View Full Version : Coming Soon to Baghdad – The Preview of the E-Bomb

6th Mar 2003, 17:49

Coming Soon to Baghdad – The Preview of the E-Bomb
Phil Brennan, NewsMax.com

It will begin with a sharp crack, like the sound of a bolt of lightning hitting its target. In an instant, Baghdad and its environs will go dark. Even though turned off, fluorescent lights and television sets will glow and the smell of ozone mixed with the odor of smoldering plastic will seep from outlet covers as electric wires arc and telephone lines melt. Palm Pilots will feel warm to the touch, their batteries overloaded. Computers, and every bit of data on them, will be history.

Suddenly there will be a deadly quiet as internal-combustion engines shut down never to be restarted. No Iraqis will suffer any harm – they will simply be thrust back in time to an era where electricity and the electronics it made possible were non-existent.

Saddam Hussein will sit in his silent darkened bunker – suddenly stifling as all air intake systems shut down. With communication with his armed forces arrayed around the capital city no longer operating, he and his top generals will be rendered as mute as the troops in the field themselves. Only by carrier pigeon could be hope to contact his forces.

His missiles inoperative, his tanks without engines, his jet fighters downed, his radar installations useless, Saddam no longer has the instruments of modern warfare at his beck and call. He has been e-bombed back to the stone ages.

That’s the scenario for the opening of the invasion of Iraq if intelligence reports are correct. The age of the e-bomb has arrived and modern warfare will never be the same.

According to Associated Press Technology writer Jim Krane, the U.S. may fire a cruise missile tipped with a high-powered electromagnetic-pulse emitter - a so-called e-bomb - "which fries the electronics without killing the people," said Andrew Koch of Jane's Information Group.

Wrote Krane, “The weapon's massive power surge is supposed to travel through antennas or power cords to wreck any unshielded electronic appliance - civilian or military - within a few hundred yards, according to studies cited by GlobalSecurity.org, a research organization.

Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, Edward Epstein quoted Roger McCarthy, chairman of Exponent Failure Analysis Associates in Menlo Park, a firm deeply involved in developing futuristic weaponry for the Pentagon as declaring: "Kabammy! A huge electronic wave comes along, and sends out a few thousand volts. Wham! Your cell phone or your computer dies,

Invisible Wallop

Epstein explains that the weapons “pack an incredible, invisible wallop, hundreds of times the electrical current in a lightning bolt. That ‘directed energy,’ in principle not unlike the power used more benignly in laser pointers or supermarket scanners, opens a whole new area of warfare, one that for now gives the United States a leg up on potential opponents.

In an age in which militaries rely on sophisticated electronics for everything from starting tanks and planes to using phones to direct operations, such a weapon could be devastating.”

Experts say that an e-bomb could also disarm Saddam’s chemical and biological weapons and disable underground military sites.

"If I was Saddam Hussein, I'd make a major investment in old motorcycles and go back to the era of World War II and use motorcyclists as messengers," retired Army Lt. Col. Piers Wood of GlobalSecurity.org, a group that tracks new weapons systems told Epstein.

"These weapons are really about taking the energy of high explosives and converting the wallop into electromagnetic energy to disrupt electronic devices," McCarthy said, adding that a good-sized version of the weapon would produce thousands of volts and 10 million amps in a microsecond. That's hundred of times the energy generated by lightning.

With the e-bomb an apparent reality, a warning issued by Rep. Curt Weldon during a hearing of the House Committee on National Security, Military Research and Development Subcommittee, on July 16th, 1997 raised a nightmarish possibility.

Said Weldon. “If I am the commander of North Korea and I have one nuclear weapon and that weapon is in the range of 1 to 10 kilotons, which I assume it is, and if I have the capability of a Nodong or Taepodong 2, system which I assume can reach an altitude of 250 miles quite easily, General Marsh—at least that is the testimony that has been give to me—and I want to do something to hurt the United States, I think the weapon of choice is to launch that device in the air and wipe out our smart capability and then dare us to respond, because we haven't killed anyone, we haven't hurt any buildings, and we, being a moral Nation, what is our President going to do? Is he going to set off a nuclear strike against North Korea, when they have not killed one person in this country, but it would devastate our entire infrastructure? That is what concerns me.”

Popular Mechanics

"There is, however, another part to the E-bomb story, one that military planners are reluctant to discuss. While American versions of these weapons are based on advanced technologies, terrorists could use a less expensive, low-tech approach to create the same destructive power. "Any nation with even a 1940s technology base could make them," says Carlo Kopp, an Australian-based expert on high-tech warfare. "The threat of E-bomb proliferation is very real." POPULAR MECHANICS estimates a basic weapon could be built for $400.