In today’s world there are so many potential threats to national security and the safety of the human race.
Everything from nuclear war to severe droughts, famine and natural disasters are becoming causes for concern. One of these crises that is not often discussed is the potential for an EMP attack, and how that would affect modern day society.
Let’s talk a little bit more about this, and discuss the logistics of EMP proof vehicles.
What Is An EMP
An EMP or electromagnetic pulse, is a brief or short-lived burst of electromagnetic energy.
This can be compared to a beam of sunlight or bright flash from some sort of light emitting object, but on a different frequency level than an electromagnetic pulse.
The origin of the electromagnetic pulse can either be natural or artificial, and will occur as either an electromagnetic field, a magnetic field, an electric current or an electric field.
Pulses are generally characterized by three main aspects. The mode in which energy is transferred (electric, magnetic, radiated, conducted), the range or spectrum of the frequencies that are present within the EMP, as well as the pulse waveform (amplitude, shape and duration).
EMPs can be produced by phenomena that are natural, man-made or weapons based. Common examples of electromagnetic pulse producing events are things like lightning strikes, electrostatic discharges, nuclear explosions and power line surges.
The effects of an EMP will differ based on the relative intensity of the electromagnetic pulse. Minor EMP events cause low levels of electrical interference, which can affect the functioning of susceptible devices that are nearby.
A minor event would be something like the ignition of gasoline engines, which would cause radio and TV sets in the area to show signs of interference (crackling, static stripes etc..). A major event would be something like a high energy lightning strike, which has the potential to do physical damage to nearby structures.
Other effects of a major EMP event include the disruption of function in nearby electronics, sometimes even to the point of permanent damage. A powerful electromagnetic pulse can also directly affect magnetic materials, and corrupt the data stored in computer hard drives and other technical gear.
It has become incredibly important for manufacturers of mechanical and electronic equipment to build in some sort of protection or EMP aversion hardware/software in order to deter the effects of an electromagnetic pulse event.
How Likely Is An EMP Attack
When we really take into consideration what the logistics of an EMP attack would be, we can go further to discuss the realistic likelihood of this happening.
The key point we would like to address is the fact that the danger of a real EMP attack happening in our world is more of a fantasy than something that could actually happen. One of the problems with realistic fear of an EMP attack is the fact that the level of energy required to actually cause significant damage and make an attack worth the while of the perpetrator, is incredibly hard to generate.
A major electromagnetic pulse event can definitely be produced following a nuclear blast. However, the process and energy required to create and deploy an EMP of that size without the detonation of a nuclear warhead is incredibly unrealistic.
The amount of money, time and effort that would need to be invested to create an electromagnetic pulse of that size is truly far-fetched and would not be worth the effort. Not to mention the fact that there is the potential that it would not work as intended.
The effect of an EMP, or in other words the so-called blast radius, will be significantly less than a nuclear device. Because of this much smaller explosive yield, it will be much harder to determine the “sweet spot” in the Earth’s atmosphere at which the desired effect would take place.
As a result, it would theoretically take a number of test detonations to find the right altitude and location to detonate an EMP, which makes it even more unrealistic.
In the end, the likelihood of an electromagnetic pulse attack actually happening in our world is quite low. If an enemy’s goal was to interfere with the networks and communication of a location, there are other more realistic ways to achieve this other than an EMP attack.
Which Vehicles Are Affected By An EMP Attack?
An electromagnetic pulse will affect vehicles that are designed and built with electronic systems, alongside the mechanical parts that make vehicles run.
Older cars that are built strictly with mechanical machinery and do not have any electronic gear will be completely immune to any sort of EMP attack.
An electromagnetic pulse blast will affect the electronics in a modern car to different degrees. The effects on cars with electronic systems will include things like disruptions in turn signals, headlights, brake lights and the car’s radio signal.
These effects will often vary from car to car because of the fact that the chassis of the vehicle, which is an earthed metal screen surrounding the electronics, will shield them from electrostatic and electromagnetic pulses.
The chassis will vary from vehicle to vehicle, which also means that the relative effectiveness of the EMP protection capabilities will also vary. This means that most vehicles will have some sort of pulse protection, but the quality of this protection will vary.
With this being said, we can conclude that vehicles with electronic systems will theoretically be the ones that are affected by an EMP attack. However, we also know that most cars have counter EMP measures built into their design, and as a result should be relatively immune!
How To Prepare Your Vehicle For An EMP Attack
Although it is commonly thought that an EMP would have drastic effects on modern day vehicles that are outfitted with a variety of electronic systems that help them run, this is actually not the case.
As discussed previously, most cars have their wiring and electronics pretty well shielded against any electromagnetic interference, as well as the chassis of the car acting as a Faraday cage.
A Faraday cage is an enclosure that is conductive and as a result will cause electromagnetic pulses to travel along this conductive outside structure, effectively protecting whatever is inside.
With this being said, there is still the potential for an EMP to cause some sort of electrical interference in modern day cars. One of the best ways to ensure that your car will function in the event of an EMP attack is to drive a diesel fuel vehicle.
Diesel engines do not have an ignition system, which most normal fuel cars do have and often involves some sort of electronic fuel injection system that could be interrupted by some sort of EMP attack.
Is Buying An Old Car An Option?
As we discussed previously, most modern day cars have been designed and built with electromagnetic pulse deterring systems.
However, in order to truly EMP proof your vehicle, in theory buying an old car that is built strictly with mechanical parts would guarantee immunity to interference from an EMP attack.
Old cars will for the most part have little to no electronic systems incorporated into their builds, and as a result will not be affected by any sort of electromagnetic pulse event. Buying an old car is technically a viable option to ensure an EMP attack will not affect your vehicle.
However, the fact that most modern day cars have been proven to hold up against the effects of an EMP makes purchasing an old car for this reason somewhat redundant.
We have discussed the general characteristics of an electromagnetic pulse, and what exactly defines an EMP.
We also covered some of the more specific aspects that characterize different types of EMPs, including the energy transfer mode, the spectrum of frequencies present, as well as the specifics of the wave pulse form (amplitude, shape and duration).
The likelihood of an EMP attack actually happening in real life is in many ways more of a fantasy than a plausible possibility. We discuss this subject and provide some insight into the logistics of executing a successful EMP operation.
Finally, we covered the ins and outs of the effects of EMPs on vehicles both new and old, as well as discussed how to EMP proof your vehicle. We somewhat invalidated the need to protect modern day vehicles from electromagnetic pulses because of the design strategies implemented to protect them from interference. However, it can be concluded that diesel engine models will be 100 percent impervious to EMP attacks, thanks to a lack of electronics incorporated in their build.
Take what you have learned about EMP attacks and the effects that they have (or don’t have) on vehicles, and put it to good use. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared, but always remember to properly educate yourself before investing time and money.