South Korea’s New “Blackout Bomb” Can Paralyze The North’s Power Grid

by | Oct 9, 2017 | Headline News | 30 comments

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    This reported was originally published by Tyler Durden at

    US and South Korean officials are nervously watching to see if North Korea follows through with its threats to carry out another nuclear test – or to fire a rumored long-range missile capable of accurately striking the west coast of the US into the Pacific – in celebration of the Oct. 10 anniversary of the Communist Party&rsrsquo;s creation. Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports that South Korea has developed a new weapon to hobble the North’s infrastructure should an armed conflict erupt on the peninsula. Given that it’s almost daybreak in North Korea, such a test could happen as soon as Monday night, Eastern Time.

    The weapon is a graphite bomb – otherwise known as a “blackout bomb” – which South Korean officials say will be capable of shutting down North Korea’s entire power grid. Blackout bombs were first used by the US in Iraq in the 1990 Gulf War and work by releasing a cloud of extremely fine, chemically treated carbon filaments over electrical components. The filaments are so fine that they act like a cloud, but cause short circuits in electrical equipment.

    As points out, North Korea tends to celebrate the Oct. 10 holiday with military parades and aggressive rhetoric. But this year’s festivities could include new provocative weapons tests.

    “The Kim regime usually uses these sorts of occasions to demonstrate some show of strength — in this current climate a missile test is a likely result,” says Dr Genevieve Hohnen, lecturer in politics and international relations at Edith Cowan University.

    The Telegraph reports that the South developed the bomb to minimize civilian casualties in the North should a conflict erupt. In a statement to Yonhap, a military official said the South Korean army could assemble a blackout bomb at any time. The weapon was reportedly developed by South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development.

    “All technologies for the development of a graphite bomb led by the ADD have been secured. It is in the stage where we can build the bombs anytime,” a military official told Yonhap.

    The bomb is often referred to as a “soft bomb” because it only affects targeted electrical power systems.

    As the Telegraph explains, the blackout bomb was developed as part of South Korea’s “three pillars” plan for retaliating against the North if it believes a nuclear strike is imminent. Escalating tensions with the North have inspired the South to move its target date for completion forward by three years. The plan was initially slated to be complete by the mid-2020s.

    The first two parts of the plan involve detecting – and then intercepting – North Korea missiles. The second part – aptly named the “massive punishment and retaliation plan” involves launching attacks against the country’s leadership, including a plan to assassinate Kim Jong Un.

     South Korea is bringing forward the deployment of its “three pillars” of national defence by as much as three years as a result of the growing threat posed by Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development programmes.

    The three-pronged strategy was originally scheduled to be in place by the mid-2020s, but North Korea’s increasingly aggressive and unpredictable behaviour has forced Seoul to revise that timeline.

    The Kill Chain programme is designed to detect, identify and intercept incoming missiles in the shortest possible time and operates in conjunction with the Korea Air and Missile Defence system for lower-tier defence against inbound missiles.

    The final component of the strategy is the Korea Massive Punishment & Retaliation plan, under which Seoul will launch attacks against leadership targets in North Korea if it detects signs that the regime is planning to use nuclear weapons.

    South Korea believes North Korea’s energy grid is outdated and vulnerable, and thus would be incredibly susceptible to a “blackout bomb” attack. Blackout bombs were first used by the US against Iraq in the Gulf War of 1990, when they knocked out about 85 percent of Iraq’s electricity. They were also used by NATO against Serbia in 1999, when it damaged around 70 percent of the country’s electrical supply.

    * * *

    President Donald Trump fired off his latest threatening tweet about North Korea earlier today, reiterating his view that 25 years of US appeasement and billions of dollars in humanitarian aid for the North clearly have not worked. He ended the tweet with yet another vague hint that the US could soon resort to a military strike.

    Though the US has rejected North Korea’s claims that Trump’s rhetoric has amounted to a declaration of war, how much longer can the US credibly claim that “all options are on the table” if North Korea continues to provoke the international community with its missile and nuclear tests?


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      1. Blackout Bombs Matter

        • Judging by nighttime satellite photos, SK already used it. DPRK has no electrical power grid to speak of.

          • DBC, NK’s power grid dates back to the Soviet era and has most likely never been upgraded. They actually have less of a grid than South Korea has. It’ll probably be taken out easily.

        • Blackout Bomb. Oughta work in Chicago. Try it out there first. Wait a minute….oh. Okay I got it, it’s for taking out the grid. My Bad.

          • Re: “Blackout bombs were first used by the US against Iraq in the Gulf War of 1990, when they knocked out about 85 percent of Iraq’s electricity. They were also used by NATO against Serbia in 1999, when it damaged around 70 percent of the country’s electrical supply.”

            I had never heard of this new weapon, prior to this article.
            Hmmm. It can damage/shut down the power grid in a country. I wonder what other countries also have this weapon?

            • I recall quite a few reports about them during the Gulf War including descriptions of how they worked.

              Don’t recall any reporting about them in Serbia.

            • The article is in error when it discusses how a explosive based EMP bomb works.

              First off they use carbon fiber because it can carry a 1000 times the current that a similar mass of copper wire can, it has an absurdly higher melting point and is as strong as steel.

              This kind of bomb works like any other kind of electrical generator, you move a magnetic field across conductive wire (including carbon fiber) and it generates electricity. In this case an explosive is used to impact a pizoelectric material to charge a transformer primary winding, as the explosion progresses it deforms and compresses the energized transformer primary coil intensifying the induced current that induces a massive current in a secondary coil. This can generate an electrical spike that approximates a lighting strike, powered by basic explosives. It efficiently converts the power of a 500 pound bomb into an electric pulse. Take that timed electrical spike and feed it to a tuned antenna and you get a massive radio signal burst that transmits your pulse. You can improve it by making the antenna directional to focus the energy toward the enemy.

              The result is a destructive radio frequency pulse that induces a damaging spike into all nearby electrical devices. What’s left of the bomb that blew up a thousand feet in the air, is a Big Bang and little shards of carbon fiber raining down on a bewildered enemy. And no the cloud of carbon fiber fuzz didn’t cause the blackout.

              What I describe above is the 1990 technology used in Iraq in 1990. No doubt what they have now is vastly improved over this design. This kind of weapon is great because it only affects a small area, it can blackout a small town, or a large neighborhood in a big city.

      2. So much for secret weapons …

        • It’s kind of hard to create a bomb to destroy a stone-age infrastructure. When one considers the simple fact that NK is still running on a basically 40’s/50’s power system and public usage of that same, no modern device crippling bomb will actually do one hell of lot.

      3. Well…..ok…so you take out their power grid.

        What about all the artillery they have pointed at Seoul? Do those weapons require an electrical grid?

        I think most of the country is without electrical power anyway. So yeah…maybe the south can take out their grid….but is that really going to defang them?

        • It would knock out their communications thus making it very difficult for the commanders to communicate with their forces.

      4. Tell the SK panfaces to unleash it. They won’t bust a grape.

      5. If we shot missiles right over NK they would most likely claim we were attacking them and fire on the south. So the next time they launch one over Japan we need to fire at those missiles and launchers and take them out, at the least. No more appeasement, no more money for compliance, only to be broken. No more aid for nuke inspections, then blocked as soon as aid is given. The next violation of United Nations resolutions, blow their lying, cheating asses away.

      6. Don’t think 90% of the north would notice if the lights went out.

      7. What power grid they live in darkness.

      8. So South Korea came up with their own “magic bullet” to deal with Porky? It’s a safe bet they had help…..from US. So let them deal with Porky on their own.

        • I wonder if the tip is shaped like a watermelon?

      9. How would you know if it worked? It would be just as dark before the bomb as after.

      10. What is there to blackout in North Korea?

      11. We’ll have to drop leaflets on most of the country to let them know they’ve been EMP’d.

        • It’s not an emp didn’t you read the article?

      12. Whatever, let’s just get the damn show started already…bombs away folks!

      13. Have you seen N. Korea at night. There’s not that much to blackout.

      14. Apparently, some dictator, on some side, with bad hair, has eaten all the people’s food and was born on a magical mountain, under double rainbows. Which one is which, depends on who you ask.

        But, escalations, so far, have been tit-for-tat.

        You are expressing concerns about an EMP, while publicly plotting to shut the other guy down, in more-or-less the same way. What is the equal but opposite reaction, assuming that such things are always so evenhanded.

      15. So when they take out the grid that is going to affect two North Korean people at most?

      16. The loss of electrical power in a nation without its wide spread use and a significant industrial base has minimal tangible impact. Its psychological influence upon the population that believes in the superiority of NK cannot be discounted in conjunction with other efforts to sway public opinion against the regime.

        • Kevin,
          Kind of cool that the only people in N. Korea who would be inconvenienced by an EMP bomb are the ruling elite. The average peasant would be unaffected and unaware. Kim would be pooping in his pants, if his nightlight went out.

      17. More bogus warmongering BS. An all out assault on the American peoples senses that somehow the threat is of such monumental proportions to the American homeland that the very idea of real fake freedom is under attack. Misguided, misdirected pride over this nations military killing around the world. Always an enemy never peace. A people run roughshod over as enemies are never ending, the economy success ever dwindling for common people moved well into insignificance as having a voice of any reason. If this is not treason what is? Total dominance by criminals. Occupation of Afghanistan murdering the native Pashtun people for 16 years in the plan to encircle China and Russia. The UN bought and controlled, all none of our business. Out of sight, out of concern and out of mind. American peoples opinions effectively neutered of any consequence going forward.

      18. OMG! You mean North Korea has a super-duper-secret weapon that no one else on this planet has? O-M-G!

        We’re all gonna die!

        Run to your preps everybody! Now!

        And… and… and… we must attack North Korea now in a super-duper-secret-stealth attack to prevent North Korea from implementing their super-duper-secret weapon, that no one else has, upon us at ANY MINUTE!

        This is why we stand for the National Anthem! Stand up and sing it every one!

      19. Electricity outage may shut down missle launches. One needs that to launch,right?

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