[ExI] North Korea's super EMP Bomb
hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Fri Jun 17 18:44:42 UTC 2011
On Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 9:53 AM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
>>... On Behalf Of Keith Henson
> Subject: Re: [ExI] North Korea's super EMP Bomb
> 2011/6/17 john clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net>
>>> The man is a scientific illiterate
>>Yep. Many such goof ups in the physics. Keith
> What I thought of when I saw the paper is it makes a bunch of stuff sound
> far simpler than it really is. Twenty years ago a friend was in a group
> that was studying EMP. They had a collection of top shelf PhD physicists,
> all doing studies and generating papers on the vulnerability of electronics
> to EMP and the capability of the bad guys to make a pulse. There was no
> consensus, nor any simple anything that I ever saw come out of those
The article is largely nonsense to scare. But EMP is a real problem,
and the study dates back a lot more than 20 years.
By 1968 someone (DARPA?) had built a huge Marx generator that
generated nanosecond pulses over in Fremont. Among other things, the
horn it was hooked to had SF6 or maybe Freon to avoid air breakdown.
It was pointed out over the bay, unfortunately right into the air
traffic. About 9:30 on Friday the construction gang pinged it at full
"As Captain Asoh was approaching SFO at approximately 9:30 am, the
weather at SFO was reported to be "ceiling indefinite, 300 ft (90 m)
overcast, sky partially obscured, 3/4 mile (1.2 km) visibility with
fog". The airport's minimums at the time were, 200 ft (60 m) ceiling
and 1/2 mile (0.8 km) visibility. Other aircraft had been landing
ahead of JAL #2 without incident at the rate of about 8 to 10 an hour.
"According to the NTSB, Capt. Asoh said that he was making a coupled
approach, but because of problems with his pressure altimeter, he was
relying on the more accurate radio altimeter for verification of
altitude. Capt. Asoh set the radio altimeter to give a light at a
decision height of 211 ft (63.3 m). When the light blinked on, Capt.
Asoh looked up expecting to be at about 200 ft (60 m) and heading for
"Instead, he was nearly in the waters of San Francisco Bay. He applied
power, which raised the nose somewhat, and then the right main landing
gear hit the water, followed by the left, and then the aircraft slewed
to the left. Capt. Asoh cut power the aircraft settled into the
shallow waters of San Francisco Bay.
Chances are the pulse damaged the radio altimeter.
Nobody was directly killed. (Reports say Captain Asoh committed suicide later.)
I posted this to be below URL:
"Many years after this event I talked to an engineer who had been
working on a huge electromagnetic pulse generator in Fremont the
morning the plane went in the water. It was tested at full power about
9:30 am that Friday with the horn pointing out over the Bay and
unfortunately right into the SF approach path.
"It is not a sure thing, but a pulse could have damaged the radio
(radar) altimeter. In any case, someone made a connection and the next
week the pulse generator was taken apart and moved to White Sands
"This was cold war days and as far as I know the government never
commented on the possible connection between the EMP generator and the
JAL plane going into the water.
"It would be a hard story to research, but the information to confirm
or discount the story I was told is probably somewhere.
There was more to the story I was told, including a parking lot full
of dead cars after a demonstration about how army trucks were now
immune to EMP.
More information about the extropy-chat