- Handheld weapon is capable of firing from half a mile away using energy beam
- It cannot be seen but causes ‘instant carbonisation’ of human skin
- The weapon can burn through clothes in a split second, researchers claim
The Chinese military has built a Star Wars-like laser AK-47 capable of causing ‘pain beyond endurance’, according to researchers.
The handheld weapon can hit targets half a mile away using an energy beam that cannot be seen but causes ‘instant carbonisation’ of human skin.
The weapon, which is powerful enough to pass through windows, can burn through clothes in a split second, claim scientists who have not been named due to the sensitivity of the project.
Sources say the rifle is ready to be mass produced and will first be distributed to police anti-terrorism squads – though no date has been given for deployment.
The prototype ZKZM-500 was developed Xian Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shaanxi province according to an article by the South China Morning Post.
The weapon weighs around the same as an AK-47 (three kilos, or 6.6lbs) and has a range of 800 metres (0.5 miles).
Sources say the 15mm calibre weapon will be charged using a lithium battery and could be mounted on cars, boats and planes.
It is able to fire more than 1,000 ‘shots’ with each one lasting a maximum of two seconds.
One scientists involved with the project told South China Morning Post the weapon would ‘burn through clothes in a split second … If the fabric is flammable, the whole person will be set on fire.’
‘The pain will be beyond endurance,’ they added.
The researchers said its invisible frequency and the fact it produces no sound gives the advantage of stealthy attacks.
‘It will look like an accident,’ they said.
Initially, production costs are set to be 100,000 yuan (US$15,000/ £11,000) per unit.
It is reportedly ready for mass production, but maker ZKZM Laser hasn’t found a licensed partner yet, according to the SCMP.
Given their potential for misuse, the design and production of the devices will be tightly controlled with government agencies the only permitted customers.
WHAT IS CHINA’S STAR WARS-LIKE LASER RIFLE?
China has developed a Stars Wars-style laser assault rifle capable of burning targets at long range.
Researchers say the futuristic device can burn through clothes in a split second and scorch skin.
Below are some of the weapon’s specs:
Range: 800 metres (0.5 miles)
Weight: 3kg (6.6lb)
Production cost: £11,000 ($15,000) per unit
Powered by: Rechargeable lithium ion battery
The weapon will likely first roll out to Chinese SWAT units, who could fire the weapons through windows to disable kidnappers in a hostage situation.
The silent weapon could also be used by the military as it can burn through a gas tank and ignite fuel storage.
The SCMP reports that a technical document detailing information about the weapon was released last month on the Public Service Platform for National Civil-Military Integration.
The rifle was described as ‘non-lethal’ in the paper because the laser rifle does not inflict the penetrative damage of a normal gun.