Racing to Electrify Warfare: The Global Push for Electromagnetic Cannons

Why did the United States abandon the electromagnetic cannon while China now uses it?

Electromagnetic cannons, also known as railguns, are a tempting option for various armies due to their speed, precision, and lack of reliance on traditional propellants. The recent test of an electromagnetic cannon by the Chinese army has brought attention to this weapon that was once only seen in science fiction. Despite the recent experiment being considered a failure, the weapon’s ability to reach extreme speeds and altitudes using electromagnetic forces showcased its potential.

The concept of electromagnetic cannons dates back to 1918 and has since been a tempting option for various armies. The United States began serious research on electromagnetic cannons in the 1980s, with the Navy leading the charge in developing the technology. The US Navy’s Electromagnetic Railgun project spanned 15 years and saw promising prototypes, but ultimately faced challenges with range, power usage, and barrel wear. The project was officially paused in 2021 as the Navy focused on other technologies.

China has recently made significant advancements in developing their own electromagnetic cannon, potentially solving the wear issue faced by the United States. Other countries like India, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Japan are also actively developing their own electromagnetic cannons. With countries around the world advancing in electromagnetic cannon technology, it is becoming increasingly competitive as nations race to create the most advanced weapon.

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