Tuesday, February 7, 2023

China Built a Hypersonic Generator


China Built a Hypersonic Generator

 That Could Power...


Unimaginable Weapons

China built a hypersonic generator that could power unimaginable weapons. Here's how it works...

Hypersonic Generator

  • Turning gas into plasma creates an intense electrical current for powering potent hypersonic weapons.

  • Chinese researchers built a hypersonic generator that could power military lasers, rail guns, and microwave weapons.

  • The relative compact nature of the hypersonic generator opens the scope of potential uses.

Chinese scientists say one formidable explosion inside a shock tunnel can turn hot gas into the most powerful hypersonic generator a military has ever seen—strong enough to charge military lasers, rails guns, microwave weapons, and more.

As reported by the South China Morning Post, a new peer-reviewed paper in the Chinese Journal of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics explains how the hypersonic generator turns one detonation inside a shock tunnel into enough electrical current to power hypersonic weapons of the future.

The Chinese scientists were able to use a controlled detonation to turn hot gas into a plasma filled with racing ions, which converted to current. With shock waves accelerating the compressed argon gas to 14 times the speed of sound, the charged ion-filled plasma then passed through magnetohydrodynamics generators to produce electric current up to 212 kilowatts while using .26 gallons of gas. That’s enough power for a burst of energy unlike anything available now in a compact system.

“It has a large capacity and high efficiency," the scientists write, via the SCMP. “There is no need for intermediate energy storage components. The energy can be directly transferred to the load without a high-power switch. And the device can start up quickly.” The generator also has no rotating parts, increasing efficiency and ease of use.

With some of the largest weapons in development requiring a gigawatt of input energy, the researchers say they can produce that with 177 cubic feet of hypersonic plasma (that’s smaller than most vans).

China isn’t ready to deploy the new system just yet. There are plenty of logistical hurdles to sort out in how to transport a device that requires controlled detonation, and just how to handle the gas needed for a second charge when on the move. Still, if the next iteration of the science offers up an automated reloading of the technology, China’s hypersonic weapons just got a colossal burst of power.

U.S. four-star general warns of war with China by 2025

A four-star general in the U.S. Air Force has warned of war with China within the next two years, likely over self-ruled Taiwan, in remarks that the Pentagon quickly sought to distance itself from.

Gen. Mike Minihan, who heads the U.S. Air Mobility Command, warned in a letter to the leadership of its roughly 110,000 personnel that it must speed up preparations for a looming conflict, citing Chinese President Xi Jinping’s goals and the possibility that Washington and Taipei will be preoccupied with other domestic issues in the ensuing two years.

“I hope I am wrong,” Minihan wrote in the letter dated Feb. 1 but sent out Friday. “My gut tells me we will fight in 2025. Xi secured his third term and set his war council in October 2022. Taiwan’s presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a reason. United States’ presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a distracted America. Xi’s team, reason, and opportunity are all aligned for 2025.”

The Defense Department looked to distance itself from the letter, with a defense official telling The Japan Times that the comments “are not representative of the department’s view on China.”

Still, while the letter did not represent the views of the Pentagon, it did highlight what appears to be growing concern among senior officers in the U.S. military and lawmakers over a possible invasion or attack on democratic Taiwan by China.

“If we’ve learned anything from Ukraine, it’s that we need to take our adversaries at their word when they threaten their neighbors and put hard power in their way before it’s too late,” Rep. Mike Gallagher, who heads a House select committee that will assess the military, economic and technological challenges posed by China, said in a statement.

“General Minihan should be commended for directing his Airmen to take the threat seriously,” he added.

Tensions over Taiwan — which China considers a renegade province that must be brought back into the fold, by force if necessary — hit fresh highs last year, as Beijing conducted massive military exercises after a high-profile visit to the island by then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

China has continued what the Pentagon calls “provocative” moves near Taiwan this year, including a large-scale “combat” drill around the island.

Fears of a conflict between the two powers hit a fresh high in 2021, when Adm. Philip Davidson, then head of the U.S. military’s Indo-Pacific Command, caused a stir by spelling out a timeline for a potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait.

“I think the threat is manifest during this decade, in fact, in the next six years,” Davidson said in testimony before the U.S. Senate’s Armed Services Committee.

Davidson noted in a recent interview that his 2027 assessment could include assaults on small, outlying islands held by Taipei, an overlooked potential flash point.

In recent months, there have been indications that Davidson’s view, which was partially downplayed at the time, has taken on more resonance among American officials.

In October, the head of the U.S. Navy warned that the military must be prepared for the possibility of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan before 2024. Days earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Beijing was “determined to pursue” unification on a “much faster timeline” after deciding that the status quo over Taiwan was “no longer acceptable.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has sought to dampen fears of a looming conflict with Beijing after Washington identified China as its top security challenge.

“We believe that they endeavor to establish a new normal, but whether or not that means that an invasion is imminent, I seriously doubt that,” Austin said earlier this month after so-called two-plus-two talks in Washington involving himself, Blinken and their Japanese counterparts.

In a response to a request for comment on Minihan’s memo, first reported by NBC News, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder called China the Defense Department’s “pacing challenge,” adding that “our focus remains on working alongside allies and partners to preserve a peaceful, free and open Indo-Pacific.”

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