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4 Russian Sci-Fi Weapons That Never Came to Be

Laser beam fired into a tunnel

Throughout history there have been creations that will be remembered forever, especially regarding military technology. But alongside these amazing creations that have stood the test of time, there are those ‘creations’ that did not come to be.

This leads to mysterious stories full of weird and wonderful pieces of technology that never quite made it into production – many of which seem to stem from Russia, or from the old Soviet Union.

While the Soviet Union was known for producing some excellent tech hits, including the Kalashnikov assault rifle – also known as the AK-47, which has been immortalised in airsoft rifles around the world – they had a large number of misses, including many weapons that you would most expect to find confined to the world of science fiction.

We’ve taken a look at four such examples of these and why they didn’t quite make it in the real world!

Particle Beam (pictured above)

During the Cold War when America was making strides with plans for anti-missile lasers, the Soviets were said to be developing a different type of laser gun of their own. It was rumoured to be a particle beam weapon, which would fire a stream of high-energy particles that could take out ballistic missiles and even satellites.

In 1977, Aviation Week warned that this Soviet particle beam could be weaponised and deployed by 1980, which led to the CIA reporting that Russia may well have the edge over the U.S. in the technological stakes. But, it turns out that these claims were slightly exaggerated and much of the research being carried out at Semipalatinsk – the primary testing venue for the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons, located in Kazakhstan – was for nuclear-powered rockets. To this day, particle beam weapons are still only found in fiction.

The Zombie Gun

Man having is mind controlled

In 2012, rumours were floating around that a ‘zombie gun’ was being developed in Russia by Vladimir Putin. It was said that the device could take over a person’s mind and turn them into a mindless slave, or zombie, to be exploited for whatever means necessary. This theory stemmed from Putin mentioning the possibility of “psychotronic” weapons in the future, an area that Russian scientists had been researching for decades but without making much progress.

As it so often goes, however, claims made were slightly more exaggerated than the real-life results. This means the current techniques like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation are more likely to be used for medical treatments as opposed to mind control.

A physicist at the General Physics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who also happens to be a leading researcher in psychotronic technology, noted that current results were “disappointing”, meaning we are unlikely to see a mind control zombie gun anytime soon!

Plasmoid Defence Shield

 Space shield as seen from the Earth 

In April 1993, Russian newspaper Izvestia ran a story about a proposed technology swap, in which Russia would share details of their plasma missile defence system in exchange for information about the U.S. ‘Star Wars’, or the Strategic Defense Initiative as it was officially known.

The system was said to use intersecting beams of microwaves that would ionise the upper atmosphere and produce a ball of plasma or plasmoid. These plasmoids would combine in the path of an incoming ballistic missile, causing it to be diverted due to extreme turbulence, or to be broken up completely.

This is probably one of the more believable stories that never came to be, but it was still quite a way off. While it is possible to create a ‘shield’ using microwaves, there is no evidence that it could actually stop a missile, or even be positioned quickly and accurately. It is no surprise that the technology trade didn’t happen, and the plasma defence shield never saw the light of day! 

Red Mercury & the Atomic Pistol

Close up of red mercury

At the height of the Russian nuclear programme, countless rumours were circulating about the development of top-secret weapons. This included the production of miniature nukes, atomic pistols and the super-element known as Red Mercury.

Red Mercury has been linked to doing everything in the past, from providing a stealth coating for aircrafts to being used in missile guidance systems, and even to curing impotence!

Although stories about this mythical substance have circulated for a long time, no genuine Red Mercury samples have shown up on the market. There have been examples of con men passing off radioactive waste for the imaginary substance, and even examples of people managing to flog mercury mixed with red nail polish on the black market!

Meanwhile, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a Russian nationalist politician claimed that in 1994, he had supplied Serbian forces fighting in Yugoslavia with a mysterious weapon know, as Elipton, or the “atomic pistol”.

What sounded like something you’d find in a Fallout video game, it reportedly despatched 12 Bosnian soldiers during a single test. But despite Zhirinovsky claiming no one understands how powerful this weapon truly is, it hasn’t been heard of since 1994 – yet another mystery for the list!

These are just four examples that the public is aware of, so who knows how many more are out there waiting to be uncovered…? Do you think they are all a load of nonsense, or will we one day get to see the impotence-curing mystery that is Red Mercury…? Let us know in the comments below or on our social media channels!


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