Hypersonic projectile test ended in failure

The Chinese Navy has probably tested a hypersonic rail gun. This device uses a series of electromagnets to accelerate the projectile to incredible speeds. But during the demonstration of its power, everything did not go according to plan.

Tests of a hypersonic rail gun. Photo: South China Morning Post

According to the South China Morning Post, during the test of the rail gun, a high-precision projectile, or “smart bomb”, soared into the stratosphere. However, it did not reach the planned height, due to which the test was declared unsuccessful.

This conclusion was reached after an analysis conducted by Professor Lu Junyong of the Naval Engineering University, whose team with the help of artificial intelligence found that although the cruise bomb exceeded the speed of Mach 5, it did not gain the necessary height. This was due to the fact that the projectile rotated too fast during the ascent, which led to its strong tilt.

Testing a rail gun with a hypersonic projectile is quite important not only as a demonstration of weapons. China has proposed using such a rail gun to send astronauts on a spacecraft into low-Earth orbit. The idea of such guns is not new. Similar technology was tested at NASA back in the 1990s, but the aerospace administration was forced to abandon it due to lack of funds.

Tests of a hypersonic rail gun. Photo: South China Morning Post

Like many space technologies, the rail gun intersects with military developments. News about the testing of a “smart” rail gun could worry officials in the United States. 

Chinese officials claim that the hypersonic rail gun has the potential to revolutionize civilian transportation by creating faster railways and new space launch capabilities. However, before a giant gun can launch people or weapons into space, many technical problems need to be solved, including the rotation and tilt of projectiles.

Earlier, we reported that the United States tested its own hypersonic missile for the first time.

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