China is developing a lead with railgun technology and affordable electromagnetic launchers because it appears to be mastering medium voltage DC power for ships and land bases.

By 2022, China should have twenty fortified islands in the South China Sea. This will be up from about 7 to 12 today. China should have over fifty fortified islands by 2030.

China will be able to deploy railguns to each of islands and electromagnetic (EMAL) launching for drones and planes. EMALs would save on fuel and increase the range of drones and planes.

200 mile range railguns will cover the South China Sea

Currently, despite all of China’s advancement with the number and capability of missiles, the US could still overwhelm China air defenses but it would take the commitment of nearly all of the US planes. The US could technically do this, but it has been obvious that the US will not make this commitment for Taiwan or Asia.

The US is moving ahead with deployment of combat lasers up to 300 kilowatts in power over the next 3-5 years versus 32-megajoule railguns. Only one megawatt of power is needed for combat lasers versus tens of megawatts for railguns.

* China has deployed a demo railgun
* the US thought about a demo railgun in 2015 and 2016 but deferred it for probably 5 years
* China has claimed to have made a breakthrough with medium voltage integrated DC power
* US Navy presentations indicate that medium voltage DC power distribution is the key to making affordable power for railguns and electromagnetic launchers

Medium voltage (about 12000 volt) DC power distribution that is reliable and affordable is the key to having the power for futuristic technology like railguns and electromagnetic launchers.

China’s new type 055 destroyer has 112 megawatts of power. The medium voltage DC distribution of power means that China could power two railguns and still have the engine power to move the ship around.

Dozens of man-made islands with railguns and planes will make it impossible for the US to defeat the defenses using conventional forces. The US would have to use nuclear weapons to overcome those defenses.

Nextbigfuture expects the US to also master railguns and medium voltage integrated DC power.

The USA will also have a large lead with Space launch and space technology thanks to SpaceX and the SpaceX BFR.

US and China military budgets