by WorldTribune Staff, October 9, 2017
South Korea is set to deploy graphite “blackout bombs” capable of crippling North Korea’s electrical power plants, a military official in Seoul said.
The bombs are a part of a long-term South Korean defense plan that is being expedited under pressure from a mounting nuclear weapons threat from North Korea and encouragement by the Trump Administration for allies to take more responsibility for national defense.
“All technologies for the development of a graphite bomb led by the Agency for Defense Development have been secured,” Yonhap quoted a military official as saying. “It is at the stage where we can build the bombs at any time.”
Blackout bombs were first used by the United States in the 1990 Gulf War and proved effective, knocking out about 85 percent of the electrical supply across Iraq.
The bombs are part of the South’s “Kill Chain” strategy developed for dealing with an increasingly aggressive Kim Jong-Un regime in the North. The strategy is designed to detect, identify and intercept incoming missiles in the shortest possible time.
The strategy was originally scheduled to be in place by the mid-2020s.
Blackout bombs work by releasing a cloud of extremely fine, chemically treated carbon filaments over electrical components. The filaments are so tiny that they act like a cloud, but cause short circuits in electrical equipment.
South Korea said it pushed hard to develop graphite bombs because they are not lethal to civilians in surrounding areas.
NATO used similar weapons against targets in Serbia in May 1999, damaging around 70 percent of the country’s electrical supply.
Seoul’s Kill Chain program operates in conjunction with the Korea Air and Missile Defense system for lower-tier defense against inbound missiles.
Another component of the Kill Chain strategy is the Korea Massive Punishment & Retaliation plan, under which Seoul will launch attacks against leadership targets in North Korea if it detects signs that the regime is planning to use nuclear weapons.