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High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) is a near-instantaneous electromagnetic energy field that is produced in the atmosphere by the power and radiation of a nuclear explosion.

A High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse is damaging to electronic equipment over a very wide area, depending on power of the nuclear device and altitude of the burst.

Analysts contend that the threat of a HEMP attack against the United States is hard to assess, but some observers indicate that it is growing along with worldwide access to newer technologies and the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

In the past, the threat of mutually assured destruction provided a lasting deterrent against the exchange of multiple high-yield nuclear warheads. However, now even a single, low-yield nuclear explosion high above the United States, or over a battlefield, can produce a large-scale HEMP effect that could result in a widespread loss of electronics, but no direct fatalities, and may not necessarily evoke a large nuclear retaliatory strike by the U.S. military.

Experts believe that this, coupled with published articles discussing the vulnerability of U.S. critical infrastructure control systems, and some U.S. military battlefield systems to the effects of HEMP, could create a new incentive for other countries to rapidly develop or acquire a nuclear capability.

The combined effects of HEMP require different technologies and methods for mitigation. Fortunately, there has been significant research and development conducted that have produced many viable solutions to provide effective protection.

Providing protection against HEMP is a process-based approach that combines the application of various technologies with appropriate tactics, techniques, and procedures. Various technology options are available to provide physical protection against the three phases of HEMP; but just as important are the methods and approaches used to apply these technologies.

In general, options for mitigation source three technologies: 

  • Electromagnetic shielding
  • HEMP special filtering
  • Surge protection 

Additionally, proper grounding, and, in some instances, electrical isolation, can offer improved protection against HEMP effects.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) Training Bootcamp, a 3-day course covering  High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) and High Power Microwave (HPM) devices and threat assessments.

Participants will learn how a large scale HEMP effect can be produced by a single nuclear explosion detonated high in the atmosphere using High-Altitude (HEMP) method.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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