EMP: Can Israel Catapult Iran Back to the Stone Age?

EMP: Can Israel Catapult Iran Back to the Stone Age?

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By Ami Dor-On

EMP featureWhile the western world is busy discussing Israel’s options – by air or by sea – of attacking the Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to put a stop to Iran’s nuclear weapon development, the American intelligence community is beginning to realize that Israel plans a different sort of attack, referred to as a nuclear electromagnetic pulse, or NEMP. This type of pulse is generated by a high-altitude nuclear explosion. An invisible electric wave expands outwards from the source of the blast, similar in appearance to lightning and powerful enough to totally disrupt any electronic communications in the Islamic republic. The Sunday Times has already mentioned this option, in a report based on the professional opinion of American security experts, who predicted that Israel can, using this method of attack, catapult Iran back to the stone age.

An electromagnetic bomb utilizes technologies based on a very high-power electric shock, generated by the gamma radiation emitted by the nuclear blast. This radiation is highly disruptive to the normal activity of Earth’s electromagnetic field. Such an electromagnetic pulse, generated by a nuclear explosion high up in the atmosphere, can destroy most of the critical systems across a vast region below. In military terms, a nuclear warhead which explodes at high-altitudes and creates an EMP is called HEMP, High-altitude Electromagnetic Pulse.

In order to understand the destructive power of this radiation, the potential results of an Israeli strike on Iran should be mentioned: The pulse will totally paralyze the Iranian power infrastructure (generation and transmission), water supply, food, oil, transportation, financial deals, banking system services, emergency services, aeronautic communications (planes without radar and radio won’t be able to navigate and will simply plummet down), all government services, all satellite communication (no radio or TV broadcasts, no geolocation services, no internet), all cellular phones, nuclear reactors and more. The meaning of this total destruction of all land, sea and air communications, in addition to all financial services, is a total economic collapse in Iran.

IHLS – Israel Homeland Security

Scientifically, the electromagnetic pulse is not new to American researchers. As early as the cold war era both the U.S. and USSR attempted to develop bombs of this type, and to protect their armies and strategic infrastructure facilities against the pulse. The magnitude of the disturbances, which disrupted the Earth’s magnetic field, was first documented during an American experiment. The ability of civilian and military communications to resist the pulse was tested, and as it turned out the pulse caused total system failures. According to the calculations it takes at least a 1 megaton atom bomb to generate the destructive EMP (a megaton equals one million kilograms of TNT). This meant the nuclear weapon had to be hydrogen-based.

After 9/11 the research into the possibly very severe effects of an EMP got a serious boost. In order to find out how to handle this threat, should an enemy state or Islamic terror organization try to attack the U.S. this way, the American Senate established a board of professionals who were tasked with “examining the threat to the United States posed by an EMP attack.” The board, headed by Dr. William R. Graham, handed in a practical and concrete final report. According to the calculations of the assisting researchers, a nuclear detonation 100 kilometers above the Earth’s surface will affect an area of about 4 million square kilometers. The damage depends on the bomb’s power, of course. According to the report – and the respected FAS website (Federation of American Scientists) – the high-altitude detonation causes the intense electric shock to reach an extreme range, capable of affecting entire countries. The report, more than 200 pages long, was presented to the Senate in 2008. It served as the basis for the U.S. Homeland Security act, and it explicitly mentioned EMP attacks as “a potentially catastrophic threat to the entire United States,” taking into account the many ten thousand civilian casualties in case of a total systems failure.

The relatively small hydrogen bombs mentioned in the report – which, according to U.S. Navy research, Israel possesses – can be delivered using an intercontinental ballistic missile, like the Jericho IV, or by cruise missiles launched from a Dolphin submarine. Another option, which would prevent the detection of the source of the launch, is to install a nuclear device on an intercontinental ballistic missile developed, according to foreign sources, by Israel; or to install the bomb on board a satellite, to be launched at a later date and detonated above Iran. By the way, Iran’s total area is just 1,648,195 sq. km.