back to article US military: Electropulse bombs now from next year

One of the longest-sought, most keenly anticipated high-tech weapons of the past century - namely, the dreaded circuitry-frying electromagnetic pulse bomb - seems to have had its schedule moved forward. The electromagnetic pulse (EMP, aka High Power Microwave or HPM) weapon has long been theorised upon, ever since it was found …


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  1. Fluffykins

    Wearable Version

    "Surely some kind of wearable rig would also be in order, featuring the traditional pulse-proof hat coupled with an on-head wind turbine providing reliable power for one's personal electronics. ®"

    Propellor Head!

    Propellor Head!

    Propellor Head!

    i always wanted to chuck that into a conversation.

    Mine's the one with lots of downthrust.

  2. Joe
    Thumb Down

    Scud range?

    Someone needs to tell that Maryland fella that even if the 'terrorists' invent an EMP bomb and somehow aqquire a working SCUD to attach it to....where are they going to fire it from?? A SCUD range is around 300-400 miles maximum. So there's not really much chance of it getting anywhere near Maryland unless there's a new militant islamic group, Al-Canadia, that I haven't heard of?

  3. Michael

    Obviously, the solution

    is to arrest anyone who has access to more than $20.09 million under terrorism charges.

  4. Warhelmet
    Black Helicopters

    Old Fashioned Over-Engineering

    I suspect that the old IBM server that I used to own might well survive an EMP attack. The case was made of very thick steel. And my old Diablo printer as well.

    EMP weapons are of use against soft, un-hardened targets. Which means civilian targets. Not very sporting.

    Time for me to buy a diesel generator, a ton of lead acid batteries and wear a tin foil hat.

  5. Tom Silver badge

    Scud range


    Easy to fit one on the back of a lorry or in a container ship delivering cheap goods to neew yuk.

    You'll probably find that Iran has hundreds or something as we'll be having a war soon to cover up for the failed economic miracle.

    As for shielding the Maryland grid from emp - what they gonna do take all the wires down?

    I wish I had the moral vacuum to exploit US paranoia - I'd be a very rich man now.

    Try this: An oil tanker full of oil and 30,000 tons of high explosive. Set of the high explosive, make huge cloud of oil/air mix - set that off and you've got megaton fuel-air bomb.

    Now how can I do shorts on oil futures as the price drops because the US is too scared to import it?

  6. michael


    a teroist gets a nuke and a skud he is going to set it off IN THE AIR??

  7. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Easier solution

    Judging by the number of stories like this:

    it'd just be easier to carpet bomb the enemy with squirrels and let the vermin scamper happily into the nearest electrical substation. Result - lights go out AND fewer arborial rats.

  8. andy gibson

    @ Joe

    erm, from a ship? Just type in "Scud launched from ship" into Google and you get plenty of results and commentary. This is one of several:

  9. Hanni Ali


    to protect against the imminent attack, instead of spending a small fortune on hardened electronics, why not turn off the electronics while the attack is in progress. With these devices likely being fairly expensive, even the US isn't going to fire off more than a couple during an attack.

  10. Tom

    Maryland eh? Figures.

    I live in the People's Republic of MD and the fruitcake we've got running the state would believe the idiot asking for the money. The "green" angle of using windmills is pretty much the closer for the deal. Governor O'Malarkey needs to close billions of dollars in budget shortfalls for the state, so he wants to fund a project even DARPA wouldn't touch. Go figure.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I'm all right, Jack

    I wrap my kit in tinfoil Faraday cages as a matter of course. And my pets. And my head.

  12. ian


    Give the US military credit. With all of the electronic kit they carry, what better weapon could they develop than one designed to destroy said kit. No matter how secret they keep the EMP-producing technology, others will find a way to duplicate it. Physics is funny that way.


  13. Bounty

    I'm talking to you.

    Or, said terrorist could get on a plane, come here and personally kill just you. Shouldn't that be just as spooky to you? I mean, yeah New York will still be there, but you wont. It would be incredibly easy, no special tools necessary. A rented car or some random peice of found garbage would due.

    Now shouldn't we protect our garbage! I think instead of putting it on the curb where anyone can access it. We should securely dispose of it. Locking bins, keyed to open when the garbage man's fork or claw connects with the can. Or we could use RFID or some other technology to prevent terrorists from killing us with our trash. Also, rental cars should only be rented to people who make 20 million a year or more, since if they wanted, they could apparently just nuke us anyways.

  14. Frumious Bandersnatch

    inverse square law

    "That weapon could be fitted onto a Scud missile for as little as $100,000, fired and detonated 80 miles into the air and affect the entire US east coast," he adds.

    Field density drops off according to the inverse square law (or perhaps that should be called a "theory" if you're a creationist, but I digress). I don't even need to whip out a pen and find an envelope to scribble on the back of (hey... a dangling participle... cool) to figure out that this estimate is complete twaddle. Has spicing up weapons dossiers gone from being "just something we do when we need to justify an illegal war" to "standard practice" now?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fiddling while Rome Burns

    This weapon has a sort of Vergeltungswaffe feel to it -- the place might be falling around our ears, our Fuhrer is rarely seen outside his bunker (and when he does he has very little to say) but we've got some new wonder weapon on the way that will definitely turn the tide. These days we have the twist in the tale to deal with as well -- not only do we have to believe in our own wonder weapons but we have to fear that turrists will get a cut price death ray.

    We've got an election coming up soon. Time for some wholesale housecleaning....

  16. ratfox

    Such people

    Should be jailed for scam attempt.

    The scary thing is that it works, like the Nigerian scam...

  17. Finko Bastawank

    EMPs and the 'Judge Dredd' shotgun ?

    I think the boffins at DARPA are spending too much time playing Battlefield 2142 !

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Old hat

    Aluminium foil is not very good at all, for the purposes of shielding against radiation/mind-reading rays. Too thin. The radiation hits the foil, and re-radiates off the other side.

    I think some research is needed into a better alternative to the tin-foil hat. Copper-mesh hat anyone?

  19. Anonymous Coward

    new hat

    yes, crossing-over from the area of gamma spectroscopy it has been determined that the new hat should have a thin copper foil then a bit of cadmium foil then the centimetre of lead layer. This could all be painted aluminium colour to match the old hats.

    the new emp - on the other hand - *will* affect all previously hardened emp systems as they were designed for the big boys nuke emp toys (low frequency energies). The likely candidates for modern electromagpulse death rays are high power microwaves et al and these tend to be transmitted through inputs/outputs that were nuke qualified.

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