Chinese state media has revealed a technological breakthrough in electromagnetic rocket design amid US regional security concerns in North Korea and the South China Sea. The new and more powerful electromagnetic rocket uses catapult rocket artillery technology rendering the weapon more powerful than any conventional artillery in the world.
The Global Times reported that Han Junli, a research fellow at a Beijing-based research center under the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), had been spearheading the development of the novel electromagnetic rocket artillery, inspired by Ma Weiming, a research fellow of the Chinese Academy of Engineering dubbed “the father of the Chinese electromagnetic catapult.”
According to rumors via The Manila Times, this technology could be mounted on future Chinese aircraft carriers to launch fighters and more massive fixed-wing planes.
Han reportedly mentioned a military skirmish that occurred in the dangerous border region on a plateau in Southwest China, where he discussed the need with government officials for future deployment of the new rocket technology.
“China has large plateau and mountainous areas where rocket artillery could destroy invading forces from hundreds of kilometers away without soldiers crossing mountains,” Han said.
Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times earlier this month that conventional artillery uses powder and does not perform well at high altitudes because of the lack of oxygen.
“Artillery that uses an electromagnetic catapult will not need to face the same problem. This makes it very valuable in warfare on plateaus.”
The military expert said electromagnetic rocket artillery could easily reach targets more than 200 kilometers (124 miles) away at a cheap cost per round.
The Global Times said Han’s research had made a significant technological breakthrough in electromagnetic catapult technology that it is now becoming a reality.
The use of electromagnetic catapult for rocket artillery is an unprecedented innovation and could be able to rival Western technology.
“China needs to not only develop weapon concepts that are already available to the world but also explore new, not-yet-present weapons to lead the frontier of technology development,” Song added.
Rocket artillery is not the only Chinese weaponry harnessing the power of electromagnetism. Earlier this year, China decided to mount a giant railgun onto a military vessel. PLA and the US Army are the only militaries to have successfully fired railguns in repetitive experiments.
Railguns can fire metal projectiles at extreme high-speeds and are expected to be mounted on China’s next-generation 10,000-ton Type 055 missile cruiser in the next several years.