By Jung Sung-ki
The South Korean military will have an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) bomb in five years that is capable of crippling an enemy's command-and-control, communications and defense radar systems.
The state-funded Agency for Defense Development (ADD) plans to complete the development of the bomb by 2014, agency officials said Tuesday.
EMP offers a significant capability against electronic equipment susceptible to damage by transient power surges. An EMP attack is generated by a very short, intense energy pulse or high-altitude nuclear blast.
``We've already developed the technology to create EMPs capable of neutralizing targets within a 100-meter-radius,'' an ADD official said, asking not to be named. ``The development of an EMP bomb with a range of 1 kilometer will be finished by that time.''
The agency is also developing a high-power microwave (HPM) weapon, known as the ``E-bomb,'' said the official.
An E-bomb is designed to zap electronics, scramble computer programs and fry communication links. It is known to unleash in a flash as much electrical power ― 2 billion watts or more ― as the Hoover Dam generates in 24 hours.
In a related move, the Ministry of National Defense unveiled a plan last month to establish systems to defend the country's key facilities from potential EMP attacks by North Korea.
The plan is part of the up-to-date revised Defense Reform 2020.
In a news conference June 26, Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee declined to comment on whether or not Pyongyang has secured enough technology to conduct an EMP attack against South Korea.
``The thing is how we are prepared to deal with a worst-case scenario. I don't want to comment on whether the North has a relevant EMP technology or will have the technology in the future,'' Lee said. ``Regarding North Korea's nuclear threat, we will keep developing our defense readiness.''
The U.S. military has been on alert for EMP attacks by its potential adversaries or terrorist groups.
Reports said China is capable of launching an EMP strike with a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile, and North Korea and other terrorist groups could have the capability by 2015.