Chinese Company Claims To Develop 'Star Wars' Laser Gun That Can Burn Through Human Flesh

A machine gun. A Chinese gun company has claimed to have developed a “laser AK-47” that can shoot an invisible beam a couple thousand feet. Getty Images

A Chinese gun company claimed to have developed a "laser AK-47" that can shoot an invisible beam a few thousand feet.

The company, ZKZM Laser, released footage this week of the gun being tested on a rooftop in Xian, Shaanxi province. The footage shows what looks like a man shooting a gun toward a piece of paper on the opposite side of the roof. Then, the paper appears to spontaneously burst into flames. The gun produces no sound when fired.

The South China Morning Post published the video on Wednesday, after skeptics cast doubt on whether such a weapon could exist. The paper had previously reported that the weapon is powerful enough to burn through clothes and pass through windows.

China claims to have created a ‘laser AK-47’ that can set fire to targets a distance away. But does it really work?

— SCMP News (@SCMPNews) July 5, 2018

The prototype ZKZM-500 was developed by the Xian Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shaanxi province, the Post reported.

Representatives said that the weapons are now ready for mass production and the first units are likely to be given to anti-terrorism squads in the Chinese Armed Police. It can be charged using a lithium battery and could be mounted on cars and planes.

It's not clear from what distance the device is being shot and the validity of the footage has not been independently confirmed.

The company's claims may have been exaggerated, David James, a senior lecturer at Cranfield University in the U.K. and an expert on lasers told MailOnline.

"If the target's clothes are not very absorbent at the laser wavelength, non-flammable or fire retardant, or if there is mist, fog or rain, the laser power delivered to the target will be seriously reduced," he said.

This new weapon could also be the first type of device that can be used during riots, without authorities coming in close proximity to violent crowds, unlike batons and tasers, said James.

Production of the weapons will be tightly controlled with government agencies as the only permitted customers. The gun will likely first become available to Chinese SWAT units, and then could be used during military operations.