China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is looking to acquire systems to test so-called ‘magnetised plasma artillery’, according to a 13 February announcement made on the service’s weapon and equipment procurement website.
The notice, which invites tenders for the construction test and launch systems, provides no further details about this developmental artillery technology except for that the project has been classified as ‘secret’.
However, according to a patent (CN104697397B) filed in 2015 by the PLA Academy of Armoured Forces Engineering, the premise behind this technology is to use external magnetic fields to reduce wear, and increase the efficiency of guns.
The patent describes, in highly technical detail, how in principle the system uses an external magnetic field generator wrapped around the barrel so that the magnetic field within the barrel is highest near the surface of the bore and lowest on its central axis.
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