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[Opinion] E-Bomb

Posted March. 22, 2003 22:41,   


War is a show window which exhibits all the latest technology. If World War I was a showground displaying battleships and tanks, World War II was a showground of bombers and aircraft carriers. After the 1960s, strategic weapons such as nuclear weapons and missiles became a criterion to measure national power. Then in the 1991 Gulf War, smart bombs, and precision-guided munitions, gave a shock to the existing idea of war. A new type of bomb with eyes (sensors) could now completely and precisely destroy a target using only one bomb rather than brute tonnage.

If you look at this war with Iraq as a showcase of the latest weapons, there are many interesting features. Enhanced smart bombs using global position systems, unmanned aerial vehicles with missiles, CBU94 (Blackout Bomb), a special-purpose bomb for attacking electrical power infrastructure. The most remarkable weapon among those is the e-bomb. An e-bomb can unleash as much electrical power—2 billion watts—as the Hoover Dam generates in 24 hours and incapacitate enemy’s electronic system within a 300m radius.

The e-bomb is officially called the HPM, High Power Microwave. Its enormous surge of microwave impulses absorbed into telephone lines and antennas flows to the enemy’s headquarters and completely destroys the electricity and communication network systems and microchips in various electronic components. E-bombs which don’t produce any human causalities prelude the “Soft Kill” era from the old brutal “Hard Kill” era. However, we are not yet sure of its performance although they were known to be experimentally launched by U.S. Marines in the 1991 Gulf War.

▷ Author of “Future of War”, George Friedman and other war historians claim that ‘next generation weapons’ such as smart bombs indicate the end of the era of all-out war. Newsweek viewed a few days ago that war with Iraq would be the first war in information era. Both of them predict that new technology will change the face of war. However, how future wars change, it seems obvious that the leading protagonist for war will be the U.S. for the time being. As in the past few decades, ‘new toys’ for soldiers will have the ‘Made in USA’ stamp on them.

Song Moon-hong, Editorial Writer, songmh@donga.com