The next Pearl Harbor will not announce itself with a searing flash of nuclear light or with the plaintive wails of those dying of Ebola or its genetically engineered twin. You will hear a sharp crack in the distance. By the time you mistakenly identify this sound as an innocent clap of thunder, the civilized world will have become unhinged. Fluorescent lights and television sets will glow eerily bright, despite being turned off. The aroma of ozone mixed with smoldering plastic will seep from outlet covers as electric wires arc and telephone lines melt. Your Palm Pilot and MP3 player will feel warm to the touch, their batteries overloaded. Your computer, and every bit of data on it, will be toast. And then you will notice that the world sounds different too. The background music of civilization, the whirl of internal-combustion engines, will have stopped. Save a few diesels, engines will never start again. You, however, will remain unharmed, as you find yourself thrust backward 200 years, to a time when electricity meant a lightning bolt fracturing the night sky. This is not a hypothetical, son-of-Y2K scenario. It is a realistic assessment of the damage that could be inflicted by a new generation of weapons--E-bombs.
Anyone who's been through a prolonged power outage knows that it's an extremely trying experience. Within an hour of losing electricity, you develop a healthy appreciation of all the electrical devices you rely on in life. A couple hours later, you start pacing around your house. After a few days without lights, electric heat or TV, your stress level shoots through the roof. But in the grand scheme of things, that's nothing. If an outage hits an entire city, and there aren't adequate emergency resources, people may die from exposure, companies may suffer huge productivity losses and millions of dollars of food may spoil. If a power outage hit on a much larger scale, it could shut down the electronic networks that keep governments and militaries running. We are utterly dependent on power, and when it's gone, things get very bad, very fast.
An electromagnetic bomb, or e-bomb, is a weapon designed to take advantage of this dependency. But instead of simply cutting off power in an area, an e-bomb would actually destroy most machines that use electricity. Generators would be useless, cars wouldn't run, and there would be no chance of making a phone call. In a matter of seconds, a big enough e-bomb could thrust an entire city back 200 years or cripple a military unit.
2. BASIC PRINCIPLE-THE EMP EFFECT
The Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) effect was first observed during the early testing of the theory of electromagnetism. The Electromagnetic Pulse is in effect an electromagnetic shock wave.
This pulse of energy produces a powerful electromagnetic field, particularly within the vicinity of the weapon burst. The field can be sufficiently strong to produce short lived transient voltages of thousands of Volts (i.e. kilovolts) on exposed electrical conductors, such as wires, or conductive tracks on printed circuit boards, where exposed.
It is this aspect of the EMP effect which is of military significance, as it can result in irreversible damage to a wide range of electrical and electronic equipment, particularly computers and radio or radar receivers. Subject to the electromagnetic hardness of the electronics, a measure of the equipment's resilience to this effect, and the intensity of the field produced by the weapon, the equipment can be irreversibly damaged or in effect electrically destroyed. The damage inflicted is not unlike that experienced through exposure to close proximity lightning strikes, and may require complete replacement of the equipment, or at least substantial portions thereof.
Commercial computer equipment is particularly vulnerable to EMP effects, as it is largely built up of high density Metal Oxide Semiconductor (MOS) devices, which are very sensitive to exposure to high voltage transients. What is significant about MOS devices is that very little energy is required to permanently wound or destroy them, any voltage in typically in excess of tens of Volts can produce an effect termed gate breakdown which effectively destroys the device. Even if the pulse is not powerful enough to produce thermal damage, the power supply in the equipment will readily supply enough energy to complete the destructive process. Wounded devices may still function, but their reliability will be seriously impaired. Shielding electronics by equipment chassis provides only limited protection, as any cables running in and out of the equipment will behave very much like antennae, in effect guiding the high voltage transients into the equipment.
Computers used in data processing systems, communications systems, displays, industrial control applications, including road and rail signaling, and those embedded in military equipment, such as signal processors, electronic flight controls and digital engine control systems, are all potentially vulnerable to the EMP effect.
Telecommunications equipment can be highly vulnerable, due to the presence of lengthy copper cables between devices. Receivers of all varieties are particularly sensitive to EMP, as the highly sensitive miniature high frequency transistors and diodes in such equipment are easily destroyed by exposure to high voltage electrical transients. Therefore radar and electronic warfare equipment, satellite, microwave, UHF, VHF, HF and low band communications equipment and television equipment are all potentially vulnerable to the EMP effect.
It is significant that modern military platforms are densely packed with electronic equipment, and unless these platforms are well hardened, an EMP device can substantially reduce their function or render them unusable.
3. THE TECHNOLOGY BASE FOR CONVENTIONAL ELECTROMAGNETIC BOMBS
The technology base which may be applied to the design of electromagnetic bombs is both diverse, and in many areas quite mature. Key technologies which are extant in the area are explosively pumped Flux Compression Generators (FCG), explosive or propellant driven Magneto-Hydrodynamic (MHD) generators and a range of HPM devices, the foremost of which is the Virtual Cathode Oscillator or Vircator. A wide range of experimental designs have been tested in these technology areas, and a considerable volume of work has been published in unclassified literature.
This paper will review the basic principles and attributes of these technologies, in relation to bomb and warhead applications. It is stressed that this treatment is not exhaustive, and is only intended to illustrate how the technology base can be adapted to an operationally deployable capability.
3.1. EXPLOSIVELY PUMPED FLUX COMPRESSION GENERATORS
The FCG is a device capable of producing electrical energies of tens of Mega Joules in tens to hundreds of microseconds of time, in a relatively compact package. With peak power levels of the order of Terawatts to tens of Terawatts, FCGs may be used directly, or as one shot pulse power supplies for microwave tubes. To place this in perspective, the current produced by a large FCG is between ten to a thousand times greater than that produced by a typical lightning stroke.
The central idea behind the construction of FCGs is that of using a fast explosive to rapidly compress a magnetic field, transferring much energy from the explosive into the magnetic field.
The initial magnetic field in the FCG prior to explosive initiation is produced by a start current. The start current is supplied by an external source, such a high voltage capacitor bank (Marx bank), a smaller FCG or an MHD device. In principle, any device capable of producing a pulse of electrical current of the order of tens of Kilo Amperes to MegaAmperes will be suitable.
. The most commonly used arrangement is that of the coaxial FCG. The coaxial arrangement is of particular interest in this context, as its essentially cylindrical form factor lends itself to packaging into munitions.
In a typical coaxial FCG, a cylindrical copper tube forms the armature. This tube is filled with a fast high energy explosive. The armature is surrounded by a helical coil of heavy wire, typically copper, which forms the FCG stator. The stator winding is in some designs split into segments, with wires bifurcating at the boundaries of the segments, to optimise the electromagnetic inductance of the armature coil.
The intense magnetic forces produced during the operation of the FCG could potentially cause the device to disintegrate prematurely if not dealt with. This is typically accomplished by the addition of a structural jacket of a non-magnetic material. Materials such as concrete or Fiberglass in an Epoxy matrix have been used.
It is typical that the explosive is initiated when the start current peaks. This is usually accomplished with an explosive lens plane wave generator which produces a uniform plane wave burn (or detonation) front in the explosive. Once initiated, the front propagates through the explosive in the armature, distorting it into a conical shape (typically 12 to 14 degrees of arc). Where the armature has expanded to the full diameter of the stator, it forms a short circuit between the ends of the stator coil, shorting and thus isolating the start current source and trapping the current within the device. The propagating short has the effect of compressing the magnetic field, whilst reducing the inductance of the stator winding. The result is that such generators will producing a ramping current pulse, which peaks before the final disintegration of the device. Published results suggest ramp times of tens to hundreds of microseconds, specific to the characteristics of the device, for peak currents of tens of MegaAmperes and peak energies of tens of Mega Joules.
The current multiplication (i.e. ratio of output current to start current) achieved varies with designs, but numbers as high as 60 have been demonstrated. The principal technical issues in adapting the FCG to weapons applications lie in packaging, the supply of start current, and matching the device to the intended load. Interfacing to a load is simplified by the coaxial geometry of coaxial and conical FCG designs .
3.2. HIGH POWER MICROWAVE SOURCES - THE VIRCATOR
Whilst FCGs are potent technology base for the generation of large electrical power pulses, the output of the FCG is by its basic physics constrained to the frequency band below 1 MHz. Many target sets will be difficult to attack even with very high power levels at such frequencies; moreover focussing the energy output from such a device will be problematic. A HPM device overcomes both of the problems, as its output power may be tightly focussed and it has a much better ability to couple energy into many target types.
A wide range of HPM devices exist. Relativistic Klystrons, Magnetrons, Slow Wave Devices, Reflex triodes, Spark Gap Devices and Vircators are all examples of the available technology base. From the perspective of a bomb or warhead designer, the device of choice will be at this time the Vircator, or in the nearer term a Spark Gap source. The Vircator is of interest because it is a one shot device capable of producing a very powerful single pulse of radiation, yet it is mechanically simple, small and robust, and can operate over a relatively broad band of microwave frequencies.
The physics of the Vircator tube are substantially more complex than those of the preceding devices. The fundamental idea behind the Vircator is that of accelerating a high current electron beam against a mesh (or foil) anode. Many electrons will pass through the anode, forming a bubble of space charge behind the anode. Under the proper conditions, this space charge region will oscillate at microwave frequencies. If the space charge region is placed into a resonant cavity which is appropriately tuned, very high peak powers may be achieved. Conventional microwave engineering techniques may then be used to extract microwave power from the resonant cavity. Because the frequency of oscillation is dependent upon the electron beam parameters, Vircators may be tuned or chirped in frequency, where the microwave cavity will support appropriate modes. Power levels achieved in Vircator experiments range from 170 kilowatts to 40 Gig Watts.
The two most commonly described configurations for the Vircator are the Axial Vircator (AV) (Fig.3), and the Transverse Vircator (TV). The Axial Vircator is the simplest by design, and has generally produced the best power output in experiments. It is typically built into a cylindrical waveguide structure. Power is most often extracted by transitioning the waveguide into a conical horn structure, which functions as an antenna.
4. THE LETHALITY OF ELECTROMAGNETIC WARHEADS
The issue of electromagnetic weapon lethality is complex. Unlike the technology base for weapon construction, which has been widely published in the open literature, lethality related issues have been published much less frequently.
While the calculation of electromagnetic field strengths achievable at a given radius for a given device design is a straightforward task, determining a kill probability for a given class of target under such conditions is not.
This is for good reasons. The first is that target types are very diverse in their electromagnetic hardness, or ability to resist damage. Equipment which has been intentionally shielded and hardened against electromagnetic attack will withstand orders of magnitude greater field strengths than standard commercially rated equipment..
The second major problem area in determining lethality is that of coupling efficiency, which is a measure of how much power is transferred from the field produced by the weapon into the target. Only power coupled into the target can cause useful damage.
4.1. COUPLING MODES
In assessing how power is coupled into targets, two principal coupling modes are recognised in the literature:
Â¢ Front Door Coupling occurs typically when power from an electromagnetic weapon is coupled into an antenna associated with radar or communications equipment. The antenna subsystem is designed to couple power in and out of the equipment, and thus provides an efficient path for the power flow from the electromagnetic weapon to enter the equipment and cause damage.
Â¢ Back Door Coupling occurs when the electromagnetic field from a weapon produces large transient currents (termed spikes, when produced by a low frequency weapon) or electrical standing waves (when produced by a HPM weapon) on fixed electrical wiring and cables interconnecting equipment, or providing connections to mains power or the telephone network. Equipment connected to exposed cables or wiring will experience either high voltage transient spikes or standing waves which can damage power supplies and communications interfaces if these are not hardened. Moreover, should the transient penetrate into the equipment, damage can be done to other devices inside.
A low frequency weapon will couple well into a typical wiring infrastructure, as most telephone lines, networking cables and power lines follow streets, building risers and corridors. In most instances any particular cable run will comprise multiple linear segments joined at approximately right angles. Whatever the relative orientation of the weapons field, more than one linear segment of the cable run is likely to be oriented such that a good coupling efficiency can be achieved.
It is worth noting at this point the safe operating envelopes of some typical types of semiconductor devices. Manufacturer's guaranteed breakdown voltage ratings for Silicon high frequency bipolar transistors, widely used in communications equipment, typically vary between 15 V and 65 V. Gallium Arsenide Field Effect Transistors are usually rated at about 10V. High density Dynamic Random Access Memories (DRAM), an essential part of any computer, is usually rated to 7 V against earth. Generic CMOS logic is rated between 7 V and 15 V, and microprocessors running off 3.3 V or 5 V power supplies are usually rated very closely to that voltage. Whilst many modern devices are equipped with additional protection circuits at each pin, to sink electrostatic discharges, sustained or repeated application of a high voltage will often defeat these.
Communications interfaces and power supplies must typically meet electrical safety requirements imposed by regulators. Such interfaces are usually protected by isolation transformers with ratings from hundreds of Volts to about 2 to 3 kV.
It is clearly evident that once the defence provided by a transformer, cable pulse arrestor or shielding is breached, voltages even as low as 50 V can inflict substantial damage upon computer and communications equipment. The author has seen a number of equipment items (computers, consumer electronics) exposed to low frequency high voltage spikes (near lightning strikes, electrical power transients), and in every instance the damage was extensive, often requiring replacement of most semiconductors in the equipment .
HPM weapons operating in the centimetric and mill metric bands however offer an additional coupling mechanism to Back Door Coupling. This is the ability to directly couple into equipment through ventilation holes, gaps between panels and poorly shielded interfaces. Under these conditions, any aperture into the equipment behaves much like a slot in a microwave cavity, allowing microwave radiation to directly excite or enter the cavity. The microwave radiation will form a spatial standing wave pattern within the equipment. Components situated within the anti-nodes within the standing wave pattern will be exposed to potentially high electromagnetic fields.
Because microwave weapons can couple more readily than low frequency weapons, and can in many instances bypass protection devices designed to stop low frequency coupling, microwave weapons have the potential to be significantly more lethal than low frequency weapons.
4.2. MAXIMISING ELECTROMAGNETIC BOMB LETHALITY
To maximise the lethality of an electromagnetic bomb it is necessary to maximise the power coupled into the target set. The first step in maximising bomb lethality is is to maximise the peak power and duration of the radiation of the weapon. For a given bomb size, this is accomplished by using the most powerful flux compression generator (and Vircator in a HPM bomb) which will fit the weapon size, and by maximising the efficiency of internal power transfers in the weapon. Energy which is not emitted is energy wasted at the expense of lethality.
The second step is to maximise the coupling efficiency into the target set. A good strategy for dealing with a complex and diverse target set is to exploit every coupling opportunity available within the bandwidth of the weapon.
A low frequency bomb built around an FCG will require a large antenna to provide good coupling of power from the weapon into the surrounding environment. Whilst weapons built this way are inherently wide band, as most of the power produced lies in the frequency band below 1 MHz compact antennas are not an option. One possible scheme is for a bomb approaching its programmed firing altitude to deploy five linear antenna elements. These are produced by firing off cable spools which unwind several hundred metres of cable. Four radial antenna elements form a "virtual" earth plane around the bomb, while an axial antenna element is used to radiate the power from the FCG. The choice of element lengths would need to be carefully matched to the frequency characteristics of the weapon, to produce the desired field strength. A high power coupling pulse transformer is used to match the low impedance FCG output to the much higher impedance of the antenna, and ensure that the current pulse does not vapourise the cable prematurely.
Other alternatives are possible. One is to simply guide the bomb very close to the target, and rely upon the near field produced by the FCG winding, which is in effect a loop antenna of very small diameter relative to the wavelength. Whilst coupling efficiency is inherently poor, the use of a guided bomb would allow the warhead to be positioned accurately within metres of a target. An area worth further investigation in this context is the use of low frequency bombs to damage or destroy magnetic tape libraries, as the near fields in the vicinity of a flux generator are of the order of magnitude of the coercivity of most modern magnetic materials.
The first is sweeping the frequency or chirping the Vircator. This can improve coupling efficiency in comparison with a single frequency weapon, by enabling the radiation to couple into apertures and resonances over a range of frequencies. In this fashion, a larger number of coupling opportunities are exploited.
The second mechanism which can be exploited to improve coupling is the polarisation of the weapon's emission. If we assume that the orientations of possible coupling apertures and resonances in the target set are random in relation to the weapon's antenna orientation, a linearly polarised emission will only exploit half of the opportunities available. A circularly polarised emission will exploit all coupling opportunities.
The practical constraint is that it may be difficult to produce an efficient high power circularly polarised antenna design which is compact and performs over a wide band. Some work therefore needs to be done on tapered helix or conical spiral type antennas capable of handling high power levels, and a suitable interface to a Vircator with multiple extraction ports must devised. A possible implementation is depicted in Fig.5. In this arrangement, power is coupled from the tube by stubs which directly feed a multi-filar conical helix antenna. An implementation of this scheme would need to address the specific requirements of bandwidth, beam width, efficiency of coupling from the tube, while delivering circularly polarised radiation.
Another aspect of electromagnetic bomb lethality is its detonation altitude, and by varying the detonation altitude, a tradeoff may be achieved between the size of the lethal footprint and the intensity of the electromagnetic field in that footprint. This provides the option of sacrificing weapon coverage to achieve kills against targets of greater electromagnetic hardness, for a given bomb size (Fig.7, 8). This is not unlike the use of airburst explosive devices. In summary, lethality is maximised by maximising power output and the efficiency of energy transfer from the weapon to the target set. Microwave weapons offer the ability to focus nearly all of their energy output into the lethal footprint, and offer the ability to exploit a wider range of coupling modes. Therefore, microwave bombs are the preferred choice.
5. TARGETING ELECTROMAGNETIC BOMBS
The task of identifying targets for attack with electromagnetic bombs can be complex. Certain categories of target will be very easy to identify and engage. Buildings housing government offices and thus computer equipment, production facilities, military bases and known radar sites and communications nodes are all targets which can be readily identified through conventional photographic, satellite, imaging radar, electronic reconnaissance and humint operations. These targets are typically geographically fixed and thus may be attacked providing that the aircraft can penetrate to weapon release range. With the accuracy inherent in GPS/inertially guided weapons, the electromagnetic bomb can be programmed to detonate at the optimal position to inflict a maximum of electrical damage.
Mobile and camouflaged targets which radiate overtly can also be readily engaged. Mobile and re locatable air defence equipment, mobile communications nodes and naval vessels are all good examples of this category of target. While radiating, their positions can be precisely tracked with suitable Electronic Support Measures (ESM) and Emitter Locating Systems (ELS) carried either by the launch platform or a remote surveillance platform. In the latter instance target coordinates can be continuously data linked to the launch platform. As most such targets move relatively slowly, they are unlikely to escape the footprint of the electromagnetic bomb during the weapon's flight time.
Mobile or hidden targets which do not overtly radiate may present a problem; particularly should conventional means of targeting be employed. A technical solution to this problem does however exist, for many types of target. This solution is the detection and tracking of Unintentional Emission (UE), where transient emanations leaking out from equipment due poor shielding can be detected and in many instances demodulated to recover useful intelligence. Termed Van Eck radiation [VECK85], such emissions can only be suppressed by rigorous shielding and emission control techniques.
Whilst the demodulation of UE can be a technically difficult task to perform well, in the context of targeting electromagnetic bombs this problem does not arise. To target such an emitter for attack requires only the ability to identify the type of emission and thus target type, and to isolate its position with sufficient accuracy to deliver the bomb. Because the emissions from computer monitors, peripherals, processor equipment, switch mode power supplies, electrical motors, internal combustion engine ignition systems, variable duty cycle electrical power controllers (thyristor or triac based), super heterodyne receiver local oscillators and computer networking cables are all distinct in their frequencies and modulations, a suitable Emitter Locating System can be designed to detect, identify and track such sources of emission.
6. THE DELIVERY OF CONVENTIONAL ELECTROMAGNETIC BOMBS
As with explosive warheads, electromagnetic warheads will occupy a volume of physical space and will also have some given mass (weight) determined by the density of the internal hardware. Like explosive warheads, electromagnetic warheads may be fitted to a range of delivery vehicles.
Known existing applications involve fitting an electromagnetic warhead to a cruise missile airframe. The choice of a cruise missile airframe will restrict the weight of the weapon to about 340 kg, although some sacrifice in airframe fuel capacity could see this size increased. A limitation in all such applications is the need to carry an electrical energy storage device, egg a battery, to provide the current used to charge the capacitors used to prime the FCG prior to its discharge. Therefore the available payload capacity will be split between the electrical storage and the weapon itself.
In wholly autonomous weapons such as cruise missiles, the size of the priming current source and its battery may well impose important limitations on weapon capability. Air delivered bombs, which have a flight time between tens of seconds to minutes, could be built to exploit the launch aircraft's power systems. In such a bomb design, the bomb's capacitor bank can be charged by the launch aircraft enroute to target, and after release a much smaller onboard power supply could be used to maintain the charge in the priming source prior to weapon initiation.
An electromagnetic bomb delivered by a conventional aircraft can offer a much better ratio of electromagnetic device mass to total bomb mass, as most of the bomb mass can be dedicated to the electromagnetic device installation itself. It follows therefore, that for a given technology an electromagnetic bomb of identical mass to an electromagnetic warhead equipped missile can have a much greater lethality, assuming equal accuracy of delivery and technologically similar electromagnetic device design.
A missile borne electromagnetic warhead installation will comprise the electromagnetic device, an electrical energy converter, and an onboard storage device such as a battery. As the weapon is pumped, the battery is drained. The electromagnetic device will be detonated by the missile's onboard fusing system. In a cruise missile, this will be tied to the navigation system; in an anti-shipping missile the radar seeker and in an air-to-air missile, the proximity fusing system. The warhead fraction (i.e. ratio of total payload (warhead) mass to launch mass of the weapon) will be between 15% and 30%.
An electromagnetic bomb warhead will comprise an electromagnetic device, an electrical energy converter and an energy storage device to pump and sustain the electromagnetic device charge after separation from the delivery platform. Fusing could be provided by a radar altimeter fuse to airburst the bomb, a barometric fuse or in GPS/inertially guided bombs, the navigation system. The warhead fraction could be as high as 85%, with most of the usable mass occupied by the electromagnetic device and its supporting hardware.
Due to the potentially large lethal radius of an electromagnetic device, compared to an explosive device of similar mass, standoff delivery would be prudent. Whilst this is an inherent characteristic of weapons such as cruise missiles, potential applications of these devices to glide bombs, anti-shipping missiles and air-to-air missiles would dictate fire and forget guidance of the appropriate variety, to allow the launching aircraft to gain adequate separation of several miles before warhead detonation.
The recent advent of GPS satellite navigation guidance kits for conventional bombs and glide bombs has provided the optimal means for cheaply delivering such weapons. While GPS guided weapons without differential GPS enhancements may lack the pinpoint accuracy of laser or television guided munitions, they are still quite accurate and importantly, cheap, autonomous all weather weapons.
The importance of glide bombs as delivery means for HPM warheads is threefold. Firstly, the glide bomb can be released from outside effective radius of target air defences, therefore minimising the risk to the launch aircraft. Secondly, the large standoff range means that the aircraft can remain well clear of the bomb's effects. Finally the bomb's autopilot may be programmed to shape the terminal trajectory of the weapon, such that a target may be engaged from the most suitable altitude and aspect.
A major advantage of using electromagnetic bombs is that they may be delivered by any tactical aircraft with a nav-attack system capable of delivering GPS guided munitions. As we can expect GPS guided munitions to be become the standard weapon in use by Western air forces by the end of this decade, every aircraft capable of delivering standard guided munitions also becomes a potential delivery vehicle for an electromagnetic bomb. Should weapon ballistic properties be identical to the standard weapon, no software changes to the aircraft would be required.
Because of the simplicity of electromagnetic bombs in comparison with weapons such as Anti Radiation Missiles (ARM), it is not unreasonable to expect that these should be both cheaper to manufacture, and easier to support in the field, thus allowing for more substantial weapon stocks. In turn this makes saturation attacks a much more viable proposition.
7. DEFENCE AGAINST ELECTROMAGNETIC BOMBS
The most effective defence against electromagnetic bombs is to prevent their delivery by destroying the launch platform or delivery vehicle, as is the case with nuclear weapons. This however may not always be possible, and therefore systems which can be expected to suffer exposure to the electromagnetic weapons effects must be electromagnetically hardened.
The most effective method is to wholly contain the equipment in an electrically conductive enclosure, termed a Faraday cage, which prevents the electromagnetic field from gaining access to the protected equipment. However, most such equipment must communicate with and be fed with power from the outside world, and this can provide entry points via which electrical transients may enter the enclosure and effect damage. While optical fibres address this requirement for transferring data in and out, electrical power feeds remain an ongoing vulnerability.
Where an electrically conductive channel must enter the enclosure, electromagnetic arresting devices must be fitted. A range of devices exist, however care must be taken in determining their parameters to ensure that they can deal with the rise time and strength of electrical transients produced by electromagnetic devices. Reports from the US indicate that hardening measures attuned to the behaviour of nuclear EMP bombs do not perform well when dealing with some conventional microwave electromagnetic device designs.
It is significant that hardening of systems must be carried out at a system level, as electromagnetic damage to any single element of a complex system could inhibit the function of the whole system. Hardening new build equipment and systems will add a substantial cost burden. Older equipment and systems may be impossible to harden properly and may require complete replacement. In simple terms, hardening by design is significantly easier than attempting to harden existing equipment.
An interesting aspect of electrical damage to targets is the possibility of wounding semiconductor devices thereby causing equipment to suffer repetitive intermittent faults rather than complete failures. Such faults would tie down considerable maintenance resources while also diminishing the confidence of the operators in the equipment's reliability. Intermittent faults may not be possible to repair economically, thereby causing equipment in this state to be removed from service permanently, with considerable loss in maintenance hours during damage diagnosis. This factor must also be considered when assessing the hardness of equipment against electromagnetic attack, as partial or incomplete hardening may in this fashion cause more difficulties than it would solve. Indeed, shielding which is incomplete may resonate when excited by radiation and thus contribute to damage inflicted upon the equipment contained within it.
Other than hardening against attack, facilities which are concealed should not radiate readily detectable emissions. Where radio frequency communications must be used, low probability of intercept (i.e. spread spectrum) techniques should be employed exclusively to preclude the use of site emissions for electromagnetic targeting purposes. Communications networks for voice, data and services should employ topologies with sufficient redundancy and failover mechanisms to allow operation with multiple nodes and links inoperative. This will deny a user of electromagnetic bombs the option of disabling large portions if not the whole of the network by taking down one or more key nodes or links with a single or small number of attacks.
8. EFFECTS OF E BOMB
The United States is drawn to EMP technology because it is potentially non-lethal, but is still highly destructive. An E-bomb attack would leave buildings standing and spare lives, but it could destroy a sizeable military.
There is a range of possible attack scenarios. Low-level electromagnetic pulses would temporarily jam electronics systems, more intense pulses would corrupt important computer data and very powerful bursts would completely fry electric and electronic equipment.
In modern warfare, the various levels of attack could accomplish a number of important combat missions without racking up many casualties. For example, an e-bomb could effectively neutralize:
Â¢ vehicle control systems
Â¢ targeting systems, on the ground and on missiles and bombs
Â¢ communications systems
Â¢ navigation systems
Â¢ long and short-range sensor systems
EMP weapons could be especially useful in an invasion of Iraq, because a pulse might effectively neutralize underground bunkers. Most of Iraq's underground bunkers are hard to reach with conventional bombs and missiles. A nuclear blast could effectively demolish many of these bunkers, but this would take a devastating toll on surrounding areas. An electromagnetic pulse could pass through the ground, knocking out the bunker's lights, ventilation systems, communications -- even electric doors. The bunker would be completely uninhabitable.
U.S. forces are also highly vulnerable to EMP attack, however. In recent years, the U.S. military has added sophisticated electronics to the full range of its arsenal. This electronic technology is largely built around consumer-grade semiconductor devices, which are highly sensitive to any power surge. More rudimentary vacuum tube technology would actually stand a better chance of surviving an e-bomb attack.
A widespread EMP attack in any country would compromise a military's ability to organize itself. Ground troops might have perfectly functioning non-electric weapons (like machine guns), but they wouldn't have the equipment to plan an attack or locate the enemy. Effectively, an EMP attack could reduce any military unit into a guerilla-type army. While EMP weapons are generally considered non-lethal, they could easily kill people if they were directed towards particular targets. If an EMP knocked out a hospital's electricity, for example, any patient on life support would die immediately. An EMP weapon could also neutralize vehicles, including aircraft, causing catastrophic accidents.
In the end, the most far-reaching effect of an e-bomb could be psychological. A full-scale EMP attack in a developed country would instantly bring modern life to a screeching halt. There would be plenty of survivors, but they would find themselves in a very different world.
9. LIMITATIONS OF ELECTROMAGNETIC BOMBS
The limitations of electromagnetic weapons are determined by weapon implementation and means of delivery. Weapon implementation will determine the electromagnetic field strength achievable at a given radius, and its spectral distribution. Means of delivery will constrain the accuracy with which the weapon can be positioned in relation to the intended target. Both constrain lethality.
In the context of targeting military equipment, it must be noted that thermionic technology (i.e. vacuum tube equipment) is substantially more resilient to the electromagnetic weapons effects than solid state (i.e. transistor) technology. Therefore a weapon optimised to destroy solid state computers and receivers may cause little or no damage to a thermionic technology device, for instance early 1960s Soviet military equipment. Therefore a hard electrical kill may not be achieved against such targets unless a suitable weapon is used.
This underscores another limitation of electromagnetic weapons, which is the difficulty in kill assessment. Radiating targets such as radars or communications equipment may continue to radiate after an attack even though their receivers and data processing systems have been damaged or destroyed. This means that equipment which has been successfully attacked may still appear to operate. Conversely an opponent may shut down an emitter if attack is imminent and the absence of emissions means that the success or failure of the attack may not be immediately apparent.
An important factor in assessing the lethal coverage of an electromagnetic weapon is atmospheric propagation. While the relationship between electromagnetic field strength and distance from the weapon is one of an inverse square law in free space, the decay in lethal effect with increasing distance within the atmosphere will be greater due quantum physical absorption effects. This is particularly so at higher frequencies and significant absorption peaks due water vapour and oxygen exist at frequencies above 20 GHz. These will therefore contain the effect of HPM weapons to shorter radii than are ideally achievable in the K and L frequency bands.
Means of delivery will limit the lethality of an electromagnetic bomb by introducing limits to the weapon's size and the accuracy of its delivery. Should the delivery error be of the order of the weapon's lethal radius for a given detonation altitude, lethality will be significantly diminished. This is of particular importance when assessing the lethality of unguided electromagnetic bombs, as delivery errors will be more substantial than those experienced with guided weapons such as GPS guided bombs.
Therefore accuracy of delivery and achievable lethal radius must be considered against the allowable collateral damage for the chosen target. Where collateral electrical damage is a consideration, accuracy of delivery and lethal radius are key parameters. An inaccurately delivered weapon of large lethal radius may be unusable against a target should the likely collateral electrical damage be beyond acceptable limits. This can be a major issue for users constrained by treaty provisions on collateral damage.
Electromagnetic bombs are Weapons of Electrical Mass Destruction with applications across a broad spectrum of targets, spanning both the strategic and tactical. As such their use offers a very high payoff in attacking the fundamental information processing and communication facilities of a target system. The massed application of these weapons will produce substantial paralysis in any target system, thus providing a decisive advantage in the conduct of Electronic Combat, Offensive Counter Air and Strategic Air Attack.
Because E-bombs can cause hard electrical kills over larger areas than conventional explosive weapons of similar mass, they offer substantial economies in force size for a given level of inflicted damage, and are thus a potent force multiplier for appropriate target sets.
The non-lethal nature of electromagnetic weapons makes their use far less politically damaging than that of conventional munitions, and therefore broadens the range of military options available.
This paper has included a discussion of the technical, operational and targeting aspects of using such weapons, as no historical experience exists as yet upon which to build a doctrinal model. The immaturity of this weapons technology limits the scope of this discussion, and many potential areas of application have intentionally not been discussed. The ongoing technological evolution of this family of weapons will clarify the relationship between weapon size and lethality, thus producing further applications and areas for study.
E-bombs can be an affordable force multiplier for military forces which are under post Cold War pressures to reduce force sizes, increasing both their combat potential and political utility in resolving disputes. Given the potentially high payoff deriving from the use of these devices, it is incumbent upon such military forces to appreciate both the offensive and defensive implications of this technology. It is also incumbent upon governments and private industry to consider the implications of the proliferation of this technology, and take measures to safeguard their vital assets from possible future attack. Those who choose not to may become losers in any future wars.
1. AAP1000-RAAF, DI(AF)AAP1000,The Air Power Manuel, SECOND EDITION,RAAF APSC, CANBERRA,1994
2. CAIRD85-CAIRD R.S, TEST OF AN EXPLOSIVE DRIVEN COAXIAL GENERATOR
3. IEEE PULED POWER CONFERENCE, pp 483, IEEE ,NEW YORK,1989
4. OWLER60-ËœHE MARK 4 GENERATOR , DIGEST OF TECHNICAL PAPERS,7â„¢th IEEE PULSED POWER CONFERENCE
5. HOEBERLING92-ËœADVANCES IN VIRTUAL CATHOD MICROWAVE SOURCES, IEEE TRANSACTION ON ELECTROMAGNETIC COMBATIBILITY
6. IEEE SPECTRUM JULY 2002
7. IEEE SPECTRUM MARCH 2003
8. IEEE SPECTRUM NOVEMBER 2002
9. IEEE SPECTRUM APRIL 2003
10. IEEE SPECTRUM NOVEMBER 2001
2. BASIC PRINCIPLE-THE EMP EFFECT
3. THE TECHNOLOGY BASE FOR CONVENTIONAL ELECTROMAGNETIC BOMBS
4. THE LETHALITY OF ELECTROMAGNETIC WARHEADS
5. TARGETING ELECTROMAGNETIC BOMBS
6. THE DELIVERY OF CONVENTIONAL ELECTROMAGNETIC BOMBS
7. DEFENCE AGAINST ELECTROMAGNETIC BOMBS
8. EFFECTS OF E BOMB
9. LIMITATIONS OF ELECTROMAGNETIC BOMBS
Electromagnetic bombs are Weapons of Electrical Mass Destruction with applications across a broad spectrum of targets, spanning both the strategic and tactical. As such their use offers a very high payoff in attacking the fundamental information processing and communication facilities of a target system. The massed application of these weapons will produce substantial paralysis in any target system, thus providing a decisive advantage in the conduct of Electronic Combat, Offensive Counter Air and Strategic Air Attack. Generators would be useless, cars wouldn't run, and there would be no chance of making a phone call. In a matter of seconds, a big enough e-bomb could thrust an entire city back 200 years or cripple a military unit. The basic principle used in an e-bomb is electromagnetic pulse effect
EMP effect can result in irreversible damage to a wide range of electrical and electronic equipment, particularly computers and radio or radar etc. having military importance. Commercial computer equipment is particularly vulnerable to EMP effects.The technology base which may be applied to the design of electromagnetic bombs is both diverse, and in many areas quite mature. Key technologies which are extant in the area are explosively pumped Flux Compression Generators (FCG), explosive or propellant driven Magneto-Hydrodynamic (MHD) generators and a range of HPM devices, the foremost of which is the Virtual Cathode Oscillator or Vircator.
I extend my sincere thanks to Prof , Head of the Department, Electronics and Communication Engineering, for providing me his invaluable guidance for the Seminar.
I express my sincere gratitude to my Seminar Coordinator and Staff in Charge Mr. , for his cooperation and guidance in the preparation and presentation of this seminars.
I also extend my sincere thanks to all the faculty members of Electronics and Communication Department for their support and encouragement.
please read http://www.seminarprojects.org/t-e-bomb-...d-Abstract
for more about e bomb seminars report and technical information