War has been a part of life since the dawn of man. And, many clever weapons have been developed as a result. But, humans have come up with some very strange weapon ideas as well. That being said, here are ten weird military weapons that have been developed around the world.
10. Robot Dog
Big Dog was a robotic animal built by Boston Dynamics in 2004. According to the engineering and robotics design company, Big Dog was the first legged robot to leave the lab. It was able to navigate rough terrain using sensors and its control system. Big Dog could also climb in the woods, keep its balance when kicked and when slipping on ice, travel through snow and mud, jog 5 mph, and climb over rubble. The goal of the robotic creature was to carry around extra weight so troops won’t have to carry heavy loads on their shoulders. As of April 2018, the dog was being tested in Afghanistan.
9. A Laser Beam That Blinds People
Although it may look like a video game accessory, the PHaSR, or personnel halting and stimulation response rifle, is actually a real weapon. Built by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Directed Energy Directorate and developed by the laboratory’s ScorpWorks team, the PHaSR is one of two working prototypes of a non-lethal laser gun. Because it’s non-lethal, its purpose isn’t to kill you but rather to make you go blind – at least temporarily, anyway. Just long enough for criminals and others who intend to do harm to be apprehended. Unfortunately, it can never be used because the United Nations banned blinding weapons in 1995.
8. Attack Dolphins
During the 1960s, the Soviet Union became interested in using animals for warfare. As a result, they came up with a project that aimed to train dolphins to search for submerged warheads and other items.
FUN FACT: The Soviet Union wasn’t the only country interested in training dolphins for warfare. The United States has a similar program. The U.S. Navy trains bottlenose dolphins, along with California sea lions and other marine mammals, to find and retrieve equipment lost at sea, detect mines buried in the seafloor or floating in the water tethered to an anchor, and identify intruders swimming into restricted areas. The dolphins, however, are not trained to kill those intruders since they would have trouble distinguishing between enemies and friendly soldiers.
7. Invincible Soldiers
Speaking of soldiers, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has been working on projects to make invincible soldiers who would be able to survive assaults, maintain endurance for long periods of time, and withstand extreme environmental challenges. Okay, so it sounds good in theory, but how exactly would they pull it off? Well, according to a 2007 presentation on Inner Armor (one of the DARPA projects), they’d either have to manipulate neural pathways or give people special “vitamins” that could protect them against assaults.
6. A Laser That Shoots Lightning Bolts
Back in 2012, scientists and engineers at Picatinny Arsenal began developing a device that would shoot lightning bolts down laser beams to destroy an intended target. The Laser-Induced Plasma Channel, or LIPC, was designed to take out targets that conduct electricity better than the air or ground that surrounds them. “We never got tired of the lightning bolts zapping our simulated (targets),” lead scientist on the project George Fischer said, according to an article published on the U.S. Army’s website.
5. Bat Bombs
Marine mammals aren’t the only creatures used in warfare. During World War II, the U.S. Marine Corps came up with the idea of training bats to be the kamikaze bombers that the military didn’t want humans to be. And, get this: the idea was first proposed by a dentist who was inspired by the bat-infested caves at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico!
So, how exactly were the bat bombs supposed to work? The bats would be loaded with explosives. Then, they would use their echolocation to find targets. The project was eventually scrapped in favor of the atomic bomb.
4. Pigeon-Projected Missiles
The pigeon is another creature that was considered for use in warfare.
Under Project Pigeon, the U.S. military would use trained pigeons and hydraulic guidance to create the first smart-bomb that could be guided to its target with great accuracy. This, of course, was in the days prior to guided missiles. In those days, whenever a bomb was dropped from a plane, there was no guarantee that innocent lives wouldn’t be lost. Fortunately for our fine-feathered friends, the project was never put to use.
3. Hallucenogenic Weapons
During the 50s, the CIA investigated the use of LSD and other psychoactive substances as nonlethal weapons under the agency’s MKUltra project. One of the weapons, known as the BZ bomb, was a cluster bomb filled with 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate. The drug is known to cause bizarre dreams, feelings of restlessness, headaches, and a lack of concentration. The BZ bomb was eventually scrapped because the drug’s effect on the psyche was not reliable, an article published in the Quarterly Journal of the Harvard Sussex Program on CBW Armament and Arms Limitation said.
2. Iceberg Aircraft Carrier
During World War II, the British came up with an idea for a long lasting, easily repairable massive aircraft carrier: a fortified iceberg! Now, had they been living in the Arctic or the South Pole, this might have actually been a pretty good idea. But, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get cold enough in the UK to build and maintain an iceberg. In fact, making one would require giant freezers and insulation with a cork to keep it from melting. Plus, these massive structures would have been too slow and heavy. Oh well, so much for that idea.
1. A Supergun
During the 1960s, a British inventor came up with the idea to create a supergun. It was so super in fact that it had a 512-foot-long barrel and could be seen from outer space! Known as “Big Babylon,” the plans for this gun never got off the ground in the 60s. Fast forward to the 1980s and in comes Canadian inventor Gerald Bull. In 1988, Bull began working on developing a supergun for infamous Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. In fact, Bull made several prototypes. His ultimate goal was to use the superguns for launching satellites. That’s really about all they could do with them anyway. A gun of that size would not be practical in true warfare — after all, you wouldn’t even be able to move it, the BBC reported.
Your turn! What weird military weapons have you heard about? Leave a comment below.