Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Thursday, July 12, 2018

Chinese scientists have developed the world's first destructive, man-portable laser weapon. However, there is more to the story of this cool looking, but "less than lethal" directed energy device.


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The laser rifle is the ZKZM-500, developed by Xian Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics in Xian, Shaanxi. It's manufactured by the Institute's subsidiary, ZKZM Laser. Weighing at 6 pounds (about the weight of a typical assault rifle), the ZKZM-500 has a range of 2,600 feet. The ZKZM-500 uses a lithium battery with enough power for 1000 two second shots (keep in mind, those 1000 shots may not be at full power). According to Institute designers, its laser is powerful enough to instantly scar human skin and tissue. It can also ignite clothing, knock a small drone out of the sky, or even ignite a fuel tank. That would place its power output around 100-500 watts (most surgical lasers top out at 100 watts).


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China isn't the major threat we are facing. Russia controls Pokemon Go, and Hamilton 68 Dashboard says it has more than 300 twitter trolls. Of course, they don't say how they come that conclusion, and where started by the same people started PNAC and made up the WMD's in Iraq lie, but it is the only organization actually tracking the number of Russian bots, so we can trust it, Because nobody else has their magic formula. So it's stories are news in the MSM.

#1 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-07-12 05:55 PM | Reply

"The ZKZM-500 has plenty of Chinese predecessors in directed energy weapons... These include PY132A, WGJ-2002 and BBQ-905"

The BBQ-905 sounds like it really has export potential in the American deep south. Imagine a multi-purpose weapon that will both shoot your possum, and barbecue it at the same time.

Add some possum sauce, and you have market share.

#2 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-07-12 06:00 PM | Reply

Rumor has it that once one of these countries is able to weaponize laser technology so that it's effective with airborne vehicles, the super powers of the world will unveil antigravity technology. Without a means to defend antigravity vehicles (traditional ballistics obviously would never work), protecting the technology is more important than anything. Now that they have the ability to defend antigravity vehicles, I'm guessing the announcement surrounding antigravity tech will come about in the near future.

#3 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2018-07-12 06:04 PM | Reply

The most dangerous laser weapons are the invisible ones like the ZKZM-500.

It used to be that on the battlefield lasers had a very high signature - the beam is like an arrow pointing right straight back at your position. And then everybody on the battlefield shoots at you, because you just used a death ray. So that's sort of like being the flamethrower guy in 2.

But an invisible death ray....

#4 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-07-12 06:16 PM | Reply

Maybe invisible to humans, but surely if that powerful, it would interact with the air in such a way as to be detectible with some ccd.

#5 | Posted by Snowfake at 2018-07-12 07:46 PM | Reply

But an invisible death ray....

#4 | POSTED BY HELIUMRAT AT 2018-07-12 06:16 PM | FLAG:

Won't be invisible to thermal which work day and night. Won't be invisible to NVG at night. It just gets you shot in the face.

#6 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2018-07-13 12:06 PM | Reply

That's how you hunt badly trained night vision users. They run around using their illuminator or laser too much. It's like walking around with a q-beam strapped to your forehead. Then you get shot in the face.

#7 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2018-07-13 12:07 PM | Reply

#7 That will change once we take them to X-ray. Of course by then, we will probably have prismatic goggles that can see everything from radio waves to infra-red to whatever.

But anyway, "I Wish We Had One Of Them Doomsday Machines".


#8 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-07-13 05:28 PM | Reply

#6 | Posted by sitzkrieg

I've never seen a laser powerful enough to show up on NVG. My brother used to make and repair them (degree in electrical engineering), so I'll ask him when he gets home or whatever (he's hard to contact though).

Never got a chance to use thermal imaging, but I sort of wonder if the beam heats the air enough to be visible. I guess so? Can you give me anything more to go on in the meantime. You know how I eat this stuff up.

#9 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-07-13 07:40 PM | Reply

He was home! It turns out lasers, even the infrared ones, do show up on NVD really well. That makes sense, because there is plenty for the beam to scatter off of and even insects show up on night-vision. He said he wasn't sure about the thermal stuff, but his gut instinct was yes, because it would really heat the air, which sounds really plausible to me.

#10 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-07-13 07:46 PM | Reply

#6 - my guess, too. It'll light it up brighter than any flare. I'm betting this is an RF excited CO2 laser. I used to do a lot of work with them, and we had to have ceramic block backstops around our targets. Lots of fires and burning. Funs stuff.

CO2 lasers output in the infrared.

This kind of weapon would be OK in dry (desert) locations, but too much atmospheric interaction (moisture, dust, molecular interaction) will reduce it's effective range quickly.

BTW, fun info: plain (clear) glass can be very effective in stopping the beam, depending on frequency. We made our lenses out of sodium chloride crystals (grown and pure, nice clean lattice).

#11 | Posted by YAV at 2018-07-13 08:09 PM | Reply

NVD does't use heat to see.
It's light sensitive - amplifies and relies on ambient low light conditions (star light, for instance).
FLIR - stands for "forward looking infrared"

#12 | Posted by YAV at 2018-07-13 08:12 PM | Reply

The only times I've tried to combine night vision and a laser was about twenty years ago. It was this range finder beside a x2 scope on this awesome matte-black 7mm hunting rifle a friend had. No sign of the beam, but yeah, that was a long time ago. I'm sure night vision is better now, or an ordinary range finder doesn't show up that well....

I don't normally play with stuff like that anymore, the soldier part of my life ended a long time ago (and it completely ruined me on camping out, too. And I also got sick of hunting, and my curse keeps me catching fish - I'm what's called a "fish anti-magnet"). But I do like to keep up on what is going on.

#13 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-07-13 08:17 PM | Reply

#12 | Posted by YAV

I just heard from from brother, who has a degree and works with this stuff, that infrared beams do show up on NVD. I assume because the heat of beam causes the dust particles in it's path to fluoresce (all matter glows when heated, which is how dark matter gets it's name, because it doesn't).

#14 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-07-13 08:21 PM | Reply

#14 - A "starlight" scope won't do it, but most of what's called "NV" these days makes use of CCD chips that extend the range downward into the infrared. I need to start thinking in those terms instead of the old era technology.

What your brother's like talking about is likely active infrared night vision.

All cool stuff.

#15 | Posted by YAV at 2018-07-13 08:40 PM | Reply

#13- for a Friday the 13th.
Nice history and story, Heliumrat. :)

#16 | Posted by YAV at 2018-07-13 09:32 PM | Reply

Dude, my bother just showed up and showed me his 5-watt blue diode laser. The beam is clearly visible. And that's five watts. Then he used a black felt-tip pen to mark a piece of plastic with a black shape, and set that on fire. He told not to put my hand in the beam, because it would burn you. So of course I did, and it got hot in about a half a second.

He said that beams under 5 milliwatts can't generally be seen (that's .005 watts) so that sounds about right.

And that's when I decided to join Cobra. Serpentor says you can take Washington D.C., but you can't hold it. We shall see.

#17 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-07-13 09:48 PM | Reply

Well, that was fun. It seems lasers have really changed. When I was a kid in high school, this super-genius nerd that I really respected was playing around with some kind of early laser, I think the ruby kind? It was in Physics-II Honors, so we has stuff like that. And he was swinging it around, and I warned him not to do that in no uncertain terms, and pointed it at me and he hit me the eyes with it.

It felt like being hit on the head with a giant rubber mallet. There was was some pain, a little bit, but that was hard to notice because of the overwhelming amount of stun damage I took to my hit points. I was staggered, I star stars and nothing but white light. I remember shouting "Ow!" really loudly and covering my eyes. When I recovered my wits, I looked back at my new ex-respected/target/villain and said. "That hurt", or words to that effect. And then I pointed to the old clock on the wall and fumbled: "Do you see that clock? That's how long you have to live".

But things calmed down, and he actually apologized to me before the class bell rang, so nobody was actually critically wedgied in the production of this post. But damn that hurt. But I do know how to forgive.

#18 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-07-13 11:15 PM | Reply

The diode lasers can put out a pretty blue.

The laser cited in the article was "invisible" which I was guessing is CO2. It could be ultraviolet - sub 380nm wavelength I suppose? Maybe a helium-cadmium? That's just asking for trouble on a battle field, though, IMHO.

Ask your brother what he thinks. Infrared or ultraviolet as mostly likely candidate?

I don't understand the milliwatts being the governor on being seen, though. It's going to depend on the wavelength and what you mean by "seen." A 1mw HeNe is visible, no problem at all. NdYag - at 532 angstrom is right in the sweet-spot of retinal sensitivity. Plus it's a beautiful green color. If you're talking about seeing the beam as it goes through the air, that depends on dust, humidity, etc.

#19 | Posted by YAV at 2018-07-13 11:19 PM | Reply

Ruby-rod - pumped optically. Partial mirror on one end (the exit) fully silvered on the rear.

He hit you with it? Doesn't matter how smart you are, when you're a kid, you're still dumb!

#20 | Posted by YAV at 2018-07-13 11:21 PM | Reply

#20 | Posted by YAV

Yeah. Right in the eyes. About a decade later I asked an optometrist to look for damage from it, but he said I was fine and he couldn't find any damage. So it hurt, but no permanent damage.

Just thinking about it makes my blood boil though. What kind of person does something like that so thoughtlessly? I mean, in a different instance when I tore David Lindzers underwear out of his pants, and then climbed the school flag pole and tied what little of them that remained proudly to its finial ball, I assumed that sent a message. Because everybody agreed I was justified in that instance.

But the weird part was the laser guy was super-smart. How could he not see the danger he was causing?

#21 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-07-13 11:41 PM | Reply

1nm = 10 Ångströms

532nm = 5320Å

#22 | Posted by madscientist at 2018-07-14 12:22 AM | Reply

#19 | Posted by YAV

Well, he's gone now (it was fun though). But I'm pretty sure if you check the diode lasers are like 90% energy efficient at turning electricity into laser light. Gas and liquid lasers don't come anywhere near that. I think the major problem is cooling them? I'll browse into that.

And for your second question, I can tell you from my imaging background and even basic science that luminosity (the brightness of the light) and color (frequency, or chroma) are completely different. So look into that. And if you really want to bake your noodle, look into why an entire world of color exists co-terminal with our own, viewable only through polarization. Then you can jump of the cliff with helical waves if you manage to get that far.

#23 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2018-07-14 12:55 AM | Reply

532nm = 5320Å

Oh my. Thank you, Mad. (embarrassed... head down...glad this is an anonymous blog!)

Since things are getting corrected, the NdYag was doubled, hence the 532nm wavelength.

#23 - I'm starting to understand why that smart kid did what he did to you.

#24 | Posted by YAV at 2018-07-14 07:37 AM | Reply

#25 | Posted by madscientist at 2018-07-14 08:59 AM | Reply

You know how I eat this stuff up.

#9 | POSTED BY HELIUMRAT AT 2018-07-13 07:40 PM | REPLY

There is a paintball event in Indiana next May. It runs 24 hours straight through. Grab some NVG with your brother and go play that game. Deep shadows are your friend, don't get backlit, and don't run to light sources like a moth on a flame it might be a trap.

#26 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2018-07-14 10:37 AM | Reply

This Chinese Army isn't the pathetic army of the 1950s Korean War.
The PLA has come a long ways with all those Walmart $billions.

#27 | Posted by shane at 2018-07-14 01:46 PM | Reply

From a [in the field] performance POV I wonder how many 'shots' they get from their power pack.

#28 | Posted by MSgt at 2018-07-15 02:04 PM | Reply

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