At a time when media draw your attention on China’s rising as the 3rd most important arms exporter or on the ever-increasing volume of weapons purchase by Gulf monarchies like Saudi Arabia, there are other defense initiatives currently under development in the United States which might well change the near future’s strategic landscape. Not that China’s going to challenge the US leadership more and more. In fact, this could be quite the contrary. Keen on cutting costs and finally quite aware of the facts that current changes in the world could potentially question the US second-to-none military might, the US military has been developing some new, almost futurist weapons which could provide the US with unprecedented un-deterrent-able military force.
One of them is nicknamed the US Navy’s “Star Wars weapon” – the EM Railgun launcher – an electricity-powered rail-gun which can fire a 10-kg shell up to Mach 7 able to penetrate multiple concrete walls 100 miles away. Yet another Reagan-like SDI made to exhaust Russia’s and China’s financial resources? No, this time, this seems it’s for real. Planned to come into active service by 2018 on stealth Zumwalt-class destroyers, this weapon uses the electromagnetic Lorenz force and none existing ships, even the most modern ones, could either survive its shots or radar-detect them in time. Considering the projectile is combustible-less and just consists of an aero-dynamic shell, the rail-gun could become both the most lethal and cheapest weapon ever.
Also, in service since 2014 in the US Navy, the laser weapon system – LaWS – is power-adjustable – with distract, disable and destroy modes – and can reach a target 1 mile away almost instantly by sending around 30 kilowatts of destructive force. At just 59 cents a shot, missiles could well stay on the shelf someday. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is developing a similar weapon for use on ground vehicles. While the whole world rearms, except Europe, and everyone witnesses the growing lethality and modernization of conventional forces, the US has committed itself to designing most-advanced weapons so that it will become technologically so far ahead. Today, only the US government has the technology and the funding to engage in these costly developments, and in the end, this could be insurance that the New American Century is not a project anymore but reality.