Monday, January 16, 2006

Taking Down The Mullahs (1)

The Brits are reported to have developed a non-nuclear powered EMP weapon. If so, the Mullahs Russian-supplied Tor missile system will be easy to suppress.

EMP weapons generate high energy electromagnetic pulses that fry electronics - destroying most of the gadgets that support modern life. Protection requires expensive and heavy Faraday cages.

Until now, the only way of generating an EMP has been with an airburst nuclear weapon, although the possibility of a chemical EMP device has been discussed - there's an interesting article in the September 2001 issue of Popular Mechanics that suggested that terrorists might build one.

Muslim terrorists come from societies with no technology infrastructure, and can at best imitate old western technology - like copying 60 year old nukes. The technology-rich Brits have done rather better:

Britain, which has taken the lead in developing EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) devices, is testing a new EMP warhead with the United States. This weapon is intended for use in cruise missiles or UAVs, for attacks on enemy command and control centers. Some of these operations are in bunkers that are well protected from bombs. But an EMP device could at least damage some of the electronics used in those locations. An EMP warhead would also be useful when the target is surrounded by civilians, an increasingly common tactic with some governments, who know that Western governments are more reluctant to kill non-military personnel.

...several countries have been researching ways to generate an EMP without a nuclear weapon. Britain has had the most success, and has successfully tested their device several times in the laboratory. But the new tests will be more realistic. Most details of the British device, and the tests, is kept secret (lest potential targets see ways to better protect themselves.)
If the tests work, we have an easy way of compromising the Russian Tor missile system the Mullahs are deploying, with minimal loss of life. The Tor missile has command guidance and proximity fusing circuitry that will be nicely fried by an EMP, and hardening it will severely degrade its range and warhead size.

Nice to see the Brits keeping their lead in weapons innovation.