Researchers are claiming that the new ZKZM-500 laser assault rifle has the ability to burn through human skin at a distance of up to a kilometer away. Additionally, the weapon is said to be able to ignite flammable objects at a similar range, and the laser itself is invisible to the human eye.
A functional laser weapon has been a dream for military forces around the world. The US military has created some laser cannons, designed to be mounted to large vehicles, that have been used to disable drones in flight.
However, laser assault rifles that can be wielded by soldiers have remained elusive, but scientists from the Xian Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics, a Chinese science academy, claim they have created such a weapon, and that it will soon be in the hands of Chinese police.
According to a report by Gizmodo, the weapon weighs approximately 6.6 lbs and has a half-mile range. The gun can be fired through windows, making it ideal for hostage situations or terrorism events.
The ZKZM-500 also has military applications, particularly for covert missions. The laser is reportedly powerful enough to burn through gas tanks, igniting the fuel stored within.
Lasers fired from the gun are said to be entirely silent and invisible to the naked eye. This means a human target may not be aware that they have been struck until their clothing and skin begin to burn.
When contacting tissue, the researchers claim the laser creates “instant carbonization” and that “the pain will be beyond endurance.”
At a cost of $15,000 each, the laser assault rifle is also fairly inexpensive, particularly since it doesn’t require ammunition in a traditional sense. The lithium battery is said to be able to produce 1,000 bursts or approximately two seconds each.
While hostage and anti-terrorism activities are the most likely use, a document uploaded to a Chinese government website indicating it could be potentially used for “illegal protests.
Though a $15,000 price tag could make it affordable to civilians, it is believed that the weapon will be restricted to military and police use, especially since the United Nations Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons, an agreement signed by 108 nations that bans weapons that are designed to cause permanent blindness, could apply to the ZKZM-500.