South Korea developing graphite bombs to cripple North’s electric grid

South Korea has developed technologies to build a graphite bomb which can paralyze the North’s power systems in case of war, Yonhap news reported Sunday citing military sources.

A graphite bomb, also known as “blackout bomb” or the “soft bomb”, is a non-lethal weapon used to disable electrical power systems. Graphite bombs work by spreading a cloud of extremely fine, chemically treated carbon filaments over electrical components, causing a short-circuit and a disruption of the electrical supply.

The weapon is referred to as a “soft bomb”, since its effects are largely confined to the targeted electrical power facility, with minimal risk of collateral damage.

According to the Yonhap report, the weapon has been developed by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) as key part of South Korea’s pre-emptive strike program called Kill Chain.

“All technologies for the development of a graphite bomb led by the ADD have been secured. It is in the stage where we can build the bombs anytime,” a military official was quoted as saying. The defense ministry had requested next year’s budget include 500 million won (US$436,000) for the project but the finance ministry did not accept it, he added.

The graphite bomb was first used by the U.S. against Iraq in the 1990–1991 Gulf War, knocking out 85% of the electrical supply. Similarly, the BLU-114/B “Soft-Bomb” graphite bomb was used by NATO against Serbia in May 1999, disabling 70% of that country’s power grid.

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