Feeds

Colonel: US Army has working electropulse grenades

Machine rebellion strangled at birth?

High performance access to file storage

Contradicting previous reports, a US Army electronic-warfare colonel has apparently confirmed the existence of working non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) ordnance - apparently so portable that it is even available in hand-grenade size.

The revelation came at a blogger roundtable (press conference) held in order to introduce the US Army's new electronic-warfare specialist career field. The briefing was reported by the war-hacks at Military.com:

"EMP grenade technology is out there, but I've never had my hands on one," said Col Laurie Buckhout, chief of the newly formed Electronic Warfare Division, Army Operations, Readiness and Mobilization...

The target may be a small building or a village, she said, and so a small jammer could be used, or EMP grenades.

The conventional method of generating an EMP powerful enough to disable electronics over a large area is the detonation of a nuclear weapon. However, militaries worldwide have long wished to have such a capability in less-drastic form. This has led to extensive speculation on pulse bombs powered by conventional explosives, or High Powered Microwave (HPM) raygun-style kit*.

Even the highly advanced US forces hadn't been generally thought to have developed a successful pulse-bomb yet, with most reports indicating that such a capability remains a few years off (as has been the case for decades). Furthermore, the pulse ordnance has usually been seen as large and heavy, in the same league as an aircraft bomb or cruise missile warhead - or in the case of an HPM raygun, of a weapons-pod or aircraft payload size.

Now, however, it appears that in fact the US military has already managed to get the coveted pulse-bomb tech down to grenade size. Colonel Buckhout apparently envisages the Army electronic warfare troopers of tomorrow lobbing a pulse grenade through the window of an enemy command post or similar, so knocking out all their comms.

The existence of pulse bombs one can clip to one's belt would also imply that bigger ones have been made. (US military-sponsored efforts to develop EMP-proof radars might lend this some credence, it wasn't for the agency involved.) It would seem that the unstoppable droid assassins, prowling aerial hunter-killers etc of the future have been stymied before they even properly got their boots on got booted up.

Nonetheless, despite the apparently authoritative nature of the source, we're going to file this one under "unconfirmed".

Read the Military.com report here. ®

*US Justice Department labs say they have built a "small working prototype" portable microwave rifle, potentially able to act as a tracking radar unit, a heat/pain raygun, or a millimetre wave through-clothes nudie perv scanner of the sort which has caused controversy in airport use.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Honeybee boffin STINGS OWN WEDDING TACKLE... for SCIENCE
Not the worst place to be stung, says one man
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.