Zumwalt class Destroyer
(Image: Flickr User - Official U.S. Navy Page)
Ashleigh Sharp and Lachlan Wilson
Take a step into the future and have a quick look at the US Navy’s new railgun, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal. Using electromagnetic rails, the high-powered weapon fires an 11kg projectile at Mach 6, which can penetrate through seven steel plates leaving a 5-inch hole. Currently, the only class of Navy ship with the electrical energy required to fire a railgun is the US Navy’s new Zumwalt-class destroyer. For those wanting to learn more about the ship, USNI News recently published an in-depth feature on the challenges and opportunities of the Zumwalt.
With a new generation of long-range missiles—like China’s DF-21 ‘Carrier Killer’—potentially spelling the end of the US’s aircraft carriers’ time on the front line and capability concerns regarding the readiness of the USN’s strike fighter squadrons, things are looking a bit tough for the US Navy. But it doesn’t stop there—the USN is undertaking a complex prioritisation of its operations and maintenance schedules due to a mid-year review of funding that discovered an US$848 million shortfall.
In a fresh Natuna Islands incident, last Friday the Indonesian Navy arrested a Chinese fishing vessel, the Gui Bei Yu 27088, and its eight crew members for illegally fishing inside Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone. The Indonesian Navy fired shots at the trawler when it refused to stop illegally fishing, with the assertive action ‘made to show the world that Indonesia will take firm action against ships that violate our territory,’ according to Western fleet command spokesman Maj Budi Amin. It’s the second significant engagement in the South China Sea between Indonesia and China this year, with the events working to elevate tensions between the two countries.