China develops infantry laser rifle

South China Morning Post:
China brings Star Wars to life with ‘laser AK-47’ that can set fire to targets a kilometre away

Handheld weapons that could set fire to targets from long distances are no longer confined to science fiction but a fact of life, according to researchers

China has developed a new portable laser weapon that can zap a target from nearly a kilometre away, according to researchers involved in the project.

The ZKZM-500 laser assault rifle is classified as being “non-lethal” but produces an energy beam that cannot be seen by the naked eye but can pass through windows and cause the “instant carbonisation” of human skin and tissues.

Ten years ago its capabilities would have been the preserve of sci-fi films, but one laser weapons scientist said the new device is able to “burn through clothes in a split second … If the fabric is flammable, the whole person will be set on fire”.
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There is a picture of the weapon at the link above.  It looks like a rifle with a scope and the end of the barrel appears to have a large telephoto lens on it the size of an older round car headlight.  The claim is that it can file several shots per charge.  There are few details on how it is recharged, but it suggests a battery of some type is used.

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