During the Cold War, one of the biggest concerns of U.S. military officials was that the U.S.S.R might detonate a nuclear missile miles above the United States to cause an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that would wipe out electrical equipment across the country. A more realistic fear today, when we are more dependent on our power grids than ever before, is that a terrorist organization will set off an e-bomb that could create total blackouts on a more local level.
One of the big reasons everyone is worried about this is that this kind of bomb (or bombs) could be developed using inexpensive supplies and basic engineering knowledge. A low-level EMP could temporarily jam electronics systems, while more intense pulses could corrupt essential computer data. A very powerful burst could completely dismantle electronic equipment. It’s actually possible to use such a weapon to render an enemy’s military almost useless while taking very few lives.
I was shocked when I read this article, “How E-Bombs Work,” that reveals that the U.S. is vulnerable because our sophisticated electronics are built around consumer-grade semiconductor devices that are sensitive to power surges.
Based on the results of nuclear EMP tests conducted during the late 1950s and early 1960s, the U.S. has plenty of data regarding how EMPs work and what their effects are. You’ve got to think that we have e-bombs in our arsenal with plans to use them against our enemies if we need to, right?
Other than nuclear proliferation, I can’t think of a more effective way to subdue an enemy country than by completely disrupting communications devices and making ground and air vehicles inoperable.
How do you feel about this potential weapon? Is it something the U.S. should be putting more time and effort into developing? Or do you think these types of weapons are already prepared and ready to go should we need them? Let me know what you think in the comments.