Electromagnetic bomb

Electromagnetic bomb

An electromagnetic bomb or E-bomb is a weapon designed to disable electronics with an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that can couple with electrical/electronic systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges by electromagnetic induction. The effects are usually not noticeable beyond the blast radius unless the device is nuclear or specifically designed to produce an electromagnetic pulse.


These weapons are not directly responsible for the loss of lives, but can disable some of the electronic systems on which industrialized nations are highly dependent.

Devices that are susceptible to EMP damage, from most to least vulnerable:
# Integrated circuits (ICs), CPUs, silicon chips.
# Transistors.
# Vacuum tubes (also known as thermionic valves).
# Inductors, electric motors.

Transistor technology is likely to fail and old vacuum equipment survive. However, different types of transistors and ICs show different sensitivity to electromagnetism; bipolar ICs and transistors are much less sensitive than FETs and especially MOSFETs. To protect sensitive electronics, a Faraday cage must be placed around the item. Some makeshift Faraday cages have been suggested, such as aluminium foil, although such a cage would be rendered useless if any conductors passed through, such as power cords or antennas.dubious


The electromagnetic pulse was first observed during high-altitude nuclear weapon detonations.

Electromagnetic weapons are still mostly classified and research surrounding them is highly secret. Military speculators and experts generally think that E-bombs use explosively pumped flux compression generator technology as their power source.

According to some reports, the U.S. Navy used experimental E-bombs during the 1991 Gulf War. These bombs utilized warheads that converted the energy of conventional explosives into a pulse of radio energy. [cite web|url=http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/hpm.htm|title=www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/hpm.htm |accessdate=2007-06-01] CBS News also reported that the U.S. dropped an E-bomb on Iraqi TV during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but this has not been confirmed. [cite web|url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/03/25/iraq/main546081.shtml|title=www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/03/25/iraq/main546081.shtml |accessdate=2007-06-01]

The Soviet Union conducted significant research into producing nuclear weapons specially designed for upper atmospheric detonations, a decision that was later followed by the United States and the United Kingdom. Only the Soviets ultimately produced any significant quantity of such warheads, most of which were disarmed following the Reagan-era arms talks.Fact|date=February 2007 EMP-specialized nuclear weapon designs belong to the third generation of nuclear weapons.

In fiction

* Prison Break (season 3)
* GoldenEye fictional satellite weapon that fires in James Bond, GoldenEye.
* Sword of Damocles in Escape from L.A. (action film about a fictional EMP attack at global scale)
* 24 (season 4)
* Jericho (season 1)
* The Matrix (series): every hovercraft is equipped with an EMP weapon.
* Ocean's Eleven
* Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell features a handgun with an EMP emitter device that specifically targets any electrical equipment in the players crosshair.
* has a special structure that fires an EMP blast over long ranges. The expansion pack also features a Mobile EMP Generator. Ion storms generate an ambient EMP effect, disabling radar and advanced units such as aircraft.
* : China's ultimate general ability is a heavy bomber which drops an EMP bomb. The expansion features Patriot missile batteries that fire missiles with EMP warheads.
* Deus Ex, which features EMP grenades that disables any electronic based enemies or objects.
* Fallout has a similar Pulse Grenade that deals major damage to robots but near-to-nothing to everything else.
* Jake 2.0, Episode 2: Training Day.
* Earth 2150 has an Ion Cannon weapon system. It fires projectiles which instantly disable the target if it isn't equipped with shields without dealing any damage at all. The announcement movie shows the test dummy sparking and discharging bolts, so it might be an EMP weapon as only energy-based projectiles (Laser, Ion, Plasma, ElectroCannon and Sonic Cannon) can be blocked by shields.
* In the computer game StarCraft, EMPs are used as a special ability by the Terran Science Vessels to disable shielding and other energy based weapons.
* Nemesis, Episode Listen to the music (EMP bomb is used by US military to prevent spreading of an electronic virus)
*In the computer game Battlefield 2142 EMPs are available in grenade form or via orbital strike.
*In the video game , the Clone Jet Troopers use EMP grenade launchers, and standard Clone Troopers have EMP grenades as secondary weapons.
*In the BUGS episode "Pulse", an EMP is the main plot device. For the purposes of the episode, it is known as a 'pulse warhead'. [http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Hollow/5314/bugs11.html]
*In the popular video game "Bioshock" the player must construct an EMP bomb to disable an elctronic door lock which blocks the players path
* Spooks, Series 6, Episode 1.



The day after- ABC fictional account of nuclear war with USSR preceded by nuclear EMP blast

See also

* Electronic warfare
* Electromagnetic pulse
* High-energy radio-frequency weapons (HERF)
* High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP)

Further reading

* ISBN 978-1592483891 21st Century Complete Guide to Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack Threats, Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic ... High-Altitude Nuclear Weapon EMP Attacks (CD-ROM)
* ISBN 978-0160561276 Threat posed by electromagnetic pulse (EMP) to U.S. military systems and civil infrastructure: Hearing before the Military Research and Development Subcommittee ... first session, hearing held July 16, 1997 (Unknown Binding)
* ISBN 978-0471014034 Electromagnetic Pulse Radiation and Protective Techniques

External links

* [http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/defense/1281421.html Popular Mechanics "E-Bombs And Terrorists: September 2001 Cover Story]
* [http://unitedstatesaction.com/emp-terror.htm Electromagnetic Pulse Risks & Terrorism]
* [http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/kopp/apjemp.html The Electromagnetic Bomb]
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1996/apjemp.htm E-Bombs and its effects]
* [http://science.howstuffworks.com/e-bomb.htm How E-Bombs Work]

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