As North Korea continues to toot their own nuclear-powered horn, their neighbors to the south are gearing up to stop Kim Jong-un in his tracks.
The Agency for Defense Development in Seoul has acquired technology to build graphite bombs, a non-lethal type of bomb that can render a power system useless. The bomb, known as a “blackout bomb” would be dropped by plane over power plants. The cluster bomb splits into several canisters, which then release graphite filaments that short-circuit electricity supplies.
The technology has been available, and in use, in the United States since the early 90’s. During the first Gulf War in 1991, the US Navy used blackout bombs to cut power to Iraq. The bombs were used again against Serbia in 1999 during the Balkan conflict.
NATO spokesperson Jamie Shea said the bomb’s impact is mostly psychological, as it renders the targeted country literally powerless.
The addition of blackout bombs to South Korea’s arsenal is just the latest in a long line of recently-developed military weapons. The country is building what it calls a “kill-chain,” to detect, and preemptively strike back against an attack from North Korea.
Already in place is the Air and Missile Defense Program, which has been tasked with detecting and shooting down nuclear missiles, as well a the Korean Massive Punishment and Retaliation System, in place as the first strike back against a North Korean attack.
The blackout bombs were originally scheduled to be completed in the mid-2020’s, but after North Korea’s announcement that they are advancing their nuclear program, South Korea sped up the timeline.
South Korea has been monitoring nuclear activity in Pyongyang and has concluded that 19 missile tests have occurred this year alone, including two intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the US mainland. North Korea has also tested a hydrogen bomb. However, the South Korean military maintains there is no imminent threat.
“We have yet to detect any signs of immediate provocations from North Korea,” a South Korean military source said, adding: “We are maintaining an upgraded monitoring effort to guard against any developments.”