Army tests Pulser ray gun attachment for M4

The Burke Pulser fits into a standard M4 rifle.

The U.S. military began testing on an electric ray gun defense weapon that may potentially provide a new level of protection for combat troops in overseas war zones.

According to the Tech Times, the “Burke Pulser”, named after its developer, is an attachment that will snap onto the M4 rifle, and is able to emit a powerful, targeted blast of electricity capable of frying the electric circuits of roadside bombs and IEDs.

This application is of particular interest to the military after years of operating in the Middle East, where booby-traps and homemade roadside bombs have caused the most non-fatal injuries of any conflict that America has been involved in.

James E. Burke, an electronics engineer with the U.S. Army’s Armament Research Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC, says that the Pulser does not add to the load borne by combat soldiers, who “already carry rifles. Why not use something that every soldier already carries?”

It is this design strategy of portability that differentiates the Burke Pulser from other electric guns that the military has considered in the past. Most electric or laser weapons never made it beyond the development stage because of their lack of ease of use.

Burke says, “Most of these (other weapons) are vehicle-towed and require a huge power system. The antennas are sometimes 7 feet.” The Burke Pulser attaches to a soldier’s weapon as conveniently as a flash suppressor. Furthermore, compared to other weapons that have been tested in the past, the Pulser is remarkably cost-effective,  at a price tag under $1000.

Because of the vast amounts of electricity that will be generated by the weapon, the Pulser also has a built-in shield to protect the operator.

The Pulser has proven very effective against a wide range of electronics devices, such as a timer, a transistor, and a LED light. Burke says, “All these things pretty much generalize all the common electronics you’ll find in a circuit board. What we’re going to do is fire at it. If the LED light stops blinking, it was defeated, and if smoke comes up, it was destroyed.”

Because a weapon’s capabilities are usually classified for strategic and security issues, Burke has declined to offer specifics about the Pulser’s range or go into great detail about how the testing is going, but he did volunteer that the results are “promising”.

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