Experts have yet to reach a consensus on the potential impacts of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), but they generally agree that the most serious consequences of a 10 KT IND detonation at ground level would not exceed a range of 2 to 5 miles (3.2 to 8 km). An EMP is an electromagnetic wave similar to radio waves, but it has two distinct characteristics. Firstly, it produces much higher electric field strengths than a radio signal, which can generate up to thousands of volts. Secondly, it is a single pulse of energy that dissipates in a fraction of a second, similar to the electrical signal of lightning but with a voltage increase that is usually one hundred times faster.
The EMP Commission conducted a global survey of foreign scientific and military literature to assess the knowledge and intentions of foreign states regarding EMP attacks. When nuclear gamma radiation is absorbed by air or soil, side reactions occur and create an electromagnetic wave that propagates at the speed of light. This wave is known as a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse device (HEMP). The energy of the EMP typically consists of several direct current frequencies up to an upper limit determined by the source.
The Bluegill Triple Prime and Kingfish high-altitude nuclear tests in 1962 provided data that allowed physicists to identify the physical mechanisms behind EMPs. These pulses can be man-made or natural, and they can also be caused by weapons. During the first nuclear test in the United States, Enrico Fermi was prepared for the EMP. Even low-energy pulses can access power supplies and illuminate all parts of a system.
An EMP is an intense and instantaneous energy field that can remotely overload or interrupt many high-tech electrical systems and microcircuits, which are particularly sensitive to voltage surges. It comes in three phases: E1, E2, and E3. Military tests on the survivability of EMPs may have been flawed, leading to inaccurate conclusions about its effects on commercial electronics. The fact that nuclear explosions produce an EMP was known from early nuclear weapons testing. This compression of the magnetic field creates an EMP that is emitted from the front and directed by a focusing antenna.
As an expert in the field of electromagnetic pulses (EMPs), I can confidently say that these pulses have the potential to cause serious damage to electronic systems within a range of 2 to 5 miles (3.2 to 8 km). It is important for people to understand how these pulses work and what their effects could be so that they can take steps to protect their electronic systems from potential damage.