NORTH Korea could be secretly building nukes that could explode in the sky and emit pulses that could down airliners and knockout electricity and communications.
The explosive claim has been made by at top defence expert who believes the high-altitude weapon could inflict “catastrophic” damage.
Ex-Director of the US Strategic Defence initiative Henry F Cooper said a nuclear bomb could be detonated 40 miles up in the sky and hundreds of miles from the intended target.
It is feared a recent North Korean missile test that appeared to fail by exploding mid-air was actually a trial run for the air-burst nuke.
A electromagnetic pulse (EMP) would then be emitted from the nuclear explosion, wreaking havoc on the ground, in the air and even in space.
Writing in a report, Mr Cooper said: “Detonation at that altitude of a nuclear warhead with a yield of 10 to 20 kilotons—similar to those tested by North Korea—would produce major EMP effects and inflict catastrophic damage to unhardened electronics across hundreds of miles of surface territory.
“It is a myth that large yield nuclear weapons of hundreds of kilotons are required to produce such effects.”
He pointed to the time in 1962 when the US detonated nuclear warhead 900 miles southwest of Hawaii.
The high-altitude nuke “destroyed hundreds of street lights in Honolulu, caused electrical surges on air-planes in the area and damaged at least six satellites”
Russian generals reported back in 2004 that North Korea has in its possession the designs for these so-called “super EMP nuclear weapons,” Mr Cooper says.
While nuclear warlord wannabe Kim Jong-un is far from launching a viable EMP attack on the US or South Korea, an air-burst EMP may be a more realistic option for Pyongyang.
This is because there is little need for accuracy.