Chinese scientists have reportedly made groundbreaking strides in military technology, introducing a “smart” hypersonic shell with unprecedented capabilities. Drawing inspiration from the US Navy’s “dream shell” concept, this projectile can reach Mach 7 speeds and alter its flight plan via satellite navigation, setting a new standard in precision and velocity.
The projectile, driven by a powerful electromagnetic gun, boasts the ability to modify its trajectory using signals from the BeiDou satellite navigation system, achieving reliable accuracy within a 50-foot radius while traveling at an astounding 8,202 feet per second.
Inspired by the US Navy’s “dream shell” concept, initially introduced in 2012, the Chinese development surpasses its American counterpart in terms of completion. The US military had planned a GPS-guided shell using electromagnetic rail guns but faced delays, with the project reportedly still ongoing as of 2017. In contrast, China’s hypersonic shell appears to be fully realized, operating without external guidance and showcasing the country’s prowess in military technology.
The technological breakthrough lies in the integration of electromagnetic launch capabilities with precise satellite navigation. The Chinese team, led by Feng Junhong from the National Key Laboratory of Electromagnetic Energy at the Naval University of Engineering, disclosed their achievement in a paper published in November. The researchers addressed the challenges of creating “smart” shells capable of receiving weak satellite signals while maintaining electromagnetic shielding, offering a glimpse into the unique internal design of the BeiDou signal receiver.
To counter the intense heat generated during the shell’s flight, Chinese scientists utilized aerogel as a cost-effective thermal barrier. This innovative approach ensures that the hypersonic shell can withstand the friction-induced heat while maintaining accuracy and range.
The unveiling of this “smart” hypersonic shell aligns with reported breakthroughs in various electromagnetic weapons by the Chinese Navy, encompassing energy storage systems, alloy material coatings, control and monitoring systems, and continuous firing tests.
While the combat performance of these advancements awaits confirmation, simulations suggest that China’s electromagnetic weapons could challenge the traditional military advantages held by Western countries, marking a transformative moment in global military capabilities.