Defense agencies have a common threat to their networks of command and communication. A high-energy disturbance in the Earth’s magnetic field is rare, but also a real and dangerous eventuality. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) event can disable critical electrical and electronic infrastructure for extended periods.

Whether naturally occurring or weaponized, a major geomagnetic storm can potentially disrupt or permanently damage equipment not adequately shielded from electromagnetic interference. Transformers, power lines, and cell phone towers would receive a massive surge of energy that can overload and destroy components. Damage to power grids could take up to a year to rebuild.

More immediately, the fallout of a large EMP event would have cascading effects. Not only would government offices be in the dark and out of communication with personnel in the field, but the surrounding civilian population would also be thrown into chaos, creating wider security concerns.

Natural and Intentional Events

Natural magnetic disturbances are caused by radiation from solar flares. Like earthquakes or hurricanes, magnetic storms can occur randomly with little or limited effect, yet in a long enough timeline, a widespread and devastating event could occur.

The last time the planet experienced a massive geomagnetic storm caused by solar activity was in March 1989. This event, known as the Quebec blackout, was triggered by a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the Sun that collided with the Earth’s magnetic field. The resulting geomagnetic storm was classified as a G5 on the NOAA Space Weather Scales, which is the highest level of intensity on the scale.

This geomagnetic storm caused power outages across the province and disrupted communication and navigation systems in other parts of the world. This event highlighted the vulnerability of modern infrastructure to space weather and led to increased efforts to monitor and predict geomagnetic storms and shield important infrastructure.

Threats of various sizes can also come through intentional acts. A foreign nuclear power could denotate a bomb hundreds of miles above a territory to generate a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) in order to cause widespread and catastrophic failure of electronics.

Terrorist cells could instigate limited, city-sized outages on the ground through various technologies, given enough resources. A ground-based pulse could demobilize response as part of a larger operation.

No matter what the source or size of threat, military installations and defense agencies need to address the risks of infrastructure failure.

Strategic Shielding

It would be unimaginable to let positions of strategic importance like military installations go powerless or idle without clear lines of communication.

Loss of critical facilities that are themselves hubs to a greater system, such as air traffic control or automotive dispatch, medical centers, nuclear power stations, or war rooms would amplify the adverse impacts of an EMP/HEMP event.

Fortunately, technological solutions like those from TSS USA Manufacturing can directly shield mission-critical infrastructure from electromagnetic events, both large and small. Large electric filters can be installed to reroute high energy induction away from sensitive equipment.

Filters from TSS USA Manufacturing are compliant per DEF STAN 59-411 and actually exceed the performance requirements to absorb extreme HEMP energy surges. TSS developed the first filter rated for up to 5,000 volts.

TSS components are of course designed and manufactured in the United States. Contact an expert TSS consultant to see what protective filters fit to your critical infrastructure.