AONDS (Automatic Operational Nuclear Deterent System)
The AONDS is capable of firing one million rounds per second at potentially threatening missiles. It has no moving parts it instead uses clusters of concentrated ionized hydrogen gas pellets.
1000 different miniature rail guns operate together to produce the payload of massive proportions. On contact each round enters the missile vaporizing or igniting anything it touches.
This device has virtually unlimited ammo considering hydrogen is the most abundent element in the universe.
Anywhere from seven to twelve of these weapons orbit the earth giving global monitering capabilities to the US military.
Using solar energy to power itself and Auto-Shutdown if EMP is detected the weapon requires little to no maintenence.
The device is not released to the public what little information is known was gathered from a wikileaks document that has since been removed.
Plasma weapons are more rugged than their far more fragile laser weapon counterparts and would be ideal for use in heavy combat. The easiest way to explain how a plasma weapon works is as follows:
Refined weapon grade fuel (usually hydrogen) is siphoned off from a 'magazine' or reservoir and injected into a containment vessel that is protected internally by very intense magnetic fields which will keep the hydrogen / fuel from actually coming into contact with the material surface of the containment vessel. This containment vessel is often referred to as a magnetic bottle. Later generations of plasma based weapons feature layered magnetic fields, in effect, magnetic sheathes.
A high energy laser (or group of high energy lasers) flash boils the refined weapons grade hydrogen fuel contained in the magnetic bottle until it turns from a cool liquid to a superhot gas plasma (+4500 degrees flow wash temp). The magnetic fields of the containment bottle keep this process in check by preventing the superhot plasma from coming into contact with any material surface. A small part of the plasma production process can be siphoned off again as energy to help maintain the magnetic containment fields. Later designs of plasma weapons utilize layered magnetic fields in a sheath instead of just a single monofield application.
One part of the containment field is weakened or lowered in the magnetic bottle, allowing the super hot ionized plasma gas to 'escape' or be handed off through a rapidly cycling sphincter type array that controls both the length and diameter of the bolt. The "escape" or hand-off of the plasma is induced mostly by the accelerator coil ladder field extending partially into the magnetic bottle to siphon off plasma. The acceleration coil ladder seamlessly merges the siphoned off plasma into a secondary acceleration sheath, a small magnetic pocket within the acceleration coil ladder assembly.
The acceleration coil ladder then energizes each linear velocity coil in a rapid, stepped manner. Each coil along the ladder stack pulls the magnetically sheathed plasma towards it, faster than the last coil but slower than the next so that an effect of constant acceleration is produced along the length of the acceleration coil ladder through a consistent hand-off method. At the end of the acceleration coil ladder, the magnetically sheathed plasma is released toward the target.
As soon as the plasma sheath leaves the confines of the acceleration field array, the magnetic sheath begins to rapidly decay, allowing the plasma to "bloom" or rapidly disperse in the ambient atmosphere (which reduces both its power and effect. The speed of the plasma bolt can be tailored to the decay of the magnetic sheath giving the arrival on target of the plasma bolt at being before the decay of the magnetic sheath allows for the plasma to fully bloom and dissipate. Slower velocity bolts have shorter ranges. Higher velocity bolts have longer ranges.
By rapidly cycling the loading / ignition / release sequence, rapid fire shots akin to that of a machine gun could be simulated. Weapon heating would be handled by the design itself and partially alleviated by the containment fields.
Range of the weapon would be determined by the rate of expansion (bloom) of the bolt. This would be controlled in turn by the velocity of the bolt. The faster the velocity, the farther the bolt will travel before it starts to lose temperature, cohesiveness, becomes unstable and finally dissipate. The bolt will lose both velocity and penetration power with an increase in range.
The plasma bolt will suffer integrity degradation as it passes through lesser materials, eventually losing power through absorption attrition.
The superheated plasma bolt would inflict damage from high velocity / kinetic impact of the plasma, from the high temperature thermal dynamics of the ionized gas, and if delivered in suitable quantity, it would also 'splatter', producing fragment-like damage to nearby surfaces and wounding or damaging targets surrounding the primary target.
Superheating of standing liquid trapped in soft tissues and dermal surfaces combined with the rapid expansion of steam induced shock waves would result in massive damage to organic targets through large scale steam explosions.
Wounds from plasma weapons would be akin to severe burns with most organic material of the primary wound site being vaporized. Fluids would flash to steam, organic material would turn to ash and most direct hit plasma wounds would be fatal in nature. Effects from the "splash" of a plasma weapon would consist of severe burns that might be capable of "burn through" of soft targets. Regardless, wounds received from plasma based weapons would take a long time to heal and require massive amounts of attention. Near misses might produce severe burns and heat trauma while fragments from large diameter bore weapons might be crippling or lethal with splash-like side effects. The explosive decoupling of large amounts of free standing matter (ground, terrain, armor plate, etc.) would also produce high speed lethal fragmentation in a large area around the point of impact.
Damage to inorganic materials would be limited to the ability of the plasma bolt to punch / melt through the target material. Residual heat soak would permeate most materials for some time afterwards until the affected surfaces could once again fall to ambient temperatures through natural cooling and heat loss.
Flammable materials struck by plasma fire would instantly combust.
Early series of plasma based weapons operated off of 'clips' or 'magazines' containing plasma 'bullets' or 'cartridges'. Indeed, the energy required to activate the weapon, power the containment fields, operate the firing cycle, and the minute amount of fuel required as 'ammunition' might all be contained in a readily disposable cartridge, loaded individually inside a magazine type container. This cartridge might look very much like a 20th century cased bullet. This type of feed system would allow the plasma weapon to operate much like a modern day assault rifle (M16A1, etc.). In the two movies, we definitely see that the weapons carried by Kyle Reese (T1) and the Endos (T2) have some type of very well defined magazine behind the pistol grip assembly of the weapon, and that at least two types of plasma weapons seen in the movies are bullpup configuration, like the British Enfield IW weapon currently in service in England. In one scene during the opening scenes of T2, we see a crippled Endoskeleton reaching for its battle rifle. A human Resistance fighter runs up and sprays the Endo with his own rifle, and we definitely see spent shell casings being ejected, each trailing their own smoke or coolant steam. Perhaps the magazine and injection system works to offset the weight of the containment bottle and field coils.
Further review of this idea and the evidence presented to us seems to lend some merit to the argument for shell fed plasma weapons. In the first novel, Wisher and Frakes describe the weapons of a tracked HK as being chain fed plasma guns. Here is the entry from the novel.
"Reese's charge exploded first, directly under the main pivot of the rear tread carrier, one of the few weak points in the machine's armor. The concussion drove pieces of the chassis far up into its torso, shattering one shoulder turret. Sympathetic detonations ripped through the tons of chain-fed ammo coiled within it, until finally the fuel tanks went up and the fifteen-meter-high juggernaut vanished inside an enormous fireball. Ferro's charge detonated ineffectively nearby, having bounced off the titanium carapace, but it added nicely to the inferno."