Pulse weapons that bring down civil aircraft can be built using the net

April 2nd, 2009 - 4:00 pm ICT by ANI  

London, April 2 (ANI): Counter terrorism analysts have warned that electromagnetic pulse weapons capable of frying the electronics in civil airliners can be built using information and components available on the net.

According to a report in New Scientist, Yael Shahar, director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel, and her colleagues, have given the warning.

They 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.

The researchers have suggested that 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.

“These will become more of a threat as the electromagnetic weapons technology matures,” said Shahar.

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.

“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,” said Shahar. (ANI)

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