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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?

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  1. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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…. 😉

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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