8 – Blackout Bombs
Only declassified recently, and brought back into the mainstream due to the simmering tensions on the Korean Peninsula, these non-lethal weapons were first used in the second Gulf War, back in the early 1990s. They release a cloud of highly conductive carbon filaments, which come to rest over power lines.
When they do, they create several high-energy arcs that burn and short out any uninsulated wiring in the area. These weapons have been so successful in the past – on several occasions, most of a nation’s electricity infrastructure was crippled – that South Korea is developing their own version to potentially use on their aggressive neighbors to the north.
Bonus – Operation Acoustic Kitty
This outlier was simply too strange not to include on the list. This utterly unusual program involved the CIA, back in the 1960s, spending $20 million dollars to install listening devices inside cats. Although obviously a surveillance technology, the idea was reportedly designed to induce paranoia in spies that refused to trust cats whenever they saw them – regardless of whether they were employeed by enemy spooks or not.
Appropriately named Operation Acoustic Kitty, the first augmented cat’s inaugural test ended in a – wait for it – catastrophic failure when it wandered away from the target and was subsequently run over by a taxi.
Still, things could be stranger. The US Marine Corps once planned to drop Mexican free-tailed bats armed with incendiary devices over Japanese cities back in the 1940s.