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Electromagnetic weapons                     [ TECHNOLOGY ]
                                                                       In January this year, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, exec-
                                                                       utive director of the Electromagnetic Pulse
                                                                       (EMP) Taskforce on National and Homeland
                                                                       Security, warned in a report that Russia has
                                                                       developed a "super-electromagnetic pulse"
        Preparing for                                                  is capable of carrying it at Mach 20 speed.
                                                                       (EMP)  weapon,  along  with  a  warhead  that

                                                                       “These EMP weapons could blackout North
                                                                       America and NATO Europe and win World War
                                                                       III at the speed of light," he said.
        Tomorrow                                                       ized for high altitude electromagnetic pulse
                                                                         Russia’s super-EMP weapons are special-
                                                                       (HEMP) attacks, the report said.  The country
                                                                       has the capacity “to clandestinely orbit a nucle-
                                                                       ar-armed satellite or satellites, to be maintained
         IN A QUEST TO BE FUTURE-READY, MILITARIES                     in orbit for years, until needed to make a sur-
         INVEST IN GAME-CHANGING TECHNOLOGIES,                         prise HEMP attack,” it added.
         BOTH FOR OFFENCE AND DEFENCE                                  Russia is not the only country that can target
                                                                       the U.S. with EMP weapons. In June last year,
           Arun Sivasankaran                                           Pry detailed China’s ability to conduct an EMP
                                                                       attack.  The  country  has  built  a  network  of
        Directed energy weapons (DEWs), hypersonic missiles, bombers   satellites, high-speed missiles, and super-elec-
        that can strike anywhere in the world without having to refuel,   tromagnetic pulse weapons that are capable
        beyond visual range air-to-air missiles, and sonic guns that cause   of  melting down the U.S. electric grid, causing
        the target’s brain to vibrate are just some of the game-changing   irreparable damage to critical communications,
        technologies that militaries are investing in as it becomes increas-  and even taking out the ability of aircraft carrier
        ingly clear that supremacy in all five domains - land, air, sea, space,   groups to respond. Besides having super-EMP
        and cyberspace – will be needed to win future wars.            weapons and developing protocols to conduct
           At a Congressional hearing in June this year, U.S. Space Force   a first-strike attack, China is also equipped to
        Chief Gen. Jay Raymond replied in the affirmative when asked if   protect its assets against an EMP attack.
        the country was developing directed energy weapons to protect    “China’s military doctrine — including numer-
        its space assets and retain its supremacy in the domain. “We have   ous examples presented here of using HEMP
        to be able to protect these capabilities that we rely so heavily on,”   attack to win on the battlefield, defeat U.S.
        he added.                                                      aircraft carriers, and achieve against the U.S.
           General Raymond has said, more than once, that China and    homeland a surprise ‘Pearl Harbor’ writ large
        Russia have directed energy capabilities that are designed to   — is replete with technical and operational
        damage or destroy U.S. satellites. In April last year, the U.S. Space   planning consistent with a nuclear first-strike,”
        Command said that Russia had test fired an anti-satellite missile   Pry said in his report.
        that could threaten American satellites in low Earth orbit. Three
        months later, Russia conducted a non-destructive co-orbital ASAT  Waking up to a Threat
        test by injecting a sub-satellite, Cosmos-2543, from an “inspector  With China developing DEWs that are capable
        satellite,” Cosmos-2542. In December last year, the country tested  of attacking American satellites in combat, the
        its PL19/Nudol direct-ascent ASAT system again, the second test in  US military has more than doubled its spend-
        less than a year. China, the U.S.’ biggest adversary, has also tested  ing on such weapons over the last five years.
        direct-ascent ASATs on several occasions.                      In October 2019, the U.S. Air Force success-

        ASIAN DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY                                                                  June/July 2021 | 9
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