As United States’ military continues to bolster its efforts toward laser weapons capable of taking out rogue drones and unmanned aerial vehicles, China has come up with a rifle that weighs just as much as a standard AK-47 but fires powerful beams of laser that can pass through windows and other mediums and burn through human skin.

The weapon, called ZKZM-500, fires invisible laser bursts with so much energy the skin and tissues of targets nearly a half a mile away can be instantly carbonized, South China Morning Post reported after speaking to researchers from Xian Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which was the team behind the development of the destructive weapon.

The prototype laser rifle, as the group claimed, is powered by a lithium-ion battery and weighs just around three kilograms, something that makes it portable enough to carry around.

Chinese police
China develops high-range laser rifle capable of burning through the skin. Pictured, armed police of a detachment of the Yunnan Armed Forces Corps make vows to maintain the stability of the 5th China South-Asia Expo at a pep rally in Kunming, Yunnan Province of China, June 11, 2018. VCG/VCG via Getty Images

They added the weapon can be used to fire approximately a thousand shots or beams of laser — each lasting for a couple of seconds — and cause pain beyond the endurance of an individual. The rifle does not make any sound while firing the beams, which means the target won’t have a clue of what is happening until the beams have burned a hole through the body and left a permanent scar.

According to the report, the weapon could make a hole through the body if fired long, just like cutting through a surgical knife. However, it is worth noting it won’t cause complete inflammation until the targeted individual in question is wearing something that could easily be ignited.

As the prototype performed as the researchers planned, the developer of the weapon ZKZM Laser has started looking for partners to initiate mass production of the rifle. As the report stated, the anti-terrorism squad operating for the Chinese police will be the first recipient of the gun, which would cost approximately $15,000 per unit. The researchers believe it could prove extremely useful in handling hostage situations or missions where the target has to be disabled with the element of stealth.

The high-power laser could also be integrated into cars, tanks, planes or boats, according to the researchers. It could even be configured to match the requirements of the Chinese military. However, as a weapon like this could prove extremely deadly if it falls into the wrong hands, the developers have stressed the mass-production of the rifle would be strictly monitored.

While there have been reports that a laser rifle powerful enough to burn a hole through body would be much heavier than mere three kilograms, it still remains to be seen when the weapon would actually come into use. As Gizmodo reported, U.S., on its part, is far from a technology like this and is still experimenting with vehicle-mounted laser cannons that could burn through drones.