The future of weaponry is nothing but terrifying, much of it seemingly taken from the deepest places of a science-fiction writer’s mind. From lasers to robots, sonic blasters and rays that will make you sick, these weapons portend a new kind of battlefield, perhaps less lethal but more chilling.
1. XM-25 Grenade Launcher
This artillery piece can strike targets from 700 meters away and detonate even if they miss, which means any target will still feel some of the force of the explosive round.
2. Remotely operated weapons.
Used for mounting in dead-zones or checkpoints, these devices are primarily being used as deterrents rather than offensive weapons, sometimes attached to roving drones or left mounted. The U.S. Army took some to Iraq but didn’t use them for fear that they might hit friendly soldiers.
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3. The Active Denial System
A weapon that causes people to feel like their skin is burning without causing any actual damage sounds like a good way to disperse groups of rioters or enemy combatants on the battlefield without killing anyone, but the system, which fires a one-millimeter wave of radiation, is not so reliable. Testing it in the rain, operators discovered the radiation waves are dispersed and give a warm and refreshing feeling.
4. Long-Range Acoustic Device
The imaginatively named Long Range Acoustic Device is another non-lethal weapon for the dispersal of unruly crowds. The device can clearly be heard up to 300 meters away when used as a warning device and can be used in close proximity to emit a signal that forces people to run for cover or risk damaging their ears. It has been used to repel pirates and was used to disperse protesters at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh in 2009.
5. Taser Shockwave
This portable device is capable of electrocuting dozens of people at a time when deployed correctly and is primarily used to disperse mobs.
6. This unnamed device fires radio frequencies that make people feel sick. It disrupts human hearing and equilibrium by interrupting the part of the brain that processes sounds and position (relative to gravity). The device is being produced by a company called Invacom, but two inventors have already come up with a rival machine that uses LED lights to make people ill. The radio device is currently being funded by Navy.
7. LA-9/P Laser
This powerful green laser is used chiefly to prevent friendly fire but can also be used to direct aircraft fire onto designated targets using direction from the ground. According to the U.S. military, some soldiers were injured by its rays, which are around 1/4,000 the strength of anti-aircraft lasers but can extend to ranges as far as 2.5 miles.
8. The Laser Avenger
This laser can take down aircraft. In a test, maker Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) was able to shoot a drone out of the sky with a Hummer-mounted version. It messes with the electronics of the aircraft using a 1-kilowatt beam. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) is working on a 100-watt version. It is hoped that the laser can destroy improvised laser devices without setting off an explosion.