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back to article Norks unlikely to beat the USA in the death-ray race

With the world once again excited about the prospect that North Korea is on the way to building electromagnetic pulse (EMP) bombs, it's worth noting that in the last 15 years or so, America's much more sophisticated development effort has yielded relatively little. In fact, The Register would go so far as to say that far from …

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Nothing to see here

I remember seeing NATO handouts from the 80's proclaiming the pulse bomb the next imminent big thing to come out of the eastern block,,,,,, if anyone was going to achieve it any time soon, it would have been during the cold war. The climate is only just warming up enough to warrant serious development into it.

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Re: Nothing to see here

You mean the "pinch" that knocked out Las Vegas in Oceans Eleven wasn't real? If I can't trust Hollywood, who's left?

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Re: Nothing to see here

I remember those and the classified ones, with a bit more detail.

I then remember some devices used during the gulf war. Devices that are classified, if rather well known in military circles.

But, the devices all run afoul of the inverse square law and portability of high energy devices capable of delivering said energy in an extremely short amount of time.

Hence, limiting range due to pesky physics and energy delivery capabilities.

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Joke

Re: Nothing to see here

I was just thinking that l'il Kim Jong Un's Lovefilm account probably has Ocean's 11 and GoldenEye on his recent playlist...

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Devil

Valves ftw

My type 19 tank transmitter and various guitar amps laugh in the faces of our new Nork or Yank overlords.

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That diagram

It looks like the sort of thing I used to draw when I was 13. I used to 'design' fully working interplanetary spaceships.

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Re: That diagram

Excellent work! Myself it was six wheeled supercars.

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Happy

Re: That diagram

My cars often had rocket motors. So I guess I was doing both. I'm afraid they often had guns as well. Shall we say I came from the Wacky Races school of car design. Dick Dastardly branch...

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Meh

It really breaks down into 2 problems

1)Develop a one shot power system capable of generating the level of power needed to overcome the losses for the time required (In this field 1 milisecond is quite long)

2)Build the actual generator. We're in thyratron territory here, along with Blumein lines and other assorted jiggery pokery from the high power radar and particle accelerator (with a side order of ion thruster) crowd.

Most of which North Korea is not really well known for.

Logically you side step the inverse square law by focusing the output in a narrow cone.

Not easy to do when your power source is rapidly destroying your generator while it's working.

I'll not there things called thermal batteries that use the thermite effect to energize the reactants of a battery. They have long life (no self discharge modes as the ions and electrons don't move at room temperature) and have been quoted with power levels into the Kws (for a few seconds).

Yes you'd need to scale up the size and the duration would go down the pan but the generator part would still be intact when it was spent. Essentially you end up with a hot (possibly very hot) canister, rather than

a shrapnel cloud.

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Re: It really breaks down into 2 problems

Aha! That explains Tesla's battery problems...

I don't see the point in North Korea bothering. They may as well just lob a nuke and be done with it. Although they'll probably struggle to do that - I doubt their are very portable.

They're not going to win any conventional war - they're too out of date. So once war starts the regime is probably doomed.

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Boeing CHAMP missile

http://www.businessinsider.com/beoings-counter-electronics-high-power-microwave-advanced-missile-project-2012-10?0=defense

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-electronics_High_Power_Microwave_Advanced_Missile_Project

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War in 2020

If anyone has read the book “The War in 2020” (the dates are off now, but still a good read) the EMP weapon used in that is far more scary

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EMP in Fiction

Also check out "One Second After" by William R. Forstchen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Second_After

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Screw EMP...

...I want to know how close the Norks are to perfecting the hafnium bomb.

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Coat

Re: Screw EMP...

I think they're about hafway there...

[dons coat and runs]

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Big Brother

Sacre, Fear, Money Dare!

Nothing new. It's like the Iranian Nuke that will be ready in a few months since the 1990s.

And still yellow journalists falltake money for it. Why shouldn't they.

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Re: Sacre, Fear, Money Dare!

Are you disputing that Iran have some kind of nuclear weapons program? Because nobody else seriously is.

Admittedly the CIA have wavered from 'we expect them to have a nuke any day now' to 'they're at least a couple of years away', several times over the last decade. But that's a reflection of the fact that intel is hard - as well as political interference as to what report they release.

Also remember the same things were said about the North Korean nuke. And it turns out that one of those reports was correct, and that they were months from developing a nuke. Well there's still some doubt, because, as I understand it, both their tests were small enough to possibly be faked - but probably weren't. I haven't seen a final analysis of the last one.

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Re: Sacre, Fear, Money Dare!

I thought it was the Iraqis who had secret invisible weapons of mass destruction that could hit London in 45mins ?

Now the Iranians have them as well !

Whose next on the list - India, Ireland and Israel?

We must invade Italy at once to stop Iceland using it's secret volcano weapons.

Then for the next crisis we can open Bush and Blair's big book of countries to 'H'

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Re: Sacre, Fear, Money Dare!

Well, let's see...

Iraq did have chemical weapons. Those nice people at the UN found loads of them in the 90s, and when they left the country because Saddam was making it so hard to operate, they still had a list of stuff where they'd found the paper trail, but not destroyed the naughty stuff yet.

in between then and the invasion, they were either destroyed or possibly sent off somewhere. Almost all that the Dossier with the 45 minute claim said was based on those UN reports. Admittedly it didn't have enough of the caveats, like how badly Iraq had done at building decent chemical warheads - although I seem to remember it did say how bad they'd been at weaponising their biological weapons. The 45 minute claim was about hitting Cyprus (or Israel, anywhere else in the Middle East), and never mentioned London. Admittedly they should have put in the caveats about that intel, that it was estimated with reasonable probability - or whatever the exact wording was.

Check the IAEA and UN reports. Iran has broken a bunch of the rules of the NPT - that it signed up to. Israel hasn't signed, and North Korea un-signed... Iran has admitted (after they were found out) to building a secret underground base to centrifuge the 'fuel' for their nuclear reactor to a higher purity than is required for nuclear fuel. And has the ability to do so on an industrial scale. Whether they actually want to build a nuke, or whether they want to have the assurance of being close, is a matter for debate. But the fact that their nuclear program is aimed as much at weapons as at power, really isn't.

Take the old tinfoil hat off there, it'll keep your brain cooler.

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Re: Sacre, Fear, Money Dare!

>>Nothing new. It's like the Iranian Nuke that will be ready in a few months since the 1990s.<<

True but since that assertion in 1984 that Iran was only 7 years away from beginning to start building nukes the Iranian nuclear program has seen

1) Nuclear sites and reactors bombed and blown up by Iraq

2) Argentina, Russia, China, France and Germany all withdraw support, contracts to sell equipment and frozen payments towards it.

3) The buildings and plans have had to be updated and changed each time a company pulls out and another comes in a few years later

4) It has been cancelled a number of times by Iran after pressure from the UN and NATO,

5) Iranian Nuclear scientists, and others connected to the project have been assassinated

6) Stuxnet

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Re: Sacre, Fear, Money Dare! @YAAC

“The first development, called Al-Hussein or Project 1728, with a range of 400 miles, allowed the Iraqi army to attack deep inside the Iranian boundaries. The range was extended by reducing the original 945 kg warhead to 500 kg and increasing the propellant capacity. The warhead carried HE, although it had Chemical, Biological and Nuclear capabilities. According to UN inspectors reports, the Iraqis were able to produce all the major components of the system by 1991.[3] The Al-Hussein was 12.46 meters long and had a diameter of 0.88. The guidance was inertial, without terminal phase. The altitude where the motor burnt out was 31 miles, while the trajectory highest altitude or apogee, was 94 miles. The accuracy for the impact, or Circular error probable, was estimated in a radius of 1,000 meters, and the missile launch weight was 6,400 kg. Its flight time was of about seven minutes for the maximum range.[ “

People forget Iraq managed to ‘scud’ Iran (killing 2000 +) in the 1980s Israel and Saudi around 40 times each and (accidentally) the West Bank in Gulf War 1 and hit Kuwait with long range missiles in 2003, if it wasn’t for the fact most of them had been blown up, either on the ground or in the air and they were a bit crap at accuracy. Not to mention Saddam used chemical weapons on the Kurds in the Al-Anfal Campaign, while the claims may have been ‘sexed up’ it was not complete BS

Or, as US comic Dave Chappelle once said “We know they have chemical weapons, we still have the receipts”

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Anonymous Coward

The world will never know how far along the USA is on it. AREA 51

Lets see why would North Korea be trying to \get such tech?

Hmmm almost all there attempts to launch rockets into space failed except for when they quietly did a fast setup and launch when spy sats where not able to watch over head and Hi tech American electronic equipment was not sitting along the border just as has been prior to the failed launches of the past. The E-bomb is built for use against North Korea if they should decide to rekindle the past. Just as many stealth planes have been test flown in the early 70's and only declassified more then a decade later so will be such a device. Thus the media is just blowing hot air and running clueless as they have always when it comes to classified dealings inside Area 51 Skunk works..

Gee I wonder if North Korea might have noticed all the microscopic fractures in the wiring inside most of the failed launches they did. Could that be the reason they are in a rush to figure out how to do that also?

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Nitpick: "The pulse needs lots of portable energy – in the order of Terawatts –"

Watts are not a measure of energy, they're a measure of power (how fast energy is released). Joules, calories, or BTUs would measure energy.

I'm not sure whether energy or power is actually applicable to the sentence, though. You would want a lot of energy to get enough joules past surge protectors over a large area, and you would want high power so the electrical equipment doesn't have long seconds to shrug off the pulse.

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