Contolled, directional electromagnetic pulse weapons are usually the stuff of sci-fi (see: the Matrix trilogy), as creating an EMP strong enough to, say, disable a vehicle or larger infrastructure requires a significant conventional explosion. But work being pursued by the French Ministry of Defense says otherwise, claiming that an early prototype of an "electromagnetic bazooka" could produce weapons-worthy EMP from electricity alone, minus the chemical explosion.
By Lana BirbrairPosted 03.22.2010 at 10:02 am 18 Comments
It depends on the source of the pulse. Electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) large enough to cause you trouble come in two varieties: those produced by the sun, and those created by a nuclear bomb or another military-grade emitter device. With the sun-related variety, specifically coronal mass ejections (CMEs), your gear will probably be fine. But a really large CME could take down the power grid, says Bill Murtagh, the program coordinator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center.
Stopping a speeding car without killing its driver and passengers with traditional means--bullets--can prove tricky, even if skilled snipers can put a disabling shot in a car's engine block. But a Canadian company could soon demo an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) cannon capable of effectively scrambling a car's chips and other electronics, according to Flight International. The U.S. Marines have lined up as possible, if skeptical, customers.