China's new laser-powered rifle can literally set you on fire

China's new laser-powered rifle can literally set you on fire

Researchers in the country have reportedly developed a prototype laser assault rifle of similar dimensions to an AK-47, dubbed the ZKZM-500, according to South China Morning Post.

The Chinese military has built a Star Wars-like laser AK-47, according to researchers.

However, it can instantly "carbonize" human skin from over half a mile away and shoots out energy that passes through windows.

Sources say the 15mm calibre weapon will be charged using a lithium battery and could be mounted on cars, boats and planes.

The 15mm calibre weapon weighs three kilos, nearly the same as an AK-47, and has a sniper-like effective range of 800m.

"Although the gun is classified as a nonlethal weapon, its laser shots can cause "'instant carbonization' of human skin and tissues", according to the South China Morning Post, which means skin would burn and be reduced to carbon like the outside of a charred marshmallow.

But this new weapon, called a ZKZM-500, has a few differences from the "Star Wars" version.

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The general manager of the ZKZM fiber laser company, who asked to remain anonymous, said the weapon would "immediately" produce a "strong pain response" in the target but stressed it was created to be "non-lethal".

Another researcher added that the rifle could be a great weapon for covert military operations as "nobody will know where the attack came from. It will look like an accident", the source said. It estimates that it will cost about $15,000 per unit when mass-produced.

While manufacturer ZKZM Laser has yet to secure a licensed partner, it has deemed the prototype ready for mass production for China's military and police only.

Given their potential for misuse, the design and production of the devices will be tightly controlled with government agencies the only permitted customers.

The laser blasters in "Star Wars" are no longer a thing of science fiction. If it does, the first groups to get one will likely be anti-terrorism units in the Chinese Armed Police. It can also fire through windows, burn through gas tanks and ignite anything that's flammable.

Despite its supposed capabilities, the weapon has been described as "non-lethal", according to a document released last month on the Public Service Platform for National Civil-Military Integration.

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