China’s PLA Explores “Battlefield Metaverse” Training Base To Simulate Future Warfare

“In the face of the surging wave of new technological revolution, military construction can continue to develop and advance only by adhering to integrity and innovation. Keeping an eye on the frontiers of scientific and technological development, constantly absorbing the latest scientific and technological achievements, and applying them to the practice of military reform and preparation for military struggle in a timely manner are the only way and effective measures to win future wars.”

According to a recent article in the official People’s Liberation Army Daily newspaper, the PLA has been reforming its training methods to enhance combat capabilities and create realistic combat environments for troops, in part to overcome a lack of combat experience.  The PLA believes that a “battlefield metaverse” simulating future combat environments can be created where troops can experience a future multi-domain space approaching actual combat conditions.  Such a complex, dynamic, and harsh battlefield environment requires the use of advanced technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, brain-computer interface technologies, “super bionic” technology, and the Internet of Things.  

The PLA describes a metaverse as a highly technologically developed virtual world existing in parallel and reacting to the real world.  The battlefield metaverse can simulate the effects of new concept weapons such as meteorological weapons creating harsh environments or an unmanned “blue army” to prepare troops in a complex immersive environment.

Creating such a battlefield metaverse to simulate future warfare would not only increase unit combat capabilities.  It would also improve tactics and test emerging technologies required to prepare for and win future military struggles.  The PLA currently employs Battle Labs for testing tactics and new technologies, but short of actual combat, a truly immersive experience would better prepare troops to win future conflicts.


“Create a realistic and applicable ‘battlefield metaverse’ (打造逼真适用的“战场元宇宙),” PLA Daily (official People’s Liberation Army newspaper), 14 April 2022,

In recent years, with the development of information network technology, various new terms, new concepts and new things emerge one after another. After big data, cloud computing, Internet of things and blockchain, the “meta universe” has attracted more and more attention.In fact, “metaverse” is not a new term. It originated from a sci-fi concept in the novel “Avalanche” 30 years ago, and now refers to the Internet applications and social life forms that are formed by technologies such as extended reality, digital twins, blockchain, and artificial intelligence. Although it is not known how the “metaverse” will develop in the future, it at least provides us with an idea: with a series of advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things, blockchain, artificial intelligence, etc., it is possible to create a “battlefield element” that simulates future wars. “Universe” provides a super space-time environment that combines virtual reality and Internet of Things for training and preparing for war.

Chinese Military Uses AI To Develop World’s Smallest and Most Powerful Coilgun

“Artificial intelligence can outperform humans in designing futuristic weapons…”

A group of Chinese researchers from the Naval University of Engineering in Wuhan, China, used artificial intelligence (AI) to develop the world’s smallest and most powerful coilgun.  The coilgun, which is about the size of a pistol with a 4.5-inch barrel, contains three battery-powered coils that generate an electromagnetic field.  As described in the following excerpts, published in Hong Kong-based English-language daily South China Morning Post, the kinetic energy of the bullet flying through the barrel has more than twice the energy needed to fire a fatal shot.  The researchers claim the weapon is ideal for counterterrorism and stability operations.  The advantage of the coilgun over a conventional gun is its “adjustable speed and very short response time.”

AI is playing a key role in developing China’s electromagnetic weapons.  The article describes the coilgun as more sophisticated than a typical firearm and too complex for traditional weapons software to handle.  AI, however, can continuously improve an imperfect design through self-learning.  According to the article, “it would have been impossible to achieve this level of performance without using AI in the design process.”  Chinese researchers have also been using AI to develop large-scale electromagnetic weapons, such as railguns, which have a range of “hundreds of kilometers.”  The Chinese navy now has a test facility in which AI is used to develop smart railgun munitions capable of enduring extremely high pressure and intense magnetic fields.


Stephen Chen, “Chinese Researchers Turn to Artificial Intelligence To Build Futuristic Weapons,” South China Morning Post (Hong Kong’s most prominent online English-language daily), 5 December 2021,

Artificial intelligence can outperform humans in designing futuristic weapons, according to a team of Chinese naval researchers who say they have developed the world’s smallest yet most powerful coilgun.

The prototype weapon developed by professor Zhang Xiao and her team at the Naval University of Engineering in Wuhan has a 12cm (4.5-inch) barrel, about the size of a pistol, which contains three battery-powered coils that generate an electromagnetic field.

This electromagnetic field means that, unlike a conventional gun, the bullet does not touch the sides as it passes through the barrel.

Researchers found the bullet’s kinetic energy as it was could reach almost 150 joules, more than twice the energy needed to fire a fatal shot.

The bullet speed can vary depending on factors such as size and weight, and the scientists said one of the major advantages of using a coil gun was that, unlike a conventional gun, it could be adjusted to fire deadly shots or non-lethal ones.

In a paper published in the Transactions of the China Electrotechnical Society last month, Zhang said the gun had the advantage of “adjustable speed and a very short response time”, adding that it had great potential to be used for counterterrorism and maintaining stability.

The researchers say it would have been impossible to achieve this level of performance without using AI in the design process.