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Israel - will they use the EMP option?

  • 20-09-2012 10:35am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,248 ✭✭✭


    A lot of debate recently about the rhetoric coming out of Israel as it would seem that conflict of some sort with Iran is inevitable.
    Everyone seems to be agreed that Israel acting alone does not have the capability of fully destroying Iran's nuclear sites. Not without the interventuion of the US.
    However there does seem to be a lto of talk around whether or not they will go down the EMP route. Frightening to think of - but does it have its merits over missile strikes on nuclear installations?


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 794 ✭✭✭bluecode


    Conflict isn't inevitable. People need to understand that Israel doesn't want or need a war with Iran. Clearly they are posturing to ensure that Iran understands the consequences of a nuclear attack on Israel.

    Meanwhile the Iranians are posturing too. It's a high stakes game of poker.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭Jawgap


    It assumes that the electronics in the various sites are not hardened - which if they weren't I bet they are now! Also EMP damage is fairly easy to repair.

    To be effective you have to detonate at high altitude - in the magnetosphere - and the effect would be felt over a huge area, not just at the targeted sites - parts of southern Europe, Russia, Saudi Arabia etc would be affected.

    A high-altitude detonation would only delay Iran's programme while simultaneously pi$$ing off a lot of countries / people. It would cast Israel as the monstrous aggressor and likely drive moderate countries away, while making it politically very difficult even for allies to go on providing support.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 18,969 ✭✭✭✭syklops


    The only EMP Israel will use to defend its self is Emergency Military Power. Surely the electronics in Nuclear enrichment facilities will be hardened against the very stuff they are enriching. That alone might protect most of it from an EMP. If Israel were to do such a thing, and it didnt knock every piece of military power Iran had at its disposal, then Irans next step is to attack Israel with whatever it has left. If anything an EMP might make things worth. Iran counter attacking Israel with the might of its military would target Israeli military targets first. If the EMP knocked out Irans targeting systems, they might just fire willy-nilly, causing more civilian deaths.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,827 ✭✭✭Donny5


    Jawgap wrote: »
    It assumes that the electronics in the various sites are not hardened - which if they weren't I bet they are now! Also EMP damage is fairly easy to repair.

    Citation needed, please. EMP damage is extremely difficult to repair, to the extent that damaged ICs are almost certainly write-offs, along with most transformers and almost all macro-scale electrics. Hardening is also not trivial at all.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,248 ✭✭✭kstand


    I would expect the Iranians have hardened their installations against an EMP. But if the Israelis go and take out a whole swathe of the country with a high altitude detonation, then everything else will be rendered useless - there will be total chaos and it will set them back a very long time.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭Jawgap


    Donny5 wrote: »
    Citation needed, please. EMP damage is extremely difficult to repair, to the extent that damaged ICs are almost certainly write-offs, along with most transformers and almost all macro-scale electrics. Hardening is also not trivial at all.


    "Even though electronic equipment has suffered functional damage from EMP, repairs may be straight-forward, such as, resetting circuit breakers or replacing fuses."

    Fleet Marine Force Manual, 3-3-1 "Nuclear Contamination Avoidance"

    Appendix C - Nuclear Burst Effects on Electronics


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,827 ✭✭✭Donny5


    Jawgap wrote: »
    "Even though electronic equipment has suffered functional damage from EMP, repairs may be straight-forward, such as, resetting circuit breakers or replacing fuses."

    Fleet Marine Force Manual, 3-3-1 "Nuclear Contamination Avoidance"

    Appendix C - Nuclear Burst Effects on Electronics

    That only applies to hardened equipment isolated from outside grids or antennae. The vast majority of electronics and more or less all electrics world wide are susceptible to EMP, and the general rule is that the more sophisticated the tech, the greater the vulnerability.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,297 ✭✭✭✭Jawgap


    Donny5 wrote: »
    That only applies to hardened equipment isolated from outside grids or antennae. The vast majority of electronics and more or less all electrics world wide are susceptible to EMP, and the general rule is that the more sophisticated the tech, the greater the vulnerability.

    Not everyone agrees with that proposition. Indeed, if I was posting in the Conspiracies Forum I might suggest that that position is something propagated by the defence and power lobbies to draw in more funding / money.

    Effect of the FAST NUCLEAR ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE on the Electric Power Grid Nationwide: A Different View

    His conclusions relate to the US telecomms and power grids, but may be applicable to other countries.


  • Registered Users Posts: 127 ✭✭The Master of Disaster


    I always thought that the theory behind EMP was to use it against enemy formations in the field to sever equipment and communications as a prelude or contingent with a more conventional attack. I suppose as a logical extension of that it could even be used to disrupt a civilian populace as well but could it work against specifically hardened targets that are buried under ground as are Natanz and Fordow? Nothing on that scale has been tried before and there's the possibility that even if it were to work the damage could be easily repaired. For example, the Stuxnet virus actually did virtually no lasting damage to the centrifuges when it was employed. I just don't see an EMP being a viable option.


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,344 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight


    Donny5 wrote: »
    Citation needed, please. EMP damage is extremely difficult to repair, to the extent that damaged ICs are almost certainly write-offs, along with most transformers and almost all macro-scale electrics. Hardening is also not trivial at all.
    Faraday cage.

    It's the reason airplanes can get hit by lightening and not explode


    Antennas generally have protection anyway. Gas discharge / varistors / zeners


    Interesting to note that the Mig 25 used valves because the Soviets were behind on high power semiconductors. The US laughed at how backward it was, till someone realised it would be essentially immune to EMP.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,827 ✭✭✭Donny5


    Faraday cage.

    It's the reason airplanes can get hit by lightening and not explode


    Antennas generally have protection anyway. Gas discharge / varistors / zeners


    Interesting to note that the Mig 25 used valves because the Soviets were behind on high power semiconductors. The US laughed at how backward it was, till someone realised it would be essentially immune to EMP.

    Yeah, I'm well aware of Faraday cages, but anything with an antenna or connection to the outside world, and you're vulnerable again.


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,344 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight


    Donny5 wrote: »
    Yeah, I'm well aware of Faraday cages, but anything with an antenna or connection to the outside world, and you're vulnerable again.
    that was the whole point of gas arresters and stuff
    even a simple neon bulb will take quite a hit and the circuitry beyond only has to handle ~ 100V instead of thousands

    the problem is when you have miles of wire like above ground telephone lines and power cables - but the risks are similar to the whole space weather thing

    underground lines and fibre optic should be OK


    There is also the slight problem of an own goal. Any EMP device big enough to cover a wide area will wipe out Israeli civilian comms ,power and transport.

    Russians have non-nuclear EMP bombs, but they are very localised in action


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