South Korea's New "Blackout Bomb" Can Paralyze The North's Power Grid

US and South Korean officials are nervously watching to see if North Korea follows through with its threats to carry out another nuclear test – or to fire a rumored long-range missile capable of accurately striking the west coast of the US into the Pacific – in celebration of the Oct. 10 anniversary of the Communist Party’s creation. Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports that South Korea has developed a new weapon to hobble the North’s infrastructure should an armed conflict erupt on the peninsula. Given that it's almost daybreak in North Korea, such a test could happen as soon as Monday night, Eastern Time.

The weapon is a graphite bomb – otherwise known as a “blackout bomb” - which South Korean officials say will be capable of shutting down North Korea’s entire power grid. Blackout bombs were first used by the US in Iraq in the 1990 Gulf War and work by releasing a cloud of extremely fine, chemically treated carbon filaments over electrical components. The filaments are so fine that they act like a cloud, but cause short circuits in electrical equipment.

As points out, North Korea tends to celebrate the Oct. 10 holiday with military parades and aggressive rhetoric. But this year's festivities could include new provocative weapons tests.

“The Kim regime usually uses these sorts of occasions to demonstrate some show of strength — in this current climate a missile test is a likely result,” says Dr Genevieve Hohnen, lecturer in politics and international relations at Edith Cowan University.

The Telegraph reports that the South developed the bomb to minimize civilian casualties in the North should a conflict erupt. In a statement to Yonhap, a military official said the South Korean army could assemble a blackout bomb at any time. The weapon was reportedly developed by South Korea's Agency for Defense Development.

“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 told Yonhap.

The bomb is often referred to as a “soft bomb” because it only affects targeted electrical power systems.

As the Telegraph explains, the blackout bomb was developed as part of South Korea’s “three pillars” plan for retaliating against the North if it believes a nuclear strike is imminent. Escalating tensions with the North have inspired the South to move its target date for completion forward by three years. The plan was initially slated to be complete by the mid-2020s.

The first two parts of the plan involve detecting – and then intercepting – North Korea missiles. The second part – aptly named the “massive punishment and retaliation plan” involves launching attacks against the country’s leadership, including a plan to assassinate Kim Jong Un.

South Korea is bringing forward the deployment of its "three pillars" of national defence by as much as three years as a result of the growing threat posed by Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development programmes.


The three-pronged strategy was originally scheduled to be in place by the mid-2020s, but North Korea's increasingly aggressive and unpredictable behaviour has forced Seoul to revise that timeline.


The Kill Chain programme is designed to detect, identify and intercept incoming missiles in the shortest possible time and operates in conjunction with the Korea Air and Missile Defence system for lower-tier defence against inbound missiles.


The final component of the strategy is the Korea Massive Punishment & Retaliation plan, under which Seoul will launch attacks against leadership targets in North Korea if it detects signs that the regime is planning to use nuclear weapons.

South Korea believes North Korea’s energy grid is outdated and vulnerable, and thus would be incredibly susceptible to a “blackout bomb” attack. Blackout bombs were first used by the US against Iraq in the Gulf War of 1990, when they knocked out about 85 percent of Iraq’s electricity. They were also used by NATO against Serbia in 1999, when it damaged around 70 percent of the country’s electrical supply.

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President Donald Trump fired off his latest threatening tweet about North Korea earlier today, reiterating his view that 25 years of US appeasement and billions of dollars in humanitarian aid for the North clearly have not worked. He ended the tweet with yet another vague hint that the US could soon resort to a military strike.

Though the US has rejected North Korea's claims that Trump's rhetoric has amounted to a declaration of war, how much longer can the US credibly claim that "all options are on the table" if North Korea continues to provoke the international community with its missile and nuclear tests?


Cognitive Dissonance peddling-fiction Mon, 10/09/2017 - 18:28 Permalink

ALL foriegn policy statements are for domestic consumption. Why does the west constantly threaten NK with things the east finds frightening but NK ...not so much? Because the west doesn’t want to appear ineffective. While power grid down will disrupt NK, they don’t exactly celebrate black Friday, much of the population still rides a bike and works in the fields. SK and US are speaking directly to the NK elite who DO need their electricity. Get rid of lill Kim and you can still charge your portable back massage.

In reply to by peddling-fiction

BuddyEffed IH8OBAMA Tue, 10/10/2017 - 00:25 Permalink

Grid down for an extended period or permanently is an effective death sentence for many and TEOTWAWKI scenario of grave consequence where economy is pretty much destroyed and people are thrust back to mid 1800 year level of living which most can't handle. Would likely trigger any MAD weapon deployment by country attacked.

Stupid as fuck if you ask me.

Didn't the US declare its grid as sacrosanct a while back? The why is SK contemplating this, even if NK is target?

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

fx BuddyEffed Tue, 10/10/2017 - 05:55 Permalink

The North will never attack SK, since it would be absolutely suicidal. So what for then is the South acquiring ever more and ever more sophisticated weapons? Of course, these "clean" bombs could be used against China or Russia, too. Oh, and nobody should be surprised if suddenly lots of blackouts are occuring in the North. The South Koreans should be very careful here. Destroying the NK power grid would be a death sentence for the North - and hence also one for millions in the South..

In reply to by BuddyEffed

CurveBall covfefe MICdotard Mon, 10/09/2017 - 23:00 Permalink

...I was going to down vote you and scroll on, and then I thought I would just ignore your obviously unintelligent comment. And then I thought well shit, rather than being a trolling prick maybe I should just explain to this person their mistake. So this current article is talking about the Gulf War - Desert Storm from 1990-1991 when Iraq invaded Kuwait; and your talking about and sharing a link from the Hoax war on Iraq for their oil - or more accurately their want to get away from the American petro-dollar, errrr WMD’s, right that’s the ticket.... from 2003 that G. Dubyah Bush and Croni Blair made happen. Hope that clears things up a little for you on why the lights were on in the picture you posted that was actually 12-13 years after the U.S. and their 34 country coalition first stormed the desert to show Hussein the first time he needed to play by the west’s rules and used these “Black-out Bombs” on Iraq.

In reply to by covfefe MICdotard

SWRichmond Cognitive Dissonance Mon, 10/09/2017 - 18:53 Permalink

 The second part – aptly named the “massive punishment and retaliation plan” involves launching attacks against the country’s leadership, including a plan to assassinate Kim Jong UnBecause just like our sociopaths, the sociopaths on charge of NK can't imagine a world without them in it, so the only credible  deterrent threat includes taking them out.They don't care about their people. Neither do ours..

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

NukeChinaNow BennyBoy Mon, 10/09/2017 - 20:30 Permalink

I'm guessing you've never been to P.I.... considering your name is the name Filipinos called the deviant twinkle toed girly boys/men aka, queers.Speaking of bennyboys...I remember the Radioman Chief and mine in '78, from C.I.C. ( Where are you Chief David Scott!? ) took me to Green Street in Singapore. Little did I know the "comaraderie" was for their own amusement ( the Chief being uncertain if Donnie or Marie was the more attractive one :).As they paraded by, from 30-40ft, these "gals" were pretty good looking! :-)Of course the Chiefs had to ask me, " What about this one...and that one"...Took me some time to figure out WTF they were laughing so hard. AHOLES! ( I miss 'em. )You also used to be able to get these little home-rolled 'ceegars' for a nickle there. Wow they were tasty.These were the days when THAT SIGN was in the harbor.

In reply to by BennyBoy

Hans-Zandvliet peddling-fiction Mon, 10/09/2017 - 21:13 Permalink

Older still: they used graphite bombs to destroy the power grid of Belgrade, Serbia, back in 1999. And I wouldn't be surprised when it was used already decades before that, because it's just sooooooo simple.Graphite (carbon) conducts electricity, so exploding a canister of, say, finely ground charcoal on a power station and the charcoal dust cloud will short-circuit and fry the entire power plant.It's just slightly more complicated than President Assad's alleged barrel bombs and NK will surely do the same with Seoul's power plants (graphite shells from their long-range artillery).And by the way: SK is one or two orders of magnitude more dependent on electricity than NK. So who will suffer most (rhetorical question)?"New Magic Weapon": fuck off!!!

In reply to by peddling-fiction

land_of_the_few Hans-Zandvliet Tue, 10/10/2017 - 04:02 Permalink

I heard the Yugoslavians simply switched things off before they got the graphite-bombs-of-democracy from Maddy the Bouncing Czech and presumably just waited for some rain? Plus, you know, Serbia is still a country and is still non-aligned (with the West, at least).... looks like it wasn't too successful.Also, doesn't this now mean that NK knows about them too? :D

In reply to by Hans-Zandvliet

land_of_the_few researchfix Tue, 10/10/2017 - 05:39 Permalink

Yep. That was a little strange.They rebuilt the iconic Avala TV tower in Belgrade that was hit too, with the help of the original architects.Original: "After completion, with the 202.87 m (666 ft) height it was the fifth tallest self-supporting construction in the world, after Empire State Building, La Tour Eiffel, Chrysler Building and Grande Dixence Dam."New one is 2 metres taller than the original. 

In reply to by researchfix

richsob 07564111 Mon, 10/09/2017 - 18:40 Permalink

Don't know much about artillery warfare do you?  Targeting, communications, supply, etc., etc. are all extremely dependent on electricity.  And that's not even considering the radar systems they need to help protect their artillary assets.  Believe me, if the electricity goes out there will be thousands of sitting ducks out there just waiting to get the hell blown out of them.

In reply to by 07564111

07564111 richsob Mon, 10/09/2017 - 18:57 Permalink

LoL, this is not a 'pulse' weapon of any sort you fucking dickhead. It also is incapable of rendering inoperative the batteries along the 38th, it's sole aim is to disrupt comms between Pyonyang and field commanders. That won't work either, those commanders will fire with or without orders in the case of an attack.

In reply to by richsob

richsob 07564111 Mon, 10/09/2017 - 20:10 Permalink

You dickheads have never been around artillery batteries before.  It's obvious you don't have experience in this area.  And don't think that all NK artillery is antiquated as hell.  It's not.  You need fucking electricity to fight with artillery.  At least if you intend to use it for very long.  No one said you have to plug the gun into an outlet to use it.  Jeez.

In reply to by 07564111

MrPalladium richsob Mon, 10/09/2017 - 21:34 Permalink

13E20 here. Look, almost all western artillery is SP, meaning that the gun is mounted inside an armored tracked vehicle, and the armored vehicle has a generator and batteries that power everything inside that vehicle. You have electric power until you run out of fuel. Been that way for 45 years. Battery C&C is inside an APC, as is fire direction. FA units also have portable generators which power, among other things, counter battery radar.An artillery round is a dumb projectile on a fixed trajectory. Modern counter battery radar can have a round attacking the enemy tube before the first enemy round even lands. This fear of artillery is overblown. Even if the guns are dug into a hillside their locations, if not already known and spotted, certainly will be known as soon as the first round is fired.

In reply to by richsob