The whole-nation orbital scenario seems pretty remote for terrorists, but the cosatal scud that takes out a Metro area is plausible.
It would make those paranoid survival/preparedness folks look pretty clever.
Blackouts don't scare me much. I went over 6 days without electricity in June. I have a 5,000 watt DeVillbiss generator that carried me fine for that week.
Nukes are the brute-force method for generating EMP, but there are other ways using conventional explosives. Somewhere, buried in all of Charlie's links, is a schematic of a conventional-powered EMP warhead:
BTW, SoftWar has a lot of stuff many people don't know about, or have forgotten- it's worth a long look.
Doesn't an EMP only fry the electrical systems of things that are actually running at the time?
In other words if a car was on when hit by an EMP it'd be trashed but if it wasn't running no damage.
The terrorist barge/scud scenerio is highly implausible. Satellite imaging would detect such an operation off shore. The various intel agencies monitor our coasts very closely. We may not be able to stop every crazy with a box cutter, bomb belt, or even a dirty bomb, but missle strikes are another thing.
Also, it's my understanding our coasts are constantly patrolled by defensive aircraft. The moment a short-range missle was launched, they would head to intercept with air to air missles which would be faster, providing they are within the required proximity to the scud. With our technology and defense capabilities, I just don't see that scenerio happening.
I heard he was dead.
If a nuke is exploded above the US much less in the US, the US would retaliate shortly afterwards in a highly disproportionate fashion. So I don't see what China or Russia have to gain from such weapons.
As for al Qaeda, their chances of getting their hands on a nuclear missile, or being able to rig some sort of major nuclear bomb onto a Scud (a so-called "suitcase nuke" wouldn't cut it) are zero.
It would take multiple one-megaton H-bombs, detonated in space, to create EMP events that would cover the whole US. Only the Russians, maybe the Chinese, have that sort of capability, and neither would be looking forward to our response. We WOULD respond to a nuclear attack with nukes.