By David Crane
david (at) defensereview (dot) com
Images Credit: South China Morning Post (SCMP)
July 03, 2018
Well, isn’t this a nice little gift a couple days before the 4th of July. A Chinese company called ZKZM, a “fiber laser company”, has reportedly designed and developed a laser rifle called the ZKZM-500 that can supposedly “instantly carbonize” one’s skin from one click (kilometer) away. Scary, no? ZKZM reportedly claims that the ZKZM-500 laser rifle can fire 1,000 two-second laser beam bursts on a single lithium-ion battery charge.
Now for the good news: The folks at big think are already reporting on some science-minded individuals casting doubt on ZKZM’s skin-roasting capability claims. Specifically, they’ve quoted the folks at TechCrunch as follows:
There’s just no way that a laser powered by a lithium-ion battery that a person could carry would be capable of producing the kind of heat described at point blank range, let alone at 800 meters.
That’s because of attenuation. Lasers, unlike bullets, scatter as they progress, making them weaker and weaker. Attenuation is non-trivial at anything beyond, say, a few dozen meters. By the time you get out to 800, the air and water the beam has traveled through enough to reduce it a fraction of its original power.
Let’s hope they’re right. big think’s verdict is that the ZKZM-500 is basically your run of the mill Chinese government/military propaganda designed to intimidate and dominate its own people into subservience.
Writer Ned Dymoke (interesting last name), puts it this way:
“The very idea of an invisible laser that can set you on fire is much more effective than the actual implementation of the weapon itself, because the only thing scarier than this gun is the idea of getting shot by it. In the wise words of my old English professor: ‘If you heard a rumor that your landlord had a shotgun, you’d sure as shit pay your rent on time.'”
So, still pretty bad news for the Chinese people, but good news for US (United States and our NATO allies).
Whew. Laser warfare crisis averted.
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