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Aircraft could be brought down by DIY 'E-bombs'

Amish RakeFight

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http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227026.200-aircraft-could-be-brought-down-by-diy-ebombs.html


ELECTROMAGNETIC pulse weapons capable of frying the electronics in civil airliners can be built using information and components available on the net, warn counterterrorism analysts.

All it would take to bring a plane down would be a single but highly energetic microwave radio pulse blasted from a device inside a plane, or on the ground and trained at an aircraft coming in to land.

Yael Shahar, director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel, and her colleagues have analysed electromagnetic weapons in development or used by military forces worldwide, and have discovered that there is low-cost equipment available online that can act in similar ways. "These will become more of a threat as the electromagnetic weapons technology matures," she says.

For instance, the US and Russian military have developed electromagnetic pulse (EMP) warheads that create a radio-frequency shockwave. The radio pulse creates an electric field of many hundreds of thousands of volts per metre, which induces currents that burn out nearby electrical systems, such as microchips and car electronics.

Speculation persists that such "e-bombs" have been used in the Persian Gulf, and in Kosovo and Afghanistan - but this remains unconfirmed. But much of what the military is doing can be duplicated by others, Shahar says. "Once it is known that aircraft are vulnerable to particular types of disruption, it isn't too much of a leap to build a device that can produce that sort of disruption. And much of this could be built from off-the-shelf components or dual-use technologies."

For example, government labs use high-energy EMP devices to test what would happen to critical electronic systems if a nuclear weapon detonated, generating a vast electromagnetic pulse, says Robert Iannini, founder of Information Unlimited in Amherst, New Hampshire, which sells EMP test systems.

EMPs can be created in a number of ways. A machine called a Marx generator can quickly dump an extremely high charge stored in a bank of capacitors into an antenna, which then releases a highly energetic radio pulse. Devices like this are often used to test power lines for their resistance to lightning strikes. An alternative, known as a flux compression device, uses a small explosive to push an armature through a current-carrying coil that is generating a magnetic field. This compresses the magnetic field, again producing a devastating EMP.

Iannini says his company only sells such devices to legitimate buyers. "The only people that buy these things are qualified researchers at labs like Sandia. They never find their way into the labs of pseudo or amateur scientists," he says. "If we get any unknown overseas purchaser we immediately alert the office of export enforcement at the US Department of Commerce."

But Shahar told delegates at the annual Directed Energy Weapons conference in London last month that security at some labs can be lax, while basic EMP generators can be built from descriptions available online, using components found in devices such as digital cameras. "These are technologically unchallenging to build and most of the information necessary is available," she says.

The increasing use of carbon-fibre reinforced composite in aircraft fuselages is also making them more vulnerable, she says, because composites provide poor shielding against electromagnetic radiation compared with metal. "What is needed is extensive shielding of electronic components and the vast amount of cables running down the length of the aircraft," she says.

Jerome Bruel, an electrical systems expert at the European Aviation Safety Agency in Cologne, Germany, agrees that newer all-composite planes like the Airbus A350 will probably need some means of protecting their cabling from all radio energy sources, including TV transmitters. "They may need a metal mesh surrounding them to absorb interference," he says.

Douglas Beason, a director at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, says it may be straightforward to build a do-it-yourself EMP weapon, but more difficult to make one that can be stowed in an aircraft. "A lot of work would need to go into dramatically decreasing the weight, shrinking the power supply and antenna," he says.

Nevertheless, governments are taking the threat seriously. A spokesperson at the UK Department of Transport said the government is well aware of this security issue and has close links with agencies "able to provide a balanced picture in regards to EMP weapons, and their potential to compromise civilian aircraft".
 

waka

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crj567

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Yes- this is a real threat...

If you want so see society really collapse and turn into complete anarchy, just let the terrorists pop one of these suckers off.

-Great thing that we now have an administration that takes terrorism so seriously they won't even use the word. I believe the Obama admin. calls terrorist acts "man-caused disasters" because it lets everyone continue to feel better about our rhetoric. Don't let anyone get scared by reality...

-These e-bombs are a great reason to plan on the very worst-they are cheap and relatively easy to obtain and use. One of these things could knock out a hell of a lot more than aircraft.... Power grids, all communications networks, water/sewage handling stations, almost all vehicles, gas pipelines, essentially destroying alomst anything with any kind of electrical system. You better believe this is a real threat!

Just check this out-

http://superconductors.org/emp-bomb.htm
 

sat74

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enough
FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR.....

RUN FOR THE HILLS.....

Seriously, I don't know how some of you guys wake up in the morning!
 

Amish RakeFight

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FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR.....

RUN FOR THE HILLS.....

Seriously, I don't know how some of you guys wake up in the morning!


I live life like Dale Gribble, A.K.A. Rusty Shackleford! ;)

Dale Gribble said:
I tell you what it is. It's your quote un-quote pollution control. I heard on talk radio you don't even need 'em. It's just the latest nazi government plot. Open your eyes, man, they're trying to control Global Warming. Get it Global. That's U.N. Commissars code for telling us what the temperature is gonna be in our outdoors. Let it warm up I say. See what Butchros Butchros Ghali Ghali thinks of that. We'll grow oranges in Alaska.
 

BlueRidger

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All of the lighting protection devices on A/C provide a basic level of protection against these types of devices. In addition the development of modern avionics has a level of EMP hardening built in. I would worry about the FADEC computers but the plane will glide.
The fly by wire is probably the worst case but would it be completely disabled or just as messed up as the french control laws on the airbus?
 

crj567

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All of the lighting protection devices on A/C provide a basic level of protection against these types of devices. In addition the development of modern avionics has a level of EMP hardening built in. I would worry about the FADEC computers but the plane will glide.
The fly by wire is probably the worst case but would it be completely disabled or just as messed up as the french control laws on the airbus?

I don't think you understand very much about computer chips... This is not about lightning strikes, this is a huge pulse of electromagnetism which sails right though everything... This EMP would effectively fry any and every computer chip within range.

It takes very little juice to fry all the chips on your plane. I doubt there is a practical way to shield against these pulses if even military aircraft would be affected. (And they would be.)

The problem system-wise would be that the flight control computers would be disabled. Many modern aircraft don't use cables tied directly to anything anymore. With those computers gone, what good would gliding anymore do? your controls would not work.

-Probably would be better to die quickly in such a scenario anyway-you really don't want to be around for the aftermath of this crap. I understand that about 5 high-altitude airbursts would effectively cover the whole country.....
 

Cobraair75drvr

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Crj,

You truly are amazing. Not only do you know more than the mgmt team at Delta as far as what routes are profitable or not. But now you are an expert on electromagnetic warfare. Either you are brilliant and your talents are being wasted on flight info and being a rj capt. or you watch too much faux news and episodes of 24.



I don't think you understand very much about computer chips... This is not about lightning strikes, this is a huge pulse of electromagnetism which sails right though everything... This EMP would effectively fry any and every computer chip within range.

It takes very little juice to fry all the chips on your plane. I doubt there is a practical way to shield against these pulses if even military aircraft would be affected. (And they would be.)

The problem system-wise would be that the flight control computers would be disabled. Many modern aircraft don't use cables tied directly to anything anymore. With those computers gone, what good would gliding anymore do? your controls would not work.

-Probably would be better to die quickly in such a scenario anyway-you really don't want to be around for the aftermath of this crap. I understand that about 5 high-altitude airbursts would effectively cover the whole country.....
 

labatt

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I think CRJ nailed it. Good post. Read "One Second After" for a good analysis.
 

crj567

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I think CRJ nailed it. Good post. Read "One Second After" for a good analysis.

I haven't read that book, but I plan to-written by a former defense analyst.
-Scary times-
-No matter what you call these terrorist freakshows-they are still scary enough to try something like this.
 
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