CHINA is loading its warships with monster generators that will power high-energy weapons strapped to the vessels, according to reports.
The 20 megawatt power units are required to operate lasers and rail guns that will destroy long-range targets and shoot down incoming missiles.
The generators were completed in 2018 but loaded onto warships recently, according to the generators’ developers, as reported by the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
“They will quadruple the power-generating capacity on the warships, making full electric propulsion possible,” the state media site said.
“The generators will also be used for electromagnetic rail guns that can fire high-speed projectiles and laser weapons.”
China and the US Navies are both developing railguns, a type of superweapon that can fire long-range projectiles at unprecedented speeds.
The weapons use electromagnets to propel projectiles at up to seven times the speed of sound. China is looking to deploy the guns as early as 2025.
Beijing, which is ahead of the US in its railgun programme, claimed last year that the electromagnetic weapons would be ready “soon”.
Both militaries are also tinkering with laser weapons that can defend ships and ground troops from incoming drones and missiles.
The high-energy systems focus a concentrated beam of energy onto projectiles to melt them before they reach their targets.
A recent US Army report stated the weapons could be ready by 2022.
The move to add huge generators to China’s warships was announced on Chinese social media app Weibo by developers at the 704 research institute of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation.
The extra power will mean the ships have better weapons, faster response times and better manoeuvrability, according to the SCMP.
Developers did not specify which ships the generators had been added to.
It’s thought they will have likely been added to the navy’s most high-tech destroyers, such as the Type 055 guided-missile destroyer.
Li Jie, a naval expert in Beijing, told the SCMP that the giant generators were vital for the warships.
“A powerful generator will mean all these high-energy-consuming systems can operate,” Li said.
China’s ships won’t be the first electrically-powered vessels, with both the US and UK Navies boasting craft that at least partially run on generators.
In May, a laser weapon that can destroy aircraft in mid-flight has been successfully tested for the first time by the US Navy.
A stunning clip showed the moment an American battleship shot the powerful beam and took out an unmanned drone.
The video, from May 16, showed the high-energy laser being blasted from the USS Portland in the Pacific Ocean and hitting a drone mid-flight.
Military chiefs said it was the first time the powerful beam had been used in a “systems-level implementation”.
In other news, the US military is developing a laser can ID terrorists by scanning their heartbeats from 650 feet away.
the US Navy Seals and Royal Marines are looking to kit out their special forces with 50mph Iron Man-style jet packs.
And, here are the weirdest things lost by Uber passengers – including a jetpack and a bulletproof vest.
What do you think of China’s high-tech weapons? Let us know in the comments!
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? at [email protected]