‘E’ bomb – or High-power microwave (HPM)
A new perspective on your kitchen microwave oven!
You awake one morning and discover your digital radio alarm clock is blank, not even flashing the display of '12:00'
which normally occurs when there has been a temporary power outage. You reach for your non digital watch and discover you
have overslept by 45 minutes - cursing you try the other radios and TV in the house and find... nadder! you try the house
lights, again nadder -You check your mobile phone, no signal, so you try and ring a family member from the house landline
to see what has happened..again..silence on the line!
You go outside and notice a few neighbours across the street attempting to start their cars, with no success, you also
notice there are a few vehicles lying abandoned in the middle of the road. You try to start your vehicle - absolutely dead
as a dodo! Suddenly, in the distance you hear a vehicle, not the sound of your 'normal' modern day engine relying on all those
complex computerised chips, but the typical engine noise of a carburettor and plug system. It is old Joe who runs a VW workshop
in town, trundling down the road in his pride and joy a 1969 VW transporter.
You scratch your head and go inside to make that morning cup of coffe and curse when you realise again there is no
You now realise someting very serious and odd has occurred!
This would be the initial effect of an Electro Magnetic pulse (EMP) EVENT.
The event can be caused by natural means, such as a major solar storm, or man-made by the reaction of a nuclear explosion
high up in the atmosphere. Or, in today's modern technological orientated world, an 'E' bomb! - You have been well and truly
Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and High Powered Microwave (HMP) Weapons generate a very short, intense energy pulse producing
a transient surge of thousands of volts that neutralises semiconductor devices. The conventional EMP and HMP weapons can disable
non-shielded electronic devices including practically any modern electronic device within the effective range of the weapon.
The shorter pulse waveforms, such as microwaves, are far more effective against electronic equipment and more difficult
to protect against. Instead of merely shutting
off power in an area, an e-bomb would actually destroy most electrically driven machines. Therefore, generators would be useless,
cars would cut out, and all cell phones, landlines and computers would be useless.
In a matter of seconds, a large enough e-bomb could propel an entire city back several hundred years.
In addition, the intense fluctuating magnetic field could induce a massive current in any other electrically conductive
object, such as metal pipes and power lines. This current in turn would pass on down to other electrical components, zapping
transformers and batteries etc.
This electrical disturbance is due to the ‘Compton effect’, discovered in 1922-1923 by Arthur Holly Compton.
It was his assertion that photons of electromagnetic energy could knock loose electrons from atoms with low atomic numbers.
Thus, ‘E’ bombs could neutralise communications systems, navigation systems, vehicle control systems and
anything running on electrical power.
Whilst the ‘E’ bomb would only affect electronic and related equipment, and not affect human beings physically,
the psychological trauma would be devastating, in that large communities reliant on technology would come to a sudden halt.
In episode 6 of our fictional television series ‘Jericho’, the town experiences a power blackout due to
an Electromagnetic pulse, which sweeps over Jericho frying all electrical circuits. The resultant loss of power and light
witnesses several crime incidences.
Protection of electrical equipment:
One method of protection is to keep all essential electronics within an electrically conductive enclosure, such as
a Faraday cage. However, bear in mind that even if one did protect communication
equipment for access with the outside world, others may not have been able to protect their equipment, so communications may
However, if there is a slim chance of outside contact, the Faraday cage method of protection may be worth considering.
So named after the physicist Michael Faraday (1791-1867) who constructed one circa 1836. This is a protected cage or
enclosure consisting of conducting material, such as copper or aluminium, or a mesh of such material, covering the equipment
required to be protected. Thus, a spike of an external static electrical
field will cause the electrical charges within the protective cage to redistribute the conducting material in order to cancel
the field's effects in the cage's interior.
To protect fully against
electromagnetic radiation, the conducting material must be fairly thick and the holes in the mesh as small as possible. The
layers of material in turn must be earth grounded, and well away from the point of origin.
Construction of a
personal Faraday cage:
The best conductive
material would ideally be silver, then copper. Aluminium would be the next best material, of which 60% is copper, If using
aluminium, it is a good idea to double wrap the object your are protecting.
Choose two suitable
sized containers (such as a cardboard box) one larger than the other, as the smaller one will be placed inside the larger
container. Insulate the outer box by double wrapping with aluminium foil, or mylar (space blanket material). To protect against
accidental damage, cover the foil with thick plastic
To ground the box,
tape a wire to the foil, the end of which attach an alligator clip or similar.
The electronic item
to be protected is placed inside the inner box and in turn placed inside the protected outer box, thus acting as an insulator
from the outer box.
Should an EMP hit
the foil box, the pulse would be drawn away via the ground/earth wire.
The above would be
ideal for small devices, such as hand-held radios, lap tops and mobile phones etc.
For larger equipment,
such as television sets etc, tape a space blanket to a thick black plastic sheet, using duct tape to seal together. Don’t
forget to stick a ground wire to the foil. Once constructed, this protective ‘blanket’ may be stored until such
time it is required.
Any organisation operating
complex communications systems, should disperse their networks, and employ suitable fail over mechanisms, in order to allow
operation with multiple nodes and links inoperative.
Similar events can be experienced with the eruption of major solar flares/storms, where ‘x-flares’ erupt
from the surface of the sun and hit our atmosphere.
These are geomagnetic in nature and the highest category is a G5.
The affect of severe solar storms can be catastrophic, such as the case of the
great geomagnetic storm
of March 13, 1989, which plunged the entire Hydro Quebec system, which serves more than 6 million customers, into a GIC-triggered
In early 2007 a documentary entitled "The Perfect Storm" was re-broadcast
over several television channels in the United States and Canada. It demonstrates how a super solar storm could last for several
days emitting intense electromagnetic radiation that could destroy transformers and literally incapacitate long distance power
grids for lengthy periods.
These solar storms also affect the orbiting communications satellites and in turn disrupt radio and Television signals,
including airliner radio systems etc. There is also a strong possibility, in the event of a sudden strong earth-directed solar
EM storm, total battery failure may occur, e.g. car batteries and so on.
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.
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
References and sources:
Department of the Army, TM 5-690,
Grounding and Bonding in Command, Control,
Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance,
(C4ISR) Facilities, 15 February 2002.”
This manual has been prepared by or for
the Government and, except to the extent indicated below, is public property and not subject to copyright.
Copyrighted material included
in the manual has been used with the
knowledge and permission of the proprietors and is acknowledged as such at point of use. Anyone wishing to make further use
of any copyrighted material, by itself and apart from this text, should seek necessary permission directly from
Bomb - a Weapon of Electrical Mass Destruction 1996
Carlo Kopp - http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~carlo/
Jane’s defence – August 2006
High-power microwave weapons - full power ahead?
By Bill Sweetman IDR Technology and Aerospace Editor - Minneapolis
EMP technology is potentially non-lethal, but is still highly destructive. An E-bomb attack would leave buildings
standing and spare lives -
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.
e-bomb could effectively neutralize:
- vehicle control systems
- targeting systems, on the ground and on missiles
- communications systems
- navigation systems
- long and short-range sensor systems
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
Military have now begun to protect their electronic equipment with semiconductor devices, which are highly sensitive
to any power surge
Kopp - 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
Tech World – Can Faraday cages tame Wi-Fi?
Michael Faraday’s diary excerpt , January 15 1836
"Have been for some days past engaged in building up a cube of
12 feet in the side. It consist of a slight wooden frame, constituting the twelve
linear edges, held steady by diagonal
ties of cord; the whole being mounted on four glass feet, 5.5 inches long, to insulate it. The sides, top and bottom are covered
in with paper. The top and bottom have each a cross framing or tying of copper wire, thus; which with the diagonals of
support the two large sheets of paper which cover them in, the copper wires also serving to feed the paper surface with electricity.
The framing at top and bottom, of copper wire, are connected by copper wires passing down the four corner uprights; and a
band of wire also runs round the lower edge of the cube. The sheets of paper which constitute the four sides have each two
slips of tin foil pasted on their inner surface, running up 3/4 of the height; and these are connected below with the copper
wire so that all the metallic parts are in communication. The edges of the side sheets are fastened here and there by tacks
or paste to the wooden frame at the angles, so as to prevent then flying out and so giving irregular dispersion of the electricity.
The whole stands in the lecture room, one of the lower edges being within 5 inches of the third seat (on which the feet rest),
and the opposite lower edge being sustained on stools and blocks, about 4 feet from the ground. The chandelier hangs nearly
opposite the middle of the face of the cube at this side, being about 2.5 feet from it."