Saturday, January 05, 2019

Will the Navy Get or Face a Rail Gun?

China has put a rail gun on a ship to test it out. Where is our rail gun?

Is this a sign that China will have a rail gun weapon before our Navy?

The Type 072II Yuting-class tank landing ship "Haiyang Shan" and its weapon were spotted along the Yangtze River at the Wuchang Shipyard in Wuhan earlier this year.

The latest photos of the test-bed ship, which appeared on social media a few days ago, show the ship toting the suspected railgun as the vessel roamed the high seas, Task & Purpose reported. ...

China is expected to field warship-mounted electromagnetic railguns with the ability to fire high-speed projectiles at targets up to 124 miles away by 2025, CNBC reported in June, citing US defense sources with direct knowledge of the latest military intelligence reports on China's new naval weapon.

I worried about the Chinese effort even as if it seemed we dropped the ball. I've written about the potential of the rail gun to replace naval aviation if it is spread throughout the fleet and networked.

I have serious worries about investing so much money and personnel in the platform-centric huge aircraft carrier--which we can't afford to lose--when the network-centric naval world of distributed offensive power is coming. We should have this first and not our potential enemies.

Missiles are a big part of this, but I think rail guns will solve the resupply problem of missiles when the rail gun is combat ready and in the fleet.

I hope it gets to our fleet before it gets to the Chinese fleet. We've had concepts of "network-centric warfare," "cooperative engagement," the "tactical cloud," and "distributed lethality." Am I missing any? Could we get that capability before the Navy gets a new name?

Perhaps the Army will save the Navy for dropping the ball on the rail gun.

UPDATE: I'm hopefully up-to-date with concept terminology with this late addition of "kill web."