Zhang Xiao, associate research fellow at the Wuhan-based PLA Naval University of Engineering, led a team to develop repeating pulsating direct current power system that could charge the railgun.
The same team solved technical issues for shipborne electromagnetic launching systems that will be used on the next Chineses aircraft carrier.
China is the first country to mount a railgun on a warship. The PLA landing ship Haiyang Shan, has been photographed with railgun and was seen undergoing tests at a dock in Wuhan before its reported sea trail this year.
US is testing a Railgun on land and it can shoot 20-30 shots
The US Office of Naval Research (ONR), which coordinates technology programs for the navy, previously reported that a prototype railgun could fire between 20-30 shots. But it remains to be seen if the gun can be improved to fire hundreds of rounds in quick bursts.
It will be difficult to make a railgun which can be used in military operations
* fire enough shots, fire shots quickly and have the system last for hundreds or a thousand shots
* target the shots that are moving at 5 to 20 times the speed of sound
* fit the railgun with its power systems onto a Navy ship
China claims to have solved the power system and their latest destroyer has large engines for powering a railgun. China claims that the power system can convert the over one hundred megawatts of power into electricity for the railgun. If the size of systems for a railgun were large then China could always create mostly dedicated ships as part of a fleet. The ships with railguns would protect carriers and be able to launch long range attacks.
Other military electromagnetic advances from China
China claims to have successfully tested its first permanent magnet propulsion motor for vessels recently, according to the State-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), which is known for manufacturing China’s first aircraft carrier and the Jiaolong submersible vessel.
The motor used in conventional submarines has the power of several megawatts, but he still cannot determine the exact power of the installed test model.
Permanent magnet propulsion motor technology can replace the reduction gears and significantly reduce the running sound to the lowest possible level, the expert said.
On the global scale, the permanent magnet motor will have the power to meet the needs of full electrical movement for nuclear submarines.
Rear Admiral Ma Weiming, China’s top naval engineer, is notably responsible for the development of multiple Chinese naval electromagnetic programs, including the electromagnetic catapult and railguns. He said the Chinese navy is adding a “shaftless” rim-driven pumpjet, a revolutionary and silent propulsion system to their newest attack submarine, the Type 095 SSN.
This electric drive is an attempt to leap beyond current submarine technology to technology with a long history of attempted development. This is similar to China making a stronger commitment to develop a submersible arsenal ship. China is taking technology and designs with decades of history and actually implementing them.
Previous submarine pumpjets are “shrouded propellers,” which consist of a tubular nozzle covering the propeller. By removing the shaft of the propeller, the reduction in the number of moving parts decreases the noise made by the pumpjet, as well as saving hull space. Smaller civilian rim driven electric pumpjets are easier to maintain, and have less cavitation (bubbles that form during propeller movement), which make them even more quiet.
CCTV13 had a “Focus on the interview” segment on May 30,2017. They discussed the of electric propulsion technology power of Admiral Ma Weiming. There was some discussion of the technology and spin about how China was moving beyond copying to attempt to create breakthroughs.The first few minutes of the video discussed telecommunication switching work of Zhang Ping.
Integrated Electrical Propulsion System (IEPS) turns all the output of the ship’s engine into electricity, unlike traditional propulsion designs, which convert engine and reactor output into mechanical action to turn the propeller shaft. The high electrical output can also be used to power motors for the propellers or potentially high-energy weapons. Additionally, IEPS has far fewer moving parts, making them quieter, and thus ideal for use on submarines. When coupled with quieter reactors like the Type 095’s reported natural circulation reactor, the rim-driven pumpjet and IEPS can drastically reduce the acoustic signature of any SSN.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.