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Army Creates a Directed Lightning Bolt Weapon

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the save-for-half-damage dept.

The Military 214

Sparticus789 writes "Army researchers at Picatinny Labs in New Jersey have developed a prototype weapon which uses a directed lightning bolt to destroy vehicles and unexploded ordinance. The weapon works on the premise that 'A target, an enemy vehicle or even some types of unexploded ordnance, would be a better conductor than the ground it sits on.' Are we one step closer to C&C:Red Alert Tesla coils?"

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lightning to stop cars ? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40475651)

Does NOT work. the car would not be affected enough by that.

Oh god I want one! (4, Funny)

spokenoise (2140056) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475693)

This is my dream device. I have sat on my bike, in my car and had someone do something so stupid. Now I can fry the snot outa something and nothing left to say it was me!

Re:lightning to stop cars ? (1)

queBurro (1499731) | more than 2 years ago | (#40477061)

steel tracked tank?

Re:lightning to stop cars ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40477187)

Correct. 'Top Gear' demonstrated this with a presenter sitting inside the car while it sustained multiple artificial lightning strikes at a test center in Germany.

Resonant fields (4, Insightful)

hoboroadie (1726896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475657)

This is what I got into science for.

Re:Resonant fields (4, Funny)

qu33ksilver (2567983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475979)

So do we need Mjolnir for this ?

Re:Resonant fields (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476079)

This has nothing to do with sharks

Re:Resonant fields (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476349)

Yeah... the rest of us kinda noticed.

Einstein would spit on you. Just saying.

Einstien? Hah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476887)

Einstein was an over rated hack

Re:Resonant fields (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40477141)

Shock and awe!

it's "Ordnance" (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40475659)

Ordinance = A piece of legislation enacted by a municipal authority; An authoritative order; a decree.
Ordnance = Military weapons, ammunition, and equipment used with them.

Re:it's "Ordnance" (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40475785)

Who says they're not going to destroy some legislation with this puppy?

Re:it's "Ordnance" (2)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476011)

I don't think ordinances are very conductive

Re:it's "Ordnance" (3, Funny)

SpzToid (869795) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476213)

Ordinances can be conducive to a great many things.

Re:it's "Ordnance" (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 2 years ago | (#40477149)

They are if they use conductive ink. [wikipedia.org]

Re:it's "Ordnance" (4, Funny)

Cosgrach (1737088) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476183)

My guess is that they will first go after the Declaration of Independence.

Re:it's "Ordnance" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476291)

I think the Bill of Rights would make a more likely first target.

Re:it's "Ordnance" (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476707)

It's already dead.

Re:it's "Ordnance" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476823)

However, obviously your right to cry reactionary hyperbole is fully intact. Rush Limbaugh would be so proud.

Re:it's "Ordnance" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476611)

It's "legslation".

Re:it's "Ordnance" (4, Informative)

SirAdelaide (1432553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476365)

According to the internet, ordnance is "Origin: 1620–30; syncopated variant of ordinance". So ordnance is just a very old spelling mistake. The original is ordinance. Which suits both congress and war for the same reason; in both settings ordinance is used for shooting your enemy.

Re:it's "Ordnance" (4, Insightful)

geogob (569250) | more than 2 years ago | (#40477227)

It may be so, but in 2012 ordinance and ordnance have distinct definition and you should use one in the context of the other. This distinction is in use since the 15th century and has been accepted in every English dictionaries I know. But it is absolutely correct that some ordinance may cause more harm than some ordnance.

Re:it's "Ordnance" (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476895)

even some types of unexploded ordnance

There is ordnance, and there is exploding ordnance. There is no such thing as exploded ordnance. I wonder if the bits of complex aggregated supernova that wrote the summary looks up at the night sky and ponders the twinkling unexploded nova and the stunning unexploded supernova until the extremely undissipated gas cloud rises.

Bad summary and old news (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40475687)

What a terrible fucking summary. Also, this has been all over the web for nearly a week.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolaser

It works by ionizing the air with a UV laser to create a path of lowered resistance for the arc to follow.

Re:Bad summary and old news (4, Funny)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476601)

What a terrible fucking summary. Also, this has been all over the web for nearly a week.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolaser

It works by ionizing the air with a UV laser to create a path of lowered resistance for the arc to follow.

Yes and the headline stinks too, to be in any kind of sync with the usual /. hyperbole it should have been: "Army, inspired by id Soft's DOOM, creates it's own BFG9000!".

Re:Bad summary and old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476695)

>"Army, inspired by id Soft's DOOM, creates it's own BFG9000!".
More like inspired by Tesla

Re:Bad summary and old news (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476865)

Tesla inventy plenty of things (and dreamed of plenty more), but I don't recall anything regarding an "aimed" lightning bolt you could fire at nothing in particular (no oppositely charged or neutral target to attract the arc).

Re:Bad summary and old news (1)

GrpA (691294) | more than 2 years ago | (#40477263)

What if you used two lasers, one negatively charged lightning and one positively charged lightning and sent it out over distance like a big loop?

That could fire at nothing in particular couldn't it? The beam sources could even be some distance apart then...

GrpA

Re:Bad summary and old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40477111)

A week? I remember reading about this exact technology over ten years ago... Only thing that's changed is the size of the device.

Defence? (1)

dohzer (867770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475695)

Make the C&C:Red Alert Tesla Coils more offensive by mounting them on trucks. Then the US would be interested in them!

Re:Defence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40475733)

Then the US would be interested in them!

Especially because they were more effective against people than vehicles.

Re:Defence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40477137)

So, Shock Trooper in MPV?

Skin Effect Anyone? (4, Insightful)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475697)

With all apologies to Nikola and his 'Death Ray', wouldn't the skin effect of ultra high voltage used for these kind of arcs make this totally useless as a weapon? The bits you want to zap are inside the external metal casing. They are not the easiest path to ground, therefore they are not getting any significant juice.

Faraday Effect Anyone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40475723)

I'm thinking the Faraday Cage effect of the vehicle will protect occupants. Also for the money spent to develop this weapon, how cheap will be the counter-measures?

Re:Faraday Effect Anyone? (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 2 years ago | (#40477189)

The occupants will be protected as they are less conductive then the car, the electronics on the the other hand have a good chance of getting fried. Emp generators have been used to stop a car so the car doesn't act as a Faraday cage, it's probably because the car is not grounded and the metal container is not continuous.

Re:Skin Effect Anyone? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40475809)

With all apologies to Nikola and his 'Death Ray', wouldn't the skin effect of ultra high voltage used for these kind of arcs make this totally useless as a weapon? The bits you want to zap are inside the external metal casing. They are not the easiest path to ground, therefore they are not getting any significant juice.

Only at high frequencies is the skin effect a notable factor, though it is present at a minor degree at lower frequencies. The proximity effect is more of a detractor anyway. Besides - actual lightning is pure electrostatic DC anyway, though the high speed of the pulse up/down state carries an AC component due to the changing magnetic field that results.

So no, the skin effect would not turn any arbitrary casing into an alternate conductor unless HF is used. But if the target is surrounded by a dense gold shield rammed deep into the earth, they are safe from this weapon (though bullets not so much).

-Raphael, Silicon News [silicon-news.com] author.

Not "Electrostatic DC" (5, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476165)

If it is electrostatic it is not a direct current (hint: static=not moving, current = moving).

Lightning normally consists of two pulses, one up and one down. The latter usually contains most of the current, but as it is a pulse with a rapidly rising leading edge, the EM field is considerable. The terms "AC" and "DC" do not really apply in this case.

The significant thing is not so much the frequency spectrum of the pulse, but the actual cross section of the ionised region through which the current is passing. If this is relatively large, the current density is low and a Faraday cage is effective. If it is small, the current density may be so high that the actual resistance of the target becomes important; the heat generated may melt a hole in the target resulting in the penetration of ionised gas into the target and current flowing down it. This explains rare cases where a lightning rod has not sufficiently reduced the potential gradient over a building, and the first strike has blown a hole in one of the conductors and then perhaps jumped into the building and started a fire. (I have seen photos of this effect but not seen them anywhere on the net.)

The idea of a target surrounded by a "dense gold shield" is just plain silly, by the way. All gold is dense...and a thick gold shield would be impracticably expensive. Copper is fine (higher melting point and greater thermal capacity than aluminum) but reinforced concrete with the rebar internally welded together would be much cheaper, more generally effective, and should easily be able to cope with the very limited power available from any human-built weapon.

Re:Not "Electrostatic DC" (1)

trewornan (608722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476683)

If it is electrostatic it is not a direct current (hint: static=not moving, current = moving).

Isn't the point that once an electrostatic charge starts to discharge it is then moving - i.e. DC?

See the GGP post (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40477179)

It said "actual lightning is pure electrostatic DC anyway". It is not. I think on reflection the GGP may have meant "electrostatic discharge", but in any case lightning is not a "direct current" in the usual sense of the word. DC is used to mean a circuit where conventional current flows from a higher to a lower potential (obviously the electrons actually flow from lower to higher potential but that's a whole other can of worms).

In lightning an initial spike ionises air, and then the next spike of current travels down the ionised track. Electrons move one way, ions move in different directions depending on charge. Because the velocity and population density of both is changing very rapidly, EM fields are generated with gradients in varying directions. It is about as unlike a one-way current in a wire or an electron beam in vacuo as you can easily get.

My complaint with the GGP was that it is an inaccurate description of what happens, contains nonsense like "surrounded by a dense gold shield", and yet gets moderated up to +5 despite it.

Re:Not "Electrostatic DC" (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476747)

Also for the money spent to develop this weapon, how cheap will be the counter-measures?

Copper is fine (higher melting point and greater thermal capacity than aluminum) but reinforced concrete with the rebar internally welded together would be much cheaper, more generally effective, and should easily be able to cope with the very limited power available from any human-built weapon.

What's wrong with a lightning-rod? Use a set of them if needed: mount them in from of the vehicle to be protected so that the distance between the vehicle and a rod is larger than the distance between the rods.

Re:Skin Effect Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476097)

Skin effect comes from frequency (AC), not amplitude (voltage)

Darwin Awards (5, Funny)

Circlotron (764156) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475721)

I'm wondering who will be first to aim the laser at a storm cloud :-P

Re:Darwin Awards (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475793)

Power company? Doc Brown and Marty?

Re:Darwin Awards (2)

Adriax (746043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475831)

Will one of the lightning drones gain sentience from the lightning and start calling itself Number 5?

Re:Darwin Awards (1)

tangelogee (1486597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40477123)

No disassemble!

Re:Darwin Awards (2)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475845)

Answer: The last one to aim the laser at a storm cloud.

Re:Darwin Awards (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476131)

I'm thinking that if Skippy was still in the Army, that would make the list [skippyslist.com] .

They've been trying this for years (5, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475725)

I remember seeing stories about the anti-vehicle/IED lightning gun back in 2007, maybe earlier. Every single time it comes up, it gets shot down as being utterly impractical. It can't stop vehicles reliably enough to warrant use in a life-or-death situation, and it's a laughably inefficient means of IED detonation (they need to be within arms reach of the bomb to do anything).

And yet the story keeps coming back. I suspect some congressmen just feel that, like the laser plane, this weapon is too cool to give up on.

Re:They've been trying this for years (4, Funny)

a_hanso (1891616) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475855)

Faraday cage. Check mate.

Re:They've been trying this for years (4, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476421)

Lightning Weapon?
Just stand stand where the weapon previously struck and you're virtually impervious.

Re:They've been trying this for years (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476723)

yep as proved by Top gear:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve6XGKZxYxA

Re:They've been trying this for years (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 2 years ago | (#40477217)

A car is not a Faraday cage, there are gaps and it is NOT grounded, if a car were a Faraday cage cell phones would not work in them.

Re:They've been trying this for years (4, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475865)

And yet the story keeps coming back.

Yes, it comes back every time the research project funding comes up for renewal.

Re:They've been trying this for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40477053)

It is impossible to outrun a Congress critter's insatiable appetite for pork.

Re:They've been trying this for years (2)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475871)

I,as well, seem to recall a reference to a "wireless taser" that uses laser ionized atmosphere to direct a charge. I want to think that it was circa 1990s-sometime.

Now it appears to be a confirmed concept. I wonder what is waiting in the wings?

Re:They've been trying this for years (1)

ThePeices (635180) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476109)

"I wonder what is waiting in the wings?"

Av-gas?

Re:They've been trying this for years (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475945)

I've often wondered why they dont use a 2.4ghz band dual chamber resonant klystron for use as a vehicle killer.

While the vehicle *IS* a conductor, it is not a perfectly effective Faraday cage, as evidenced by morons talking on cellphones, and stealing wifi while wardriving.

A really high energy microwave beam from a mobile klystron is way more energy efficient, easier to cool, and would be radically more effective at killing the onboard electronics in a modern vehicle. It would also be more effective at killing the occupant, which is probably desirable by military ideals.

It would require violation of FCC broadcast energy on that band, but since this is the military, they should be exempt anyway. That it would knock out every wifi network for over a mile around, possibly with antenna damage, is potentially useful militarily as well.

(I am thinking on the order of 200w of broadcast in the directional microwave beam. More than enough to smoke electronics. 700w would be able to cook hotdogs at a distance, but less portable.)

Why on Earth a klystron? (5, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476217)

They are suitable for modulation (as in broadcast) but for straight microwaves a magnetron is your generator of choice. It really is so simple that when the first magnetron was taken from the UK to the US as part of WW2 technology exchange, the reaction of the American engineers was "It's just a diode and a magnet! Why didn't we think of that?" Apocryphally one engineer remarked "It's just an electronic dog whistle", to which another replied "Explain a dog whistle". However...

Years ago a few of us playing with a 500W magnetron did manage to light a small bulb connected to a dipole a few meters away, and deflect the needle of an Avometer with a loop aerial at about 10M. But focussing is a pig, and your claims of knocking out wifi over a mile away with a poxy little 200W is nonsense. There is this thing called the inverse square law. You would be better off with a maser, but even so to do any damage you would need to keep the beam in the same place for quite some time, and with two moving vehicles this will be difficult. Vehicle electronics are rather well protected nowadays, and there are few points you could hit where the beam would transmit significant energy into the ECU. The ECU connections are protected with transient suppressors, and can normally withstand 28V for a while.

You'd do much better with a high intensity cobalt-60 pulse source, but again getting the range without either killing yourself with radiation or having to transport the ass end of a nuclear sub around with you might prove difficult.

Re:They've been trying this for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476221)

My microwave oven is 800W. I think the emitter needs to be pretty close to the hot dog to cook it at that kind of power.

Re:They've been trying this for years (2)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476731)

You'd need a decent antenna to do so. 50 DB would help to keep your PSU portable and yourself not affected. And way more power than a measily 200 W. Think 20KW, although each 6 dB your antenna is better will halve the power requirement. A better antenna does mean you have to aim better at a target you may not exactly know where it is. With reflections and all the "hot spot" may not be directly at the part you want to fry.
Firstly: not all signals will be absorbed by your target, some will miss. In a microwave oven the signal is contained, so the energy that missed its target will bounce around and most of it will be absorbed eventually (since it's light speed we are talking about a small fraction of a microsecond with "eventually").
Secondly: the car may not be a perfect Faraday cage, but is is shielded. I'd expect about 10% of the energy that's properly directed will enter the car. Most cars have their ECU's under a metal hood. The direct front is usually covered by a metal cooler. These will deflect your signal. It may even be needed to bounce the signal off some part under the hood you can hit directly in order to hit the ECU indirectly. All in all it would be difficult to get it practical.

Re:They've been trying this for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40475997)

What general wants to be the one who turned down the research to make Death Rays?

Re:They've been trying this for years (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476139)

And yet the story keeps coming back. I suspect some congressmen just feel that, like the laser plane, this weapon is too cool to give up on.

I wonder what you'd have said about heavier-than-air flight in 1890. Or rocketry in 1938. Or... just about any technological advance.

Typos again... (1)

afterthought (179161) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475743)

Unexploded laws? It should be "ordnance."

Re:Typos again... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475869)

Makes one wonder if Slashdot is now entirely staffed by part-time college-dropout interns who just ghost-edit, eh?

Re:Typos again... (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476837)

What the heck do they mean by an "unexploded ordnance"? Anything that hasn't been exploded yet? We must explode more things to get rid of all those unexploded ordnances!

natural development (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475787)

There has long been a prototype of a taser which uses lasers to ionize a path. This from the same guys?

Fucktards submit + fucktards edit = new Slashdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40475851)

The submitter cannot even spell "spartacus" correctly.

Then the editors don't catch the incorrect word usage.

Honestly, if I had one of these lightning bolt gizmos, the very first place
I would fire it is at the idiots responsible for allowing this crap to be posted.

Godddamned uneducated fucktard lowlife scum.

One word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40475863)

Zot!

The army's budget (0)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475875)

They have clearly too much money in their hands.

Instead of spending millions on dumb sci-fi fantasy weapons, they should be doing better killer drones than, after bombing an area, land, transform into humanoid form and chase the survivors while threatening them with a hard metallic voice. "We must destroy! Death to humans... TERRORISTS! We meant terrorists!"

Re:The army's budget (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475905)

clearly too much money

indeed. check the NASA budget vs. DOD budget. I don't ever see a republican complain about DOD budget ...

Re:The army's budget (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476027)

indeed. check the NASA budget vs. DOD budget. I don't ever see a republican complain about DOD budget ...

But we need thirteen aircraft carriers, railguns and lightning bolts to protect our freedoms from Somali pirates, or something.

Re:The army's budget (4, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476239)

As Max Hastings (UK military historian) observes, the problem with the US military is that they imagine that a sufficiently large and advanced weapon will bring a war to an end quickly. The Manhattan project reinforced this mindset, although the conventional bombing of Japan was more lethal than the atom bombing, and it may merely have provided a pretext for the Emperor to rule that the war should end. Since WW2, the approach hasn't worked. But generals and military bureaucrats are always trying to fight the last big war over again.

Re:The army's budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476889)

Quite to the contrary. This is the first time, in the history of professional armies, that one is trying to prepare for the next war, vice the last. The US military is desperately trying to prepare for a war with China, and the retarded secretary of defense, instead of realizing that this is a whole lot cheaper than a war with china, is gutting the Air Force's budget and accusing them of "next war-itis". We have literally fucked this up for 2000 years, and the first time a military prepares for the next war instead of the last, we fuck it up.

Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40477257)

"We have literally fucked this up for 2000 years," If Ive told you once Ive told you a million times don't exaggerate.

You don't even have much more than 500 years of history.

Re:The army's budget (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476963)

US military is that they imagine that a sufficiently large and advanced weapon will bring a war to an end quickly.

The Atomic Bomb brought WW2 in the Pacific to and end in a matter of days.
The Cold War was won when tactical nuclear weapons were placed in Europe to negate the Warsaw Pact's significant numerical superiority in conventional forces.
Air power, smart bombs, superior armor, the MLRS, and the use of GPS (which enhanced maneuvering of allied troops) enabled the US led Coalition to defeat Iraq in Gulf War 1 and later, in Gulf War 2. Both were quick victories. The occupation, of course, was a completely different matter.
Peace through superior firepower works.

Re:The army's budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40477087)

The surrender was already under negotiation. The US presenter Japan with a proposal the knew would be rejected - get rid of the Emperor. It was an excuse used to justify a decision already made to test the weapons. The test were intended i) to scare the shit out of the Russians, ii) to test that a functional weapon could be delivered without killing the aviators and most vilely of all iii) to test the effect of a real nuclear explosion on unprotected civilians. Mengele would be proud.

The US army is taking over the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40475915)

Shocking!

They stole my idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40475921)

Damn it! I thought of that first!

Re:They stole my idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476607)

You should have patented it!

A product of Applied Energetics (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476007)

This is from Applied Energetics. [appliedenergetics.com] It's not yet clear if it's militarily useful. Range is going to be a problem. It has potential as "something to shoot at a potential IED that causes less damage than an IED".

Unless it becomes a more generally useful weapon, though, it will probably suffer the fate of most overspecialized weapons.

Video (2)

gijoel (628142) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476053)

or it didn't happen.

"Shock" (ha ha) and definitely AWE (3, Insightful)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476133)

I don't know how practical a weapon this would be in a military engagement (like with other guys shooting back at you) but in a situation where you needed to scare the bejeezes out of some people (like a riot or maybe a hostage situation) I can definitely see it being useful.

I mean most weapons (flamethrowers excepted) are pretty hard to see (not hear). You can see the flash of muzzles and maybe the pitting of concrete from near misses but other than getting hit you wouldn't know how close they were to you.

THIS on the other hand would be a terrifying weapon. Like a thunderbolt thrown at you, the flash would probably blind you for a few seconds and the clap of thunder make you deaf. People would just start running unless they dropped dead due to a heart attack! Think of it as god's version of a taser.

It reminds me of that lightning weapon used in "District 9". Don't know if it's powerful enough to make people literally explode.

Re:"Shock" (ha ha) and definitely AWE (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476923)

THIS on the other hand would be a terrifying weapon.

"He has loosed the fateful lightning,
Of His terrible swift sword..."

Transhuman Space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476153)

First time i ran into the description of such a weapon was in the GURPS based Transhuman Space RPG.

Codename (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476229)

"Zeus"

And the Science gets done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476235)

And you make a neat gun.
For the people who are still alive.

Ye Gods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476249)

I feel sorry for the next baddie Uncle Sam gets "Thor" at.

Nananan nanana nanana nana (1)

MrVirite (2668267) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476351)

We want war! WAKE UP!

An early version of this (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476353)

...was discussed on Slashdot many years ago. The original idea, IIRC, was that they'd shoot a UV beam to actually ionize the air between the shooter and the target - the lighting would then travel down this path as it would be the path of least resistance. I guess either the UV wasn't ionizing enough or they felt the lensing effect would be better.

Yet another discusting "weapon post" ... (1)

yvesdandoy (44789) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476409)

Makes me want to puke ... again !

Good ol' Quake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476487)

We're one step closer to having the Lightning Gun from Quake 1. Aw yeah. The world gets better each day. 8)

How much is 50 billion watts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476513)

To put the energy output in perspective, a big filament light bulb uses 100 watts. The optical amplifier output is 50 billion watts of optical power, Fischer said.

But how many ELOCs (Equivalent Libraries of Congress) is that?

Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476517)

Lightning bolt [youtube.com] :)

Not enough pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476537)

Shooting lightning bolts is all very cool but I need more pictures. Preferably pictures that aren't low res and highly compressed. For all I know it could be fake. Just saying.

Godzilla! (2)

haggus71 (1051238) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476579)

I can't believe everyone missed this fact: now we finally have the Lightning guns to fight Godzilla!

religious wars (2, Insightful)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476605)

DoD and Homeland Sec wet dream. Might work better in more backwards areas - Wrath of God, "wrong side" and such for govt enemies.

"proud to be serving our warfighters" (0)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476829)

Urgh, I just sicked up in my mouth a bit. Proud to be chowing down on pork that could be spent on better boots and body armour rather than fantasy zap guns that will never come out of the lab.

Re:"proud to be serving our warfighters" (1)

Jesrad (716567) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476939)

Or, for the matter, money that could be spent by the general civil population of the country instead, and not necessarily on military tech.

Stealing energy ? (1)

melnaism (2601265) | more than 2 years ago | (#40477135)

What keeps me from firing this type of laser to high voltage powerlines to charge up my electric car? Of course if I have such laser ?

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