- STOCKHOLM (AFP) - The Swedish military has bought and tested a Russian electronic
bomb using high-power microwave signals to knock out the computers of jet
fighters and nuclear power plants, the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet
- "Russia is among the best in the
world when it comes to manufacturing this type of electronic weapon,"
said Anders Kallenaas of the Swedish National Defence's Research Institute
- The high-power microwave (HPM) bomb is
stored in a briefcase and emits short, high-energy pulses reaching 10 gigawatts
-- equal to 10 nuclear reactors.
- It has a range of a dozen meters, and
larger models stored in vans can reach as far as a few hundred meters,
according to the paper. The target can be destroyed without alerting anyone.
- The tests conducted by the Swedish military
have shown that the silent weapon -- which does not explode -- can have
disastrous effects, especially if it falls into the hands of terrorists.
- The HPM bomb can be bought on the Russian
market for "several hundreds of thousands kronor" (less than
100,000 dollars) and has already been bought by the Australian military
among others, Svenska Dagbladet said.
- The bomb presents a threat to the Swedish
military, in particular to the JAS 39 Gripen jet fighter that it is trying
to export. It can also knock out the electronic systems of nuclear or electric
power plants, banks, trains, or even a simple telephone switchboard.
- The bomb has also been developed into
a pistol which can be used to knock out a single computer or vehicle.
- The Swedish military has reportedly considered
employing trained hackers to combat the problems posed by the new technology,
though this could have legal implications.
- According to defence experts questioned
by Svenska Dagbladet, the HPM bomb has not yet been used. However, during
the Gulf War, the US air force used other techniques to short-circuit Iraqi
electricity cables. Since then, HPM bombs have been installed on cruise