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Risk

12/7/2008
01:20 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Air Force Seeks (Non Lethal) City Stopper

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

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.

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