The Chinese government this week demonstrated their ability to shoot down satellites and not to be out done the US government demonstrated their ability to shoot a working ray gun, capable of making you feel like you are on fire.
Various different military and defense contractors have been working on a ray gun design for close to 7 decades almost as long as the concept has existed in science fiction even.
The device can be fired from 500 meters away which is further than rubber bullets or other non-lethal devices. Its also further than the effective range of your average m-16. The device when fired makes the target feel like they are catching fire and of course they flee the pain.
The device is not expected to go into production until 2010, but could be used in deployments such as Iraq or Afghanistan to protect troops without permanently harming innocent civilians that happen to be in the vicinity of people that pose a real threat.
Brigadier General Philip Coker challenged researchers back in 2005 to develop an energy gun of some type to be used in Iraq. He challenged researchers to come up with something within 12 months. Today’s test although not directly linked to that challenge, does show that designers and researchers were paying attention. Back then it seemed unlikely that the military might rush to use an experimental weapon, but the battlefield has been known to push the deployment envelope for troops and for weapons that might save those troops.
This war does not show any signs of ending under current conditions, maybe a ray gun could be one component that might level the battle field (this is not a playing field).