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US Army Tests Lightning Gun, Galactic Empire Watches Expectantly

The US Army isn’t letting any grass grow under its collective feet. In the face of impending budget and troop reductions, they’re looking for ways to do more with less. Toward that end, the latest and greatest weapon inching its way through the development pipeline is a gun that shoots lightning bolts along a frickin’ laser beam. has the inside info: “The weapon, called the Laser-Induced Plasma Channel (LIPC) cannon, was being tested at Picatinny Arsenal, a key U.S. Army research complex. The cannon works by emitting a laser pulse that charges the air, forming a hugely destructive bolt of lightning.” They say the weapon works best against high conductivity targets like tanks or a planes. All we know is it was enough to take down Vader so how much more testing is really necessary?


  1. avatar brigo50 says:

    lightening bolt! lightening bolt! lightening bolt!

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Death! Death!

      obscure posts ftw

  2. avatar KYgunner says:

    My inner nerd just wet himself with anticipation.

  3. avatar bontai Joe says:

    I like the idea of this in a low orbit satellite, charging large capacitors from solar panels then with a bolt of lightning, vaporizing a specific target on the ground with almost zero collateral damage, just a small smoking pile of ash where bad guy “X” was standing 3 seconds ago…… then again, I’m not sure I trust anyone with that kind of power. Might be one of those things that is better in concept than how it might get used in real life.

    1. avatar Henry Bowman says:

      Used to be only Zeus could throw bolts of lighting from the heavens. I guess the U.S. government is trying to make good on it’s claim to deification.

      1. avatar nonnamous says:

        Gotta one up the Romans in every possible way

        1. avatar CarlosT says:

          Actually, if it’s Zeus, it would be the Greeks. For the Romans, it would have been Jupiter. /classics geek

  4. avatar Jason says:

    Will my tin foil cap protect me from this thing? I might need tin foil clothes as well.

    1. avatar nonnamous says:

      Depends on the current carrying capacity and whether or not it is properly ground. Ag or Cu would probably work better than Sn, as well.

      1. avatar Jason says:

        Actually, I thought it was the skin effect the really protected you — like a Faraday cage. So, technically it shouldn’t need to be grounded.

        1. avatar nonnamous says:

          I wasn’t thinking of a Faraday cage…just circuiting it around your body and shunting it into the ground like a lightning rod on a house.

          As far as a Faraday cage, that might depend on how it is insulated…if we’re talking tin foil hat/clothes, its going to take some seriously thick shoes outside your tinfoil socks to stop lightning levels of I/V.

  5. avatar cmikles1 says:

    This reminds me of the testing done on the rail guns for naval ships. It worked, but it required so power, that the current power sources on battleships cannot power it.

  6. avatar Charlie says:

    John Connor (err, Julian Assange) best watch out. He might die from a “freak” lighting strike.

  7. avatar brigo50 says:

    I cant believe we all misspelled lightning with it being in the article lol

  8. avatar brigo50 says:

    Wait a minute… how do you spell it?? I see it spelled differently twice in the article. Mind=blown

  9. avatar GS650G says:

    Can we get one of those on an AR lower?

  10. avatar Isaac says:

    Yeah, I could see a high-capacity battery installed in an AR magazine.

    Be quite heavy to lug around a half-dozen lithium-ion 30-rounders that only shoot two lightning bolts, though.

  11. avatar Jason says:

    Anybody read “State of Fear”?

  12. avatar rosignol says:

    All we know is it was enough to take down Vader so how much more testing is really necessary?


    You need to re-watch the RotJ. The Emperor would have been better off packing a .357- the force lightning, while very concealable (and I can’t fault the mag capacity, either), did not incapacitate the threat before Vader chucked the Emperor into a really deep hole.

    Of course, Vader was wearing body armor, and by some accounts had almost as much hardware in him as a T-800…. 😉

  13. avatar Boris says:

    Ray guns are great ways to cut the bloated military budget, much cheaper than AR15s.

  14. avatar Sanchanim says:

    The Star Wars loving geek in me just had an aneurism!!! Death Star here we come!!

  15. avatar MotoJB says:

    My wife can already shoot lightening bolts out of her arse…I saw it when I rolled home with a new rifle the other day.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Your wife tops my ex, hands down. The best my ex could do was have smoke shoot out of her ears.

      1. avatar MotoJB says:

        LOL…my wife does that too. 😉

    2. avatar Sanchanim says:

      Ok now that is just scary!!!

  16. avatar RKflorida says:

    I expect Crimson Trace to have one out by Christmas. This is a great idea until the price of electric to charge the gun costs more than bullets.

  17. avatar Roadrunner says:

    Do you think a rubber wetsuit might immunize you from the deathray?

    1. avatar Ralph says:


  18. avatar schnips says:

    How long until I can buy one? I’d love to shoot Bambi with it!

    1. avatar MotoJB says:

      Heck yeah…kill and cook with one shot!

  19. avatar Totenglocke says:

    If there’s one group of people that I can say without a doubt I wouldn’t trust with a weapon like this, it’s the military.

  20. avatar RMatthew says:

    The “Star Trek” phaser was said to work in this manner.

    And yes, I had the ears.

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