post
    A railgun with guided projectiles and sufficiently high repetition rate makes emplaced defenses a lot more effective against missile attack because it dramatically increases the magazine depth and the cost for shooting down incoming missiles.

    But, you have to get those hard pieces in place.
    What he said! The benefits from a railgun are only realized when you have the right infrastructure in place and the technical details ironed out (but that's true for all weapon systems.) The promise of a railgun is a relatively cheap kinetic projectile that can be repeatedly fired in a reasonable amount of time. The ability to provide a huge amount of electricity in a relatively compact and portable footprint is still very difficult - witness the two cargo containers on that amphib. Detection, tracking, and hand-off are difficult - we're still working to get better at this.

    In a defensive emplacement, a couple of railguns with a power system capable of producing a cycle time of 30-60 seconds and the capability of engaging targets 60+ km out would be a difficult tactical target. By itself it could be easily overcome, but with a few batteries of long range SAMs & ASuW missiles, point defense systems, and overhead air cover, it'd be very formidable. No one is there yet and with the investment required to put this on a couple of islands which could be isolated relatively easily, I have my doubts that even China could afford this. Yet they have sunk a large sum of money into these islands. I do not want to sidetrack this thread, but this website tracks their progress.

    So, like many Chinese military projects, it'll be interesting to keep an eye on developments.