MOSCOW, July 5. /TASS/. The range of Russia’s prospective EMP (electromagnetic pulse) cannons, which use a powerful beam of electromagnetic energy to destroy enemy targets, has been increased to 10 km, two defense industry sources told TASS on Sunday.
"The trials of EMP weapons have been under way since 2015. The latest firing of EMP cannons took place this spring. At present, the average range of EMP cannons against aerial targets is 7-8 km, with the maximum of 10 km," one of the sources said, adding that the range of such weapons was previously estimated at 1-2 km.
The other source told TASS that "airborne targets can be destroyed at the distance of 10 km, because their on-board equipment burns down." According to the source, an electromagnetic pulse lasts a fraction of a second and reaches the target almost immediately, travelling with the speed of light.
Both sources said that during trials, EMP cannons were used to destroy various equipment on the ground and were also efficient against unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). They also said that the main problem of such weaponry is that it needs lots of energy to strike, and, therefore, creating a mobile EMP system is hardly possible in the near future.
The sources said that EMP weaponry should be distinguished from radioelectronic warfare systems. While radioelectronic warfare systems can jam electronics at a distance of several hundred kilometers, they are way less powerful and do not knock out the equipment. EMP cannons, on the contrary, physically destroy electronics beyond repair.
At the time of the publication, TASS has been unable to officially confirm the information, provided by the sources.
EMP cannons generate an ultrahigh-frequency electromagnetic beam, heating up the target to critical temperatures within a fraction of a second.
Such weapons are expected to be installed at the unmanned version of Russia’s prospective sixth-generation fighter jet. EMP cannons are unfit for manned aircraft, because high-level EMP signals can be harmful for the pilot.