New EMP Missile Knocks out Computers and Electronics with Precision
Ask any Sci-Fi geek what the greatest threat to computers is and they will not respond with “Cyberwar”, or anything with the word “Cyber” in it. They will say – EMP. Electromagnetic Pulse weapons will kill any electronics in its blast radius. The problem is that EMP based weapons can have a large field of effect. An EMP blast from a high altitude nuclear weapon detonation could knock out systems in a whole country.
But what if you had the ability to target individual buildings? And not only that, what if you could place this weapon in a missile based package?
Well, now, you can!
Last week, members of Boeing, Raytheon and the US Air Force Research Laboratory successfully tested the first high power Microwave missile. The Counter-Electronics High Powered Advanced Missile Project or CHAMP for short, successfully targeted and destroyed the electronics in a two story building:
“CHAMP approached its first target and fired a burst of High Power Microwaves at a two story building built on the test range. Inside rows of personal computers and electrical systems were turned on to gauge the effects of the powerful radio waves.”
“Seconds later the PC monitors went dark and cheers erupted in the conference room. CHAMP had successfully knocked out the computer and electrical systems in the target building. Even the television cameras set up to record the test were knocked off line without collateral damage.”
This missile is a huge leap in EMP based weapons. The ability to target individual sites (7 were targeted in the test) with no collateral damage is imperative to the insurgent type wars that the US is fighting today.
“This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare, in the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive,” said Boeing program Manager Keith Coleman. “Today we turned science fiction into science fact”
The US already owns weapons that can knock out power plants. These weapons (Like the BLU-114/B) work by releasing conductive material over power plants. The material shorts out the high power transformers effectively shutting the plants down. Weapons like this were used by the US to take out Serbia’s power in 1999 and even Iraq’s power during Desert Storm.
But what if the target facilities have backup generators? Or you wanted to target individual buildings instead of entire cities? Or the target had electronics that needed to be destroyed? In these cases CHAMP would be an exceptional choice.
But using them together could be even more devastating to enemy forces.
This missile most likely will replace cyber warfare in many cases. As the “Shamoon” coder found out, code may not always act like you want it to. And one of the greatest fears in Cyber War is that the code will be captured, modified and used against the creator.
Using CHAMP will knock out not only the computers but any electronics in the target area.
Science Fiction has indeed become Science Fact!