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Israel’s Preparedness Against Iranian Aggression: From Conventional Retaliation to Technological Disruption

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Politics | 0 comments

As tensions simmer between Iran and Israel, the spectre of unconventional warfare looms large. Amidst the rhetoric of military confrontation, a new and potentially devastating form of weapon has emerged from the shadows: the electromagnetic pulse (EMP). This weapon, while not yet deployed in actual combat, represents a game-changing threat capable of disrupting entire nations’ electronic and electrical systems. However, should Iran decide to directly attack Israel, Jerusalem may opt to using it.

An electromagnetic bomb, frequently referred to as the “e-bomb,” has the capability to release an electromagnetic pulse when detonated. This is not the first instance where it has been considered as a possible response to the Iranian threat. Unlike conventional explosives, an EMP does not cause direct physical harm to humans or buildings. Instead, it focuses on disrupting the complex grid of electrical and electronic infrastructure that forms the backbone of contemporary societies. The consequences of such an assault are significant, as demonstrated by simulations and past occurrences.

For Iran, a country grappling with economic turmoil, the consequences of an EMP strike could be catastrophic. With inflation soaring and currency devaluation rampant, the fragility of its infrastructure is laid bare. A widespread shutdown of vital systems could plunge the nation into further chaos, posing a significant challenge to the stability of the Ayatollah regime.

The notion of an EMP attack is not novel. Reports dating back a decade reveal Israel’s contemplation of leveraging this technology against adversaries, particularly Iran. The potential to incapacitate critical infrastructure, including nuclear facilities, underscores the potency of such a tactic. Moreover, Israel’s prowess in electronic warfare, exemplified by systems like the “Scorpius” family, amplifies the potency of its defensive capabilities.

Beyond the Middle East, the global landscape is rife with concerns regarding EMP threats. Historically, the 1962 “Starfish Prime” nuclear test illuminated the dangers of unintended EMP effects, disrupting communication networks and triggering widespread malfunctions. More recently, the Task Force on EMP Threats to US National Security highlighted China’s capacity to unleash debilitating EMP assaults, utilizing stolen technology to target American infrastructure.

Russia, too, has ventured into the realm of electromagnetic weaponry, with reports suggesting the development of a nuclear EMP capable of crippling satellite systems. Such innovations underscore the evolving nature of modern warfare, where the battlefield extends beyond physical borders to encompass the digital domain.

“Electromagnetic weapons are primarily theoretical at this stage, as they have not yet been employed in practice,” asserts Dr. Yigil Henkin, a military historian affiliated with the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, in an interview with Globes. He emphasizes their potential to disrupt information systems and inflict damage on power lines and various electrical devices.

Dr. Henkin further elaborates on the ramifications of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), stating, “The primary consequence of an electromagnetic pulse is the widespread shutdown of numerous systems. However, more significantly, it has the potential to ‘fry’ electronic components.” He highlights the varying degrees of vulnerability among components, noting that hard disks are particularly susceptible. Dr. Henkin speculates on the potential impact on server farms, citing the strategic measures taken by many to safeguard these facilities, such as locating them underground and fortifying their walls.

Image credit: Fighter jets from the IAF’s second F-35 squadron (IDF)

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