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Novice EMP question

This is a discussion on Novice EMP question within the Missiles & WMDs forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; I cannot find an answer to this question so I hope somebody in this forum can clarify. - Is it ...


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Old August 1st, 2015   #1
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Question Novice EMP question

I cannot find an answer to this question so I hope somebody in this forum can clarify.

- Is it possible to fire EMP missiles air-to-air?
- What is the blast radius of the EMP blast? I assume this is bigger than an blast with fragments?

If/when F-35 enters service what prevents anybody facing F-35 to focus on EMP weapons that will immediately shut down F-35?

Another question:
Given the limit of two air-to-air missiles and assuming F-35 is stealthy, would the opposing force not jut focus on high numbers of low tech cheaper fighters. That way any F-35 pilot engaging the enemy is sure to eliminate him self?

Hope somebody can clarify this, thank you.
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Old August 1st, 2015   #2
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Approved and moved thread into more relevant category.
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Old August 1st, 2015   #3
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Originally Posted by DKTaspayer View Post
I cannot find an answer to this question so I hope somebody in this forum can clarify.

- Is it possible to fire EMP missiles air-to-air?
- What is the blast radius of the EMP blast? I assume this is bigger than an blast with fragments?
I have a time limit for right now, so I will attempt to address the first question partially. There are no such thing as EMP missiles. EMP or Electromagnetic Pulse is a phenomenon which can be created by things. The most well-known, weaponized thing capable of generating an EMP is a nuclear warhead, specifically when it is detonated. All a missile would be is the actual delivery vehicle for the EMP generator. There have, in the past, been air-to-air missiles armed with nuclear warheads. The potential issues and dangers with going back down that path should hopefully be clear and obvious.

I have seen some reports that suggested certain large FAE (Fuel Air Explosive) bombs, are/were capable of generating very small EMP pulses. It is also possible that some of the larger conventional bombs like MOAB might be able to generate a small EMP.

I am not aware of anything which could deliver and generate an EMP which would be useful for engaging aircraft, apart from an AAM with a nuclear warhead.

There has been work on MASERs, basically ultra-focused lasers in the microwave-band, some of which might have been deliverable via TacTom, but again, not suitable for engaging aerial targets.
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Old August 9th, 2015   #4
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Originally Posted by DKTaspayer View Post
I cannot find an answer to this question so I hope somebody in this forum can clarify.

- Is it possible to fire EMP missiles air-to-air?
- What is the blast radius of the EMP blast? I assume this is bigger than an blast with fragments?

If/when F-35 enters service what prevents anybody facing F-35 to focus on EMP weapons that will immediately shut down F-35?

Another question:
Given the limit of two air-to-air missiles and assuming F-35 is stealthy, would the opposing force not jut focus on high numbers of low tech cheaper fighters. That way any F-35 pilot engaging the enemy is sure to eliminate him self?

Hope somebody can clarify this, thank you.

That assumes the enemy aircraft have been able to take off and engage and haven't been destroyed on the ground before the enemy knew they were under attack. Don't forget that a large fleet of simple and cheap aircraft would need coordination from the ground to work as a group, while the F35 can use it's jam resistant data links to pass information securely.

On EMP weapons, well, one capability that the F35 has with it's very capable radar is to do what's called a "soft kill" an enemy aircraft radar by using it's radar in a particular mode. Given the F35 has a nuclear role, it's probably worth assuming that the aircraft can survive EMP damage and continue on it's mission (and modern fibre optic control systems are certainly very resistant to this form of attack as it's impossible to generate a standing wave in a non-conducting cable)

Yes, if you managed to put a number of simple fighters armed with cannon and short range missiles into the same space as a single F35, then in that very artificial situation, you might see some useful results. I suspect that in real life, the central command structure for the larger force would be attacked by a number of things and it'd have become impossible to send orders out to the forces ranged against F35 and the rest of the supporting force.
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Old August 13th, 2015   #5
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Here's info on resources the US military have put in place to address EMP and other related Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3).

Welcome to the Naval Air Warfare Center - Aircraft Division | www.navair.navy.mil/nawcad


The Department is the center of excellence in aircraft Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3) Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation. The E3 facility specializes in a variety of capabilities, ranging from box level to complete system level testing. All E3 testing is supported at one convenient site, maximizing the efficiency and reducing the time and cost of E3 test programs.
The E3 test facilities at Patuxent River provide test and evaluation of aircraft, weapons systems, and components. The primary function of the E3 facility is to provide MIL-STD-461/464 evaluation capabilities to the Navy and DoD.

Typical sses - Flight clearance requirements, safety-of-flight-test, systems and subsystems compatibility with electromagnetic environment, E3 testing at one convenient site, battlefield operability.

T & E Capabilities include:

MIL-STD 461/464 Testing
Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) detection
Mobile Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)
Electromagnetic Vulnerability (EMV)
TEMPEST
COMSEC
Precipitation Static (P-STATIC)
Electorstatic Discharge (ESD)
Lightning
Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)
HERO
Directed Energy weapons test
High-fidelity stimulation while performing E3 tests
Safety-of-Flight testing
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Old January 1st, 2017   #6
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