An Air Force base in Texas will soon test its systems against a simulated electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, according to reports.
EMPs use a powerful electromagnetic wave to knock out all electronic devices in its wake, including mobile phones, radar technology are more.
According to US news site NextGov, at Joint Base San Antonio in Lackland, Texas will be among the first Air Forces bases to test EMP defences.
The site needs to do preliminary surveys to design future tests.
The work is in adherence to a Trump-era executive order requiring the military to put more resources into defending against EMP attacks.
A request for quote for an EMP-tailored survey of the a complex at Joint Base San Antonio was issued last month, NextGov reports.
That complex includes an underground pipeline that connects two areas of the base, which house multiple buildings.
It’s not clear when the base plans to launch its EMP defence tests, or precisely what those tests will entail.
According to the Air Force request, the tests won’t include the use of actual electromagnetic waves.
Instead, officials will conduct a review of “engineering plans, relevant schematics and other applicable documentation to locate, identify and quantify infrastructure potentially vulnerable to EMP waveforms.”
Any information gathered will be used to inform the next stage of EMP testing, which could involve the controlled use of electromagnetic waves.
An EMP can occur naturally or generated deliberately using nuclear bombs or smaller, portable devices.
Russia, China and North Korea are said to be working on EMP weapons, which can knock out entire power grids for hours or even days at a time.
Research has previously indicated that a major attack could cripple the US economy and its military.
Trump moved to protect the US from the emerging threat of EMP attacks with an executive order issued in 2019.
The federal government must provide warning; protect against, respond to and recover from the effects of electromagnetic pulses through planning, investment and stakeholder engagement, Trump’s directive stated.
“It is the policy of the United States to prepare for the effects of EMPs through targeted approaches that coordinate whole-of-government activities and encourage private sector engagement,” the order said.
Source: The Sun