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April 24, 2016



The "small" h-bombs are the right size for an Electromagnetic Pulse weapon, or EMP. If one of those "space junk" satellites is an EMP, it could fry every electronic device below for a thousand miles and kill the electrical grid for at least a year, with 90% of the US population dying of disease or starvation. Water supplies need electricity. So does transport, assuming your car still works.

One or two small bombs. No radiation. And NK is low-tech. One moment the USA or the EU or South Korea, Japan, etc. would join them.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi tz

Good scenario but utterly impractical (as of yet, but not eventually in the future). That needs specific orbital explosion at very precise altitude and exact position. For it to work, our Nutty Uncle needs to get his space junk to start to function. Currently no chance of that happening but once he gets a satellite in orbit to actually start to also talk to earth, then yes, eventually he'd get to the ability to do an EMP attack. With the current tech including SLBM launch, impossible. Its the required position of the re-entry vehicle and its detonation to achieve a practical USA-wide EMP

Russia could do that today as could China. India might get that capability soon. North Korea for an EMP is still far away. Eventually when their space program is stable, then yes.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


I read somewhere that the last SLBM test failed because the missile flew only 30 miles and it was supposed to fly 300 in order to be considered a successful test. So the North Korea is still not there yet. There is still time to kill the Idiotic Leader.


And a few months ago Tomi mocked me when I said the US was vulnerable to an EMP attack. Not if Kim Jong Un gets his hands on nuclear material and has an SLBM. It doesn't need to be perfect to launch a nationwide EMP. Imagine if he knocked out LA or NYC. It would be chaotic. And even a botched attempt could wreak havoc through the collateral damage.

Of course, Hillary's husband is the one who opened up the North Korean talks in 1994. One of his rare foreign policy missteps. Hillary's entire foreign policy record as Secretary of State was a disaster.

The best hope now isn't a revolt in North Korea. China needs to stop treating North Korea as a useful thorn in the sides of the US, South Korea, and Japan.


Too bad Trump didn't run in 2012 instead of this year. Romney would likely be the nominee this year, and would likely beat Hillary. He seems more level-headed and less likely to start a useless war than Clinton (who voted for Iraq and also pushed the normally reticent Obama to support the disastrous invasion of Libya).

Wayne Borean


The United States is vulnerable from an EMP attack, and the country most capable of carrying out an EMP attack on the United States is Canada. We wouldn't, but we could.


I can think of several ways that the launch could have been faked. Yes, the USA did detect a water launch, but was it from a submarine? We don't know.

And if it was from a submarine, did that submarine survive? This is a serious question. If you load four missiles on a submarine, but firing the first one causes the submarine to sink, you have just wasted three missiles.

Even if EVERYTHING went perfectly, there's the issue of range. The longest ranged modern submarine that North Korea has can travel 2,000 kilometres, so yes, they could hit Japan. The longest range old submarine has a range of 14,484 kilometres, but that boat is a Whiskey class, an early Cold War relict, and exactly how sea worthy any of those boats are is unknown.

Converting a Whiskey class, which has a decent range into an SSB would be a nightmare. Building a new SSB would probably be easier, but the basic Sinpo class has a 2,000 kilometre range. Of course they could build in extra diesel fuel tanks, but then you've got to add extra bracing, etc.

If the missile actually was launched from a sub, it was most likely from the Sinpo class boat, of which one has apparently been launched, and which is no more than two years old.

In closing, Diesel-Electric boats usually run on the surface where they have a higher top speed. In a covert operation this would not be possible, reducing the spread to less than five knots, less than 10 kilometres per hour, and probably less than 3 knots (5.5 kph). This severely limits attack ability. Of course they could hide the boat inside a larger ship (ala James Bond).

There are satellite pics of the Sinpo class boat on 38 North.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi cornelius and Catriona

cornelius - yeah, that was the report from South Korea. If the missile was fired from the sub underwater and it tumbled out of the sky, it would have exploded shortly in air and broken apart. That it was able to fly 30 miles horizontally means it also reached something like 100 miles at least vertically, while it apparently didn't get to its target - thats now refinement but N Korea has illustrated vividly that it can launch ballistic missiles from underwater that will also fly. 30 miles vs 300 miles, I'd put that to 'North Korea tech precision' haha but unfortunately THAT part is the easier part to fix. The launching from under water to keep the rocket flying still after it pops into air, THAT is the hard part.

Catriona - you know I thought of that discussion when I was writing my response to tz haha. No, same with this. You CAN fire a ballistic missile, have it detonate on impact, and it will kill the city that was targeted. Its more difficult to make the detonation hit accurately at the intended altitude for an air burst and THAT part is nowhere in North Korea's control (yet) as I told you before. They can't put a satellite into stable orbit - a far EASIER task than precise detonation on a rapidly falling trajectory of a missile warhead travelling many times the speed of sound. That its an SLBM makes it no less 'solved' because the problem never was the ROCKET to get the warhead to altitude, N Korea has had that for years, its the warhead control while it is up there. THAT problem is the same whether the ballistic missile is launched from land or from sea.

In other words, good try but no go. Its still not viable for N Korea to try an EMP attack. Also if the target area for this SLBM was 300 miles, its not the type of missile to get the warhead anywhere near for a national EMP pulse because that warhead will have a relatively small target window in the upper atmosphere above about Kansas if I recall our last discussion. Ain't gonna get there from the sea on any of the three coasts.

As to Bill Clinton and North Korean negotiations. Yes, and back then the father of this lunatic was in charge, Kim Jong-Il who was at least behaving more rationally than the petulant child haha. What would you have had Bill do if not talk to the enemies to TRY to get them to stop? You are aware that the USA has also negotiated with enemies who could WIPE the USA out, like Nixon who opened the dialogue with China (he was a Republican if I recall) and Reagan who signed an nuclear weapons reduction treaty with the Soviet Union (remind me, wasn't that Reagan dude also a Republican?) Both of those countries had functioning ICBMs not failing experiments, deployed nuclear powered boomers AND long range nuclear bomber aircraft - plus the H-Bomb - none that North Korea even today has, and you think its ok to negotiate with those but not try to get N Korea NOT to get a nuke? Ok, you can of course believe thats a smart way to go.

Trump in 2012 haha yeah he would have been crushed by Romney like he took care of the others too. Trump ONLY succeeded this year because of a remarkable series of coincidences. In 2012 it would not have been 17 rivals, so Trump's modest level of popularity would not have given him the polling lead. In 2012 there was a VERY clear front-runner (Romney) who was not a wimp like Jeb and who wasn't afraid to attack his rivals ruthlessly and immediately. The debates of 2012 were far more feisty from the start, and Trump would have taken far more serious heat from Newt Gingrich, Romney, Rick Santorum etc than the lame early attacks he faced now. So in 2012 he would never have risen to the top, and therefore, he would have then also quit as his original plan was, before Iowa.

But lets say Trump DID run in 2012 - oh, wait, Trump is a smart guy, of course he wasn't dumb enough to try to unseat Obama in 2012 haha.. most smart politians sat out the race like Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal etc.. But yeah, lets say he DID run, then what? He'd have been crushed by Obama.

But for Romney, he would certainly seem more balanced and sensible than Trump or Cruz, I am not so sure whether he'd be stronger in the general election than Kasich. But we tried Romney in 2012 and the 47% video has not been erased from history. Romney would still be a white man who angered the Hispanics with self-deportation (that video has not been erased from history) and he's a gaffe-machine too. If he were to run this year (he could even plausibly become the nominee if the convention is deadlocked through say 10 ballots or more) he'd have the same generic problems of all Republicans (women and Hispanics) but with Romney at least the Hispanic problem would be worse than generic Republican. I think with women he'd probably be about even with generic Republican. So he'd lose the general election not as badly as Cruz but far worse than Kasich, say by 12 to 15 points.

On Hillary 'starting' wars and you quote Iraq and Libya. Sorry, I know how much you hate her. Iraq is NOT ONE IOTA the fault of Hillary, it is 100% the fault of Bush-Cheney. 100% and 0%. She voted for the authorization yes, that is not that she was in any way PUSHING for the war or in any way one of the administration's spokespersons. You can't blame that on her. As to Libya, yeah, I know the Republicans are desperate to pin that on her, and there she definitely was on the inside but that is Obama's NON-invasion (there was no invasion, if you remember, the USA rejected calls to send their troops, insisted the Europeans took the lead, who mostly supported the conflict by air power from aicraft carriers and the nearby NATO land bases). It was some Republicans like war-mongers John McCain and Lindsay Graham who WANTED to send US troops to fight in that civil war in Libya. Obama didn't send an invasion.

If you want to say Benghazi is a 'disaster' as Republicans try, then please also tell me where did you advocate for Reagan to be impeached for the FAR FAR FAR more deadly and stupid mission he sent to Lebanon.. It was the closest thing to Benghazi but about 50 times DEADLIER and a total mess going in, managed on the spot, and coming out.

I will grant you that Hillary seems to be far more 'hawkish' and likely to use military power faster than Obama did. But she is a total DOVE compared to Trump (lets use nukes against ISIS, lets re-introduce torture, lets make it even more torture than waterboarding, lets end NATO, lets give nukes to Japan) or Cruz (lets carpet bomb ISIS, lets send troops on the ground).

If your argument is, that Hillary is too dangerous as a President for being aggressive - then you have to accept that Trump and Cruz are FAR WORSE, Kasich at least as bad, and only Bernie would be another peacenick in the style of Obama. But you do then have to admit, Catriona that you'd be siding with Obama over Hillary haha... I wasn't expecting you to be one of those leftie pinko surrender-monkeys haha... (I am using the term 'surrender-monkey' deliberately, not suggesting you as a monkey obviously but its the favorite way the British like to call the French in any recent war)

Tomi Ahonen :-)



An important aspect of the usefulness of these subs is their (lack of) noise. Silent screw/propeller design is the ultra-super-secret. Anything related to silent propeller design and construction is still restricted like nuclear bomb technology.

The question is now, do the North Koreans have that technology or not.

(Another attack angle, long, long time ago when I was still a student, I was explained by a credible source how it was possible to find an imprint on the surface waves of a travelling deeply immersed submarine. Never found a publication about it. But they use such technology when following submarine land slides)


Very interesting, but what is the range of that thing? If the NK manages to reach a 300 miles range for their missiles, would that technology detect a submarine at that range?


"Very interesting, but what is the range of that thing?"

This can be done using a (doppler) radar on surface waves. IIRC, it could be done using radar from high altitudes/low orbit satelites or using optical measurements on sea surface reflectivity. But this is all old research (1980s, early 1990s)

A three-dimensional analysis of marine radar images for the determination of ocean wave directionality and surface currents

The important fragment is:
"Any deviation from the expected dispersion relationship can be interpreted as being due to a current induced Doppler shift of the wave frequency."

Translation: Water displacement of a submarine traveling at high speed.

Here is an application to finding ship wrecks:
Radar imaging mechanism of underwater wrecks in coastal waters with strong tidal currents

You can also use radar to study the internal wave wakes of ships (and submarines). Internal waves are the waves "between" water layers in stratified sea water. These internal waves make an imprint on the spectrum of surface waves.

Measurements of the internal wave wake of a ship in a highly stratified sea loch;jsessionid=7D4AB086D13A4C7F43D3F564B543ABD0.f02t01?wol1URL=/doi/10.1029/92JC00679/full&regionCode=NL&identityKey=346cf6ec-722f-410c-a1e9-b66cb5200691


For some reason I am unable to find any references to using these techniques in hunting submarines. Sorry for my lack of Google Foo.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi cornelius and Winter

Great stuff. On generic sub-hunting, usually nuke subs are more quiet but not inherently so, you can make a diesel/electric sub also essentially as quiet. Germans and Swedes have been pursuing that direction very effectively for the shallow sea of the Baltic. Russian mini-subs operating in Swedish waters have been a total bitch to spot even after days of echo-sounding and search in truly the shallowest of seas.

For an ocean-going mission, and a modern reasonably robust sub, they'd get under the top layers of the sea, and then they're mostly shielded from the various measures to discover them because the ocean layers form effective barriers to traditional methods to search. The wake on a fast-moving ship or submarine is bigger than on a slow-moving one and if the diesel sub was not in a hurry, was not pursued and 'by itself' it could move at speeds of whales and then the water displacement would be also in terms of size not distinguishable from whales.

On the range yes, even a 300 mile range would allow the sub to be 120 miles from the nearest shore on the West Coast and able to hit any targets from San Francisco to San Diego and inland to Sacremento, Fresno, Bakersfield but not up to Las Vegas or Reno.

On the East Coast because the shoreline is different, the enemy sub could hide in more water, it could be 150 miles off-shore and still reach every city from Boston to Richmond including Virginia Beach and inland as far as Harrisburg PA and Baltimore and Washington DC. Obviously also NYC. Concord, Pittsburgh, Raleigh would be a bit beyond reach but their V 1.1 rocket would probably be 10% better in terms of range and then.. yeah.. it only gets worse with time.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


There are a lot of countries with SLMB subs out there. In case a sub launches its missiles, is it possible to identify the country of origin. Do the nukes have some kind of fingerprint that would ensure that the response to the strike would go to the correct address.

Tomi T Ahonen

Haha hi Tuomas

Nope. None whatsoever that could be determined in any reasonable amount of time.. But any nuke attack on the USA would require an instant total retaliation and arguably nobody would be that foolish to try it except North Korea. If Putin wanted to use nukes against the US, he'd (arguably) do it on a first-strike total annihiliation basis ie try to destroy all US nuclear retaliation weapons AND all the cities (China doesn't have enough nukes yet to even contemplate that). Now, a really nasty conniving nuke power with SLBMs could go near the US shore, do the attack, then go hide, and let N Korea take the blame haha... Someone like Putin could theoretically do that a, to damage the USA and b, to lower the threshold for nuke weapons so he could then use them in Europe. However, I can't imagine Putin for all the bad I think of him, to be that coldblooded to kill 50 million people

But yeah, France and UK won't attack the US or anyone with nukes for that matter unless its the retaliation for someone destroying their country. China would't want their NorthEastern border to glow in the dark; if they wanted to remove Kim Jong-Un, they'd do it at any time, they are the puppet masters with all control over N Korea. They like it that N Korea is destabilizing the West-leaning neighbors who are close to China ie S Korea & Japan.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi Ahonen :-)


@Tomi, Hillary is a leftist neo-con. So is John McCain. I don't trust either of them. Kasich is more level-headed than any of them or the rest of the current crop of candidates and unlike any of them has actually acted as an executive in a bi-partisan manner.

Obama didn't want to do anything in Libya. For once he was right. He wouldn't have done anything if not for Hillary and Samantha Power.


@Tomi, it's not that Putin isn't coldhearted. He's just not that dumb or crazy. He's accomplished most of his military objectives with little effort, and if not for the drop in oil and gas prices (the result of the fracking boom of 2008-2014) would have accomplished much more.

Tomi T Ahonen

Oh on the satellite detection part..

I forgot the most obvious. There isn't such a satellite constellation yet even deployed in space. The US operates a couple of Keyhole Kennan spy satellites with real time TV and IR and likely some other sensors - they fly around the planet every 90 minutes and won't come back to the same spot until four days later. Thats the nearest thing to the wake-detection etc currently (and not suited for that).

It would require a new whole separate LAYER of geosynch satellites (which stay over the exact spot) and laid into a grid to cover the sea area, to have any chance of submarine detection permanently from the sky. It would need to be a real time satellite and in very rough terms similar in cost to Kennan so past a Billion dollars per satellite per launch (and some launches fail, it is rocket science). Who has that kind of money haha..

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Wayne Borean

The United States has that kind of money Tomi, if they are willing to spend it.


Also Tomi, I fear that your Trump predictions are way off, your past record in the "political predicions" field is rather spotty and you're doubling down on it :)

By all signs, we already have a Trump-Hillary final, there's nothing that can stop it. And there are plenty of events that could stop HRC from getting the presidency (e.g. the email server scandal/ an indictment would end her presidential race). But even if nothing happens, Trump is actually extremely well positioned to defeat Hillary in a landslide win, fair and square. Read the "clown genius" post made by Scott Adams in August (!) - his prediction record is a lot better than yours, as far as political events are concerned.

(for the record, I'm not too happy that Trump will win the presidency, I think that'll be especially bad for Europe; but he will likely win it anyway, let's not conflate "our wishes" with what's likely to happen)


More failed tests in NK.
Luckily for NK the Glorious Leader is in charge and he'll singlehandedly raise NK army to unprecedented new heights.

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