back to article Colonel: US Army has working electropulse grenades

Contradicting previous reports, a US Army electronic-warfare colonel has apparently confirmed the existence of working non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) ordnance - apparently so portable that it is even available in hand-grenade size. The revelation came at a blogger roundtable (press conference) held in order to …

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  1. Jamie
    Linux

    Endless cycles of money wasting

    We have created an EMP grenade.

    Now we have to create EMP proof electronics.

    Now we are back at square one ready to start over again.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Garden Shed EMP weapons

    I remember many years ago my mate tekkie Jim, electronics genius and slight pyromaniac (cleared the weeds in my front garden using a plant mister, paraffin and a zippo), mentioning about EMP generation by suddenly collapsing a sphere of generated plasma.

    At the time he had calculated that the device would fit in the boot area of a Ford Sierra estate (can't remember if you had to lower the rear seats or not)

    The weapon would work over an area of about 40 meters sq..

    His concept was diesel Ford Sierra estate, weapon in boot, racing Porsche 911's at traffic lights.

    Get both parties revving engines, wait for amber light, trigger the device. All electrics die horribly ( including Porsche engine electrics and as a bonus the Porsche drivers digital watch ), diesel Sierra putts away from lights leaving Porsche driver with a big bill and the fact that he was beaten away from a set of lights by a diesel Sierra estate.

    I had my doubts but when I saw Jim create a smoke screen using a tweaked stage smoke generator that completely covered 3 blocks of Victorian housing in Bradford in less than six seconds (the Royal Navy would have been seriously impressed), well what can I say....

  3. BlueGreen

    glass houses/throw stones

    Suppose this is true.

    If the US has it then the 'baddies' (as the US insists on tritely calling them) will have it pretty soon. One or two of those in the middle of a US city or a US power or power control station would be devastating.

    IIRC fuel-air explosives were found to be able to produce an EMP. But if you could produce and place a decent-sized working FAE then perhaps the EMP is just a small bonus.

    Urgh, the havoc we can make with modern technology. Like a small kid with matches.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Taliban comms?

    "...enemy command post or similar, so knocking out all their comms"

    How can you possibly interfere smoke signals with a pulse grenade?

    I admit, I've never been to Afghanistan nor do I have any plans to go there.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Unconfirmed?

    I would file this under "complete bullshit" unless some other credible information shows up.

  6. Tim

    Seems odd

    If you're close enough to use a hand grenade, why would you need an EMP device anyway?

    Tim#3

  7. Ash
    Joke

    Why so big?

    I'm pretty sure that with a bank of capacitors hooked up to a couple of miles of copper wire wrapped around a 6' long, 6" diameter iron nail, you could take out a good couple of tens of metres with EM leakage.

    It'd get hot pretty quickly, though. And your rifles would probably break your ribs trying to get to the magnet...

    Oh well, nothing's perfect.

  8. Aaron Harris
    Black Helicopters

    Suicide Bomber

    Perhaps we could stick one to the side of a US killbot, I want copyright on I-suicide-bomber

  9. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    @AC "Garden Shed EMP weapons"

    Some while ago, I had a similar idea. But after realising that the device wouldn't fit in the tiny boot of my vintage Lotus (mind you, the glas fibre body would be excellent for that application) I gave up on further research.

    It would be fun nonetheless...

    EA

  10. Anony mouse

    distance??

    so you would have to throw this thing pretty exactly to avoid taking out your own equipment..

    and seeing as most of the fighting for the foreseeable future is against someone with nothing more high tech than a beard, sandals and/or an AK.. seems like a lot of money for pretty much no good reason

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HMP - From an argos near you?

    I think many of us have tinkered with bits of kit over the years, but I'm just waiting for some one to place a 12V battery, 240v inverter and microwave magnetron into a ruck sack and start zapping their previous employer's computers.

    Build it - tried it - loved it!

  12. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Alien

    Madhatter Projects ...... and Filibuster Experiments*

    "Nonetheless, despite the apparently authoritative nature of the source, we're going to file this one under "unconfirmed"."

    Love your style, Lewis.:-)

    * For all you youngsters in El Reg land, that is a play on the Manhattan Project and the Philadelphia Experiment. ....... which are themselves Clones and Tangents of Enigma Finesse and Turing Success.

  13. Luther Blissett

    Col Bogey (man)

    > The revelation came at a blogger roundtable ... "EMP grenade technology is out there, but I've never had my hands on one," said Col Laurie Buckhout

    A bit like UFOs, holy grails, and communism then.

  14. Fluffykins

    Yes, yes, yes

    But how do you set a laser printer to "stun"

  15. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Re Garden Shed EMP weapons

    Goodness knows what's being cooked up in Blighty, AC, which has an impressive DNA/history in Garden Shed Secret Works/Hinge and Bracket Ventures.:-)

  16. vic denwood
    Joke

    British Army had these in the '50s

    The British Army had nuclear hand grenades in the 1950's. The first line of the operating instructions read:

    "Remove safety pin and throw 15 miles..."

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    "less-drastic form"

    Without that nice, warm glow.

    @AC - Garden Shed EMP weapons - my mate tekkie Jim

    Ok, who else read this as "trekkie Jimi"??

  18. Luther Blissett

    @amanfromMars

    re Goodness knows... <cackle vol=much>

  19. Mark

    knocking out their comms...

    That would be amazing! Imagine, if you could sneak up to a CP or a TOC, undetected, and lob a pulse grenade into it, knocking them offline until the commo section brings up a replacement radio! If you happened to get a NCS, it would disrupt the entire network, unless one of the radio operators on that network had at some point received the most basic of training, or had a lick of common sense...

    So much more effective then doing the same thing with, say, a M-67.

  20. Stevie Silver badge

    Riiiiight.

    Next up - US Army already has:

    The Tricorder

    The Matter Teleporter

    Grav Tanks

    A Real Ogre Mk IV

    Bolos. More han one. Honest.

    Pearl-handled DeLammeters

    Lightsabres (Officers only)

    A bug-shaped orbital AI that spots UFOs

    A mutual assistance pact with Godzilla

    Next year they will also take delivery of the first of what will become a fleet of giant robots that assemble themselves from seemingly normal trucks, planes and whatever to rampage wantonly through the enemy's infrastrcuture in the name of democracy.

  21. Cameron Colley
    Black Helicopters

    OK, did I take an April fool seriously?

    I seem to recall articles in New Scientist around ten years or more ago describing sticks of dynamite in charged copper coils being used to generate EMPs. I also thought that an article here on el Reg mentioned the anti-radar pulse bombs used by armed forces.

    Are my memory and recall really _that_ bad?

  22. Matthew Macdonald-Wallace
    Black Helicopters

    OK, if they've got EMP grenades....

    then I want my BFG10K...

    That's all marine, stand down...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Electro Magnetic Preposterous

    I rather think that a trooper fighting one of our worthy causes armed with a belt-full of EMP devices is going to look pretty foolish when coming across the local Taliban fondling his AK47. Said trooper would be better off waving his dick at the enemy.

    Honestly, where do these people get their notions from? They really shouldn't be allowed to watch telly or see movies if they're going to take SciFi quite so seriously...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Civilian personal EMP crossover applications

    You can make a mint selling EMP grenades to civvies! Think of all the applications:

    -Quieting annoying mobile phone conversations in public spaces.

    -Next door neighbor's stereo keeping you up at night? Not anymore!!

    -Phone calls interrupting you at work? Light off an EMP grenade next to your router/PBX!

    -No more high speed chases once police cruisers come with a built-in grenade launcher

    Sounds like an investment opportunity!

  25. Warhelmet
    Black Helicopters

    Yes, well...

    If they do exist, echo BlueGreen's points.

    Thing is, it is an ideal guerilla weapon and has potential in asymetric warfare. I thought that a central plank of US military doctrine was to create lots of hi-tech toys for boys. EMP flash weapons erode that. Either you build incredibly hardened systems - with, doubtless, an increase in weight - or you go back to "dumb" systems. I know what would be cheaper.

    Can the temptation to put this type of weapon into the hands of guerilla forces be resisted? Equipping the mujahadin with shoulder launched guided missles is one thing.

  26. Steve Roper
    Thumb Up

    So cup-o-sunshine then?

    Recalling the excellent "bucket-o-sunshine" remark in your previous EMP-related article, Lewis, I suppose we could think of this device as a cup-o-sunshine? Or more appropriately considering the relative sizes of a nuke and a grenade, maybe thimble-o-sunshine perhaps? ;)

  27. Blitz
    Coat

    Electronic Warfare Division

    What a brilliant idea if it turns out to exist. Disabling vehicles (at least non-carbureted ones) with EMPs or MBTs, Helis, etc will bring a new dimension to the battlefield.

    On the down side...lead lined counter-emp anything is going to weigh ton! :-)

    >>>>My coat is the one with cybernetic implants...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Times have changed...

    ...since the Jefferson Airplane's vision of heroic rebels fighting a government equipped with huge IBM computers:

    "at the Battle of Forever Plains all my people hand

    in hand in the rain the laser way won the day

    without one single living soul going down the government

    troops were circled in the sun guns found themselves on the

    run...

    thirteenth battalion of mind raiders three hundred master

    computer killers from great platforms in the mountains

    twenty mile lasers & great giant trackers..."

  29. Robin Kinge
    Boffin

    Faraday Cage?

    Is that all thats needed?

    Robin

  30. Toastan Buttar

    But how do you set a laser printer to "stun" ?

    "PC Load Letter" ? What the f*** does THAT means ?

  31. Tom
    Coat

    Re: Pearl-handled DeLammeters

    Personally, I'd stick with the .45, but I do want the full range from Mark 1 through Mark 10 for my ammo.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Could it be an explosive flux compressor?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Explosively_pumped_flux_compression_generator

  33. Charles Smith
    Joke

    Patent Application

    I wonder if anyone patented a coal fuelled steam powered battle tank yet? ...

  34. Clint Sharp
    Paris Hilton

    Meh....

    I for one won't take them seriously until there's a tank of sharks with frikking laserbeams attached to their heads at the next defence show I visit.

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