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Limited EMP attack?

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by glock39, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. glock39

    glock39

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    Tyler, TX
    The possibility of either a deliberate EMP attack or a solar storm taking out the power grid seems to be back in the news. For a worst case scenario, I would recommend the book "One Second After" by William Forstchen. However, this book presupposes that the US was hit by three EMP weapons simultaneously (to blanket the entire country), and by enemies who also took out Europe, Japan, Australia and anyone else who could have helped America rebuild. It also supposes that all post 1970's vehicles and electronic equipment would be permanently destroyed.


    But what about the somewhat more likely possibility of a limited EMP attack? What if, for example, a terrorist group launches one nuke that triggers an EMP effect over half the eastern seaboard?


    Now, the good news would be that most of the food growing regions of the country would be safe, we'd still have the infrastructure to deliver food and drinking water to the east coast, the direct loss of life would be in the thousands rather than in the millions.


    The bad news? The entire US economy would be wiped out. Tens of millions of people would be in danger of dying if they weren't immediately helped by the rest of the country. It might take years to get electric service completely resorted to the east coast. Untold economic infrastructure (think every small business on the east coast that depends on a computer) would be wiped out. Millions of displaced workers would swamp the rest of the country, hoping that any state that still has electricity would also have jobs. Those remaining in east coast cities would face daily riots. Almost all overseas military operations would have to be shut down, because the troops would be needed at home. Think hurricane Katrina x 10.


    Now, all this isn't nearly as scary as Forstchen's prediction of 90% of the population dying within a year. But, even aside from a US nuclear retaliation, any group the killed 90% of the US population would face opposition from everyone else on the planet who was afraid that they might be next. Whereas knocking out half of the US power grid would probably be applauded by the United Nations (just as soon as they found another air conditioned building to meet in).
     
  2. LongGun1

    LongGun1 StraightShooter

    From my research..

    ..you could affect the majority of the CONUS with just one HEMP.

    IMO...it would be the best "bang-for-the-buck" for one delivery vehicle..

    (for example... a freighter approaching or in a US port launching something similar to a SCUD)..

    ..combined with a single nuclear warhead..

    (& the less efficient/less sophisticated designs are stated to produce more of a Compton Recoil Effect when detonated at altitude ...approx 240 to 320 miles AGL)


    IIRC...The Russians have stated they could induce 200 kv/m at ground level with their HEMP..

    ..while our actual Cold War testing only went to 50 kv/m..

    ..& IMO ...our increasingly aged & overloaded electrical infrastructure..

    ..combined with increasingly more susceptible (to EMP) electronics/microelectronics/microcomputers..

    ..make an HEMP strike attractive to those who would like to cripple the USA.
     

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012

  3. LongGun1

    LongGun1 StraightShooter

  4. cowboy1964

    cowboy1964

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    I think you need a high altitude EMP in order to affect an extremely large area? Non-nation state terrorists won't have access to an ICBM.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  5. LongGun1

    LongGun1 StraightShooter


    Like I stated ....an ICBM is not necessary!


    IMO....A small group of terrorists with a hijacked freighter (think mobile, stealthy, improvised launching platform) & something similar to a modified SCUD with a lower tech nuclear warhead.

    They approach or pull into a harbor, launch from the hold & then commit mass suicide (& destroy evidence of origin) by blowing the freighter into bits..

    Almost no warning...& the missile would soon be at altitude during boost..(the optimum altitude desired for detonation would go by very quickly at sub-orbital velocities)

    ...by the time we realized what was transpiring it might all be over! :shocked:


    Think....same type of 'out-of-the-box' planning, studied deviousness & asymmetrical warfare of 9-11-01...

    ...but on a much larger scale! :whistling:
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  6. glock39

    glock39

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    Actually, I'm more worried about a terrorist launching a SCUD missile from the deck of a freighter just outside US waters than I am about a more high tech Soviet weapon.

    And the goal might be to simply destroy the US economy, rather than to kill most of the population. Wipe out half the power grid, and the US might not launch an all out nuclear counter strike (especially if it was a terrorist group rather than a country that claimed responsibility). Let half the US population starve to death for want of electricity and there would be a nuclear counter strike.
     
  7. UneasyRider

    UneasyRider C.D.B.

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    The maps that I have seen show Chicago (sorry Obama) as the best place to drop a single nuke over.

    With our economy on the edge the way that it is I would think that one dropped on the west coast would do the most damage to our economy and exports and by not doing too much damage to the heartland we could produce food for the people who bomb us. The east coast would be left alone because the lifting the burden of liberals from our backs would be of to great a benefit to us and that's not what our enemies would want.
     
  8. cowboy1964

    cowboy1964

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    The left coast is just as liberal as the east.
     
  9. cowboy1964

    cowboy1964

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    You would also need a rather large and sophisticated nuke and missile. We would know which nation(s) were complicit in helping. Said nation(s) would cease to exist shortly thereafter.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  10. Paul53

    Paul53 Geezer Boomer

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    and you think the Chinese are going to stand by watching all their assets destroyed without stepping in?
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  11. UneasyRider

    UneasyRider C.D.B.

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    Yes but the ones who make the decisions are on the east coast. Politicians that is, they are a liability to efficiency in war or peace and our enemies would be smart to leave them in place.
     
  12. UneasyRider

    UneasyRider C.D.B.

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    We owe China about 1.5 trillion, our corporations have invested much more than that in China by moving their manufacturing there. The Chinese would be blessed if the U.S. gave them a reason to nationalize our interests in China.

    China looks at us as food and raw material producers long term, short term we still invent things and have some value but not enough for them to shed a tear over.
     
  13. DJ Niner

    DJ Niner Moderator

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    Even if that nation sent out an urgent message, shortly after the launch but BEFORE the detonation, saying their launch codes had been compromised by a few rogue officers working with terrorists, and therefore this was NOT a nation-state attack on the U.S., but rather a terrorist attack?

    Our press and the lefty/libs (but, I repeat myself) would raise such a fuss that there would be no military response at all.
     
  14. glock39

    glock39

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    SCUD missiles are used by half the countries in the Middle East and the basic design is also used by N. Korea. N. Korea is on record as having already sold some of it's missiles to various Middle Eastern buyers.

    If we could collect some samples of the fallout (which might be difficult if the air-burst was over the Atlantic), then we could likely identify the source of the fissionable material.

    If the source was an old Soviet weapon, and the Russians stated that they had lost a half dozen similar weapons over the years, but swore they didn't launch the attack, would we believe them? Would we go to war with people that still have thousands of nukes if they might be telling the truth?

    If the fissionable material came from the new "peaceful energy program" of either Iran or N. Korea, then it would be a little more clear cut. Either country would swear that the material was stolen or legitimately sold to XYZ terrorist group, but would be unlikely to be believed.

    Would the President order 20 million N. Koreans/Iranians killed because the power was knocked out in part of the US? If 100 million Americans were going to die of starvation because we had no power, then Yes. But if some of the power was knocked out and we were managing to mostly feed those in the blacked out part of the country, would the President order a counter strike? Or would we play around trying to catch the XYZ group of terrorists? :dunno:
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2012
  15. There is stuff to worry about, and, stuff to WORRY about.

    This is neither.
     
  16. Warp

    Warp ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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    You really think the people making those decisions would wait to see what the press thought before taking action???
     
  17. quake

    quake Millennium Member

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    Can't say with authority about hypothetical, future situations; but I think this administration considers press response and press support before announcing most any policy decision.
     
  18. Warp

    Warp ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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    Are we talking about a 'policy decision' here?
     
  19. LongGun1

    LongGun1 StraightShooter

    Good luck quickly collecting "fallout" on a HEMP detonation 200+ miles up..

    (in excess of 1 million feet high....jets are good for a small fraction of the altitude needed to sample)

    ..similar to climbing a mountain to dust for fingerprints for someone wearing gloves....IMO


    My guess we would be much more busy just staying alive..

    .. & trying to keep the "have nots" from destroying what remains!
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012