The Military's Making Non-Lethal Plasma Guns to Fire a Deafening Noise Cloud

Non-lethal weaponry doesn't mean non-horrifying.


A project is underway to literally terrify America’s enemies into retreat with a plasma rifle that can target people with the pants-shitting howl of a 130-decibel fighter jet.

Defense One reports that the Laser Induced Plasma Effect, or LIPE, gun will start testing in a few months. Military researchers already have an effective version for short-range fire, but want to develop a model that can effectively target an enemy at more than 100 meters.

The Department of Defense’s Non-Lethal Weapons Program describes the gun as working by firing a short burst of high energy. Its electrons and nuclei separate as it gets closer to the target area, until a ball of plasma is created. A second wave of energy then hits the ball, resulting in the scream of a vengeful volcano god.

The military has developed a lot of cool/terrifying non-lethal ways to dominate without having to kill, though this is one of the more psychologically intimidating. The Sticky Foam Gun was popular among U.S. forces in Somalia in the 1990s for immobilizing targets in a prison of viscous chemical bubbles. There’s the PHaSR, a laser gun that temporarily blinds its victim, or “dazzles” them, if you want to go by the Air Force euphemism. Israeli farmers developed a shock wave “Thunder Generator” to keep birds off their crops, but figured out pretty quickly it was also good for knocking humans on their asses.

Then there’s my favorite, if only for its doublespeak name: the Active Denial System. It’s a heat ray the size of a trampoline attached to a Jeep. It’s nonlethal; it just cooks its targets. The military says it’s safe, anyway.