October 10, 2017 09:27
South Korea has come a step closer to building a bomb capable of knocking out North Korea's power supply, a military source said Sunday.
"Headed by the Agency for Defense Development, the development of technology to produce a non-lethal graphite bomb has been completed," the source said. "If we can get the necessary funding, we can produce the bomb any time."
The "blackout bomb" would explode in the air and disperse chemically treated carbon graphite filaments over electrical facilities, resulting in short-circuits that disrupt the power grid.
The bomb could be deployed from bomber aircraft, artillery shells or via cruise missiles. "We expect the bomb to paralyze North Korea's key missile and nuclear weapon bases and power stations," the source added.
The Defense Ministry targets building hundreds of blackout bombs by 2021 and tried to allocate W500 million in next year's defense budget for the project (US$1=W1,147).
The Ministry of Strategy and Finance recently rejected the budget, but it could be revived in a National Assembly review.
Skeptics doubt the effectiveness of such a device. A government official said, "North Korea's power system is so outdated that there are constant blackouts in Pyongyang, so the military has grown quite accustomed to operating off-grid. Perhaps it would be more efficient to use the money to develop other weapons."
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