It sounds like something out of a James Bond flick, but the US Army through has a project in the works through Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center to create a weapon called a Laser Induced Plasma Channel that can direct high voltage lightning bolts via directed laser beams to destroy objects near its path. While the full details of the device are not given nor does it appear the project is near full completion, the explanation for its ability to reach its target is pure science. Lightning follows the path of least resistance and will seek out the most conductive object in the area.
|Laser Induced Plasma Channel in Action|
Photo by US Army
It is explained that intended targets such as explosive devices and enemy vehicles are much better conductors of electricity than the air or ground near the laser, so the means to an end is inherent in the object targeted and draw the lightning bolt to themselves. While appearing convoluted in concept compared to weaponry already available, the proof is in the science and provides for an amazing means of harnessing energy and utilizing its devastating power without the necessity for precision. Read the full explanation of how the Laser Induced Plasma Channel will work at Army.mil