Wednesday, December 17, 2008

War Outside a Faraday Cage: EMP


The second volume of the Absolved series will contain examples of how future freedom fighters can use small electromagnatic pulse (EMP) weapons to attack the the databases and operations of the Regime. Here, thanks to my correspondent "rsr" (kindly all tip your hats to the man) is this article that demonstrates that EMP warfare is not just in our fictional future.

Air Force Seeks (Non Lethal) City Stopper

by George Hulme, Dec 7, 2008 01:20 PM

While it won't destroy buildings, or directly kill people, it will shut down everything in its path with a power button.

Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) bombs have been written about for quite some time, and are supposed to have been used in a number of conflicts in the past 15 years. These weapons are designed to shut down cities, as well as military communications and weapon systems, not physically destroy them.

Well, only the electrical parts.

The U.S. military already has EMP capabilities, but it looks like, based on this Air Force solicitation published in the past couple of days, that they're about to get more tactical:

Combatant commanders (COCOMS) have expressed desires for additional military options against the variety of electronic systems that are used in military, industrial, civil, and asymmetrical applications. To provide viable military options to the COCOMS, the Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate's High Power Microwave Division (AFRL/RDH) is seeking to develop and demonstrate the capability and operational utility of a high power microwave (HPM) aerial demonstrator.

The objective of this effort is to develop, test, and demonstrate a multishot and multitarget aerial HPM demonstrator that is capable of degrading, damaging, or destroying electronic systems. For this effort, the contractor shall develop a compact HPM payload for integration into an aerial platform. The contractor shall produce five aerial demonstrators. One aerial platform without the HPM source shall be developed for a flight test to demonstrate delivery, controlability, and fusing. The remaining four aerial platforms with the integrated HPM source shall be developed for flight testing, demonstration, and HPM effects tests.

Want to cause mayhem before an invasion, or perhaps get a bright-white surrender flag waving at you before the first physical bullet is fired? Unleashing one of these over a modern city has the potential to shut down TV and radio broadcasting and receiving, car starters, home and office electronic circuitry, network routers, computers, embedded circuitry.

Want to use your cell phone? Forget it. Need an ATM? No cash for you. Dependent on a life-support system? You have a problem.

Sounds like the perfect weapon to use against any modern society. The more dependent that society is on electronics, the better.

Perhaps that's why a number of U.S. commanders believe Iran is working on a similar weapon to be used against the West.

I've got to run to Home Depot now, see if they carry gas-powered generators and have the materials to build one of these around my home.


MPA-III said...

Iran (or any other enemy) needs only detonate a nuke about 450 miles above the center of the continental US to wipe out about 95% of our electrical grid.

What many say the Iranians are working on is the vehicle to deliver that nuke. The Iranians did, in fact, launch a medium range missile last year and detonate it well up into the atmosphere and called the flight a "success".


Paul W. Davis said...

The problem with EMP is that it is indiscriminate. Thus, EMP weapons are indiscriminate, and unless your own electronic equipment is sufficiently shielded, you will end up replacing it too when the device "detonates."

After having worked on "hardened" systems and having to live with the pain that they are, I know that even if EMP hardened systems were generally available, the vast majority of individuals would not know how to maintain the integrity of such systems. Rather quickly, they would compromise the integrity and then when the pulse hit, their systems would be destroyed too.

One would be advised to learn a bit about electronics, surge arresting techniques, antenna design and function, and circuit shielding.

One would find out rather quickly that circuit miniaturization is not a good thing for resisting EMP surge, and that the old tube systems are quite robust and like EMP (it "cleans the plates") so long as it doesn't get to large (direct lightning strike - a form of EMP). One also finds out that certain semiconductors are more resistant to EMP surge than others, and certain circuit designs are also better for withstanding the pulse.

Just some thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I was reading about the same on a blog at When SHTF. My first thought was I went with an electronic lock for my gun safe as I thought it would allow for quicker access. After reading about all this, I'm thinking of replacing my electronic lock with a good old fashion combination lock.

Latholan said...

There's a more man-portable, safe-to-use, and directional tool. High Energy Radio Frequency ( ). What's more, they're available to purchase as plans, kits, and parts from I have not used this website before, but G4 TV (formerly TechTV) featured the company several years ago.

TJP said...

Gee, MPA, that doesn't sound right to me. That is above the ionosphere. How come that enormous fusion reactor 93 million miles away doesn't do this on a regular basis?

I think your source meant 450 kilometers. There is also a specific yield required for your scenario to occur. It's high.