Chinese scientists recently discovered a way to create the technology needed for better missile control in a quick, low-cost way.
In a paper that published Monday, a research team led by Mao Yuzheng, a senior engineer with the Xian Flight Automatic Control Research Institute under the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, announced that although China remained roughly two years behind the United States’ pace, it was advancing quickly. The country produced a low-cost fiber-optic gyroscope that can be used in missiles, quickening the missiles’ development and delivery to add to the military stockpile.
The gyroscope is used to correct a missile’s flight path automatically, even if its GPS fails. Only China and the United States possess the technology for the gyroscope, according to the English-language, Alibaba-owned South China Morning Post that quoted the research paper. The traditional gyroscope was an expensive and lengthy process.
“At present, the core components of traditional fibre-optic gyroscopes all come in discrete packages which are large,” the team wrote in the paper. “Making and assembling these components requires many procedures that are time consuming and demand lots of manpower.”
A parade unit of the Chinese Armed Forces during the Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of victory in World War II, on June 24, 2020, in Moscow, Russia. China has been increasing its military capabilities for years. Getty
The team wrote that in order to meet the Chinese military’s “urgent” demand, the technology’s cost and size must be reduced to increase shipment volume.
The team went on to say that manufacturing the technology was expensive for such a small production. However, the newest development accomplishes the goal by shrinking the gyroscope from the size of a small bowl to that of a grain of rice.
The new, low-cost gyroscope will be mass-produced in a computer chip plant and quickens the delivery time for tactical missiles.
China has been supplementing its military stockpile for years as it attempts to create the best army in the world. In 2021, Newsweek reported that the speed at which China was increasing its military capabilities was worrisome to some military experts in the United States.
Relations between the U.S. and China—long filled with distrust—have recently soured after the U.S. shot down a suspected spy balloon. Relations turned more negative after a U.S. Department of Energy report announced that, with low confidence, it believed the COVID-19 virus was created in a Chinese lab and leaked into the human population.
The damaged relations have spurred worries of a war. According to armedforces.eu, which publishes data of a country’s military capabilities, when compared, the U.S. military budget far surpasses China’s, but China has more personnel, self-propelled artillery and rockets. However, some experts expect that the odds of a war between the U.S. and China are decreasing in part due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Newsweek reached out to the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the U.S. Department of Defense for comment.