Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The E-Bomb: Weapon of Electrical Mass Destruction

The Maxwell Airforce Base website has a fascinating -- and somewhat terrifying -- description of an Electromagnetic Bomb (or "E-Bomb"). What's an E-Bomb?

E-Bombs can, over a wide area, destroy all unshielded electrical and electronic equipment; computers, radios, and radar receivers are particularly vulnerable. This equipment, if not suitable hardened against electromagnetism, can be "electrically destroyed."

Electromagnetic weapons... open up less conventional alternatives for the conduct of a strategic campaign, which derive from their ability to inflict significant material damage without inflicting visible collateral damage and loss of life. Western governments have been traditionally reluctant to commit to strategic campaigns, as the expectation of a lengthy and costly battle, with mass media coverage of its highly visible results, will quickly produce domestic political pressure to cease the conflict.

An alternative is a Strategy of Graduated Response (SGR). In this strategy, an opponent who threatens escalation to a full scale war is preemptively attacked with electromagnetic weapons, to gain command of the electromagnetic spectrum and command of the air. Selective attacks with electromagnetic weapons may then be applied against chosen strategic targets, to force concession. Should these fail to produce results, more targets may be disabled by electromagnetic attack. Escalation would be sustained and graduated, to produce steadily increasing pressure to concede the dispute. Air and sea blockade are complementary means via which pressure may be applied...

...Another situation where electromagnetic bombs may find useful application is in dealing with governments which actively implement a policy of state sponsored terrorism or info-terrorism, or alternately choose to conduct a sustained low intensity land warfare campaign...

...high value targets such as R&D and production sites for Weapons of Mass Destruction (nuclear, biological, chemical) and many vital economic sites, such as petrochemical production facilities, are critically dependent upon high technology electronic equipment. The proliferation of WMD into developing nations has been greatly assisted by the availability of high quality test and measurement equipment commercially available from First World nations, as well as modern electronic process control equipment. Selectively destroying such equipment can not only paralyse R&D effort, but also significantly impair revenue generating production effort. A Middle Eastern nation sponsoring terrorism will use oil revenue to support such activity. Crippling its primary source of revenue without widespread environmental pollution may be an effective and politically acceptable punitive measure....

Read: The Electromagnetic Bomb - a Weapon of Electrical Mass Destruction and More on how E-Bombs Work.

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