Responding to the Emerging Threat of Chinese DF-21D (CSS-5 MOD 4) Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles in the Near-Space Environment
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Responding to the Emerging Threat of Chinese DF-21D (CSS-5 MOD 4) Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles in the Near-Space Environment






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    Responding to the Emerging Threat of Chinese DF-21D (CSS-5 MOD 4) Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles in the Near-Space Environment Responding to the Emerging Threat of Chinese DF-21D (CSS-5 MOD 4) Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles in the Near-Space Environment Document Transcript

    • Responding to the Emerging Threat of Chinese DF-21D (CSS-5 MOD 4) Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles in the Near-Space Environment LTC Wallace E. Steinbrecher, GA ARNG Joint Forces Staff College AJPME 11-07B March 1, 2011 Faculty Advisor: LTC Larry Dotson
    • Biography Lieutenant Colonel Wallace Steinbrecher is the Commander of the 170th Military PoliceBattalion with headquarters in Decatur, Georgia. He concurrently serves as the ExecutiveOfficer for the Pre-Mobilization Training and Assistance Element with headquarters at FortStewart, Georgia. He was commissioned in 1990 through the Officer Candidate School at FortBenning, Georgia. He began his Army career in 1982. He received his B.S. (Criminal Justice) from Armstrong State University in Savannah,Georgia, his M.S. (Administration of Justice) from Andrew Jackson University of Montgomery,Alabama, and is a second-year law student at the Concord School of Law. He is married to the former Tamra Jean Tebo of South Bend, Indiana, and has twodaughters ages 21 and 19. THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF THIS PAPER WAS WRITTEN TO SATISFY WRITING REQUIREMENTS OF THE JOINT FORCES STAFF COLLEGE (JFSC). THE CONTENTS OF THIS PAPER DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE OFFICIAL POLICY OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, OR ANY OF ITS AGENCIES.
    • Thesis The Chinese are preparing to operationally deploy a new variant of ballistic missilesspecifically aimed at US aircraft carriers. This system can acquire, track, and engage at rangesgreater than 1000 miles. In the near-term, the US has existing technologies that can be quickly modified to counterthis threat in the near-space (less than 60 miles in altitude) environment. In the long-term,developing technologies can be used to defeat this threat at all points during the flight envelope. Defining the Threat Historically, U.S. aircraft carriers and their associated carrier strike groups (CSGs) haveoperated relatively freely under an air defense umbrella and an anti-submarine screening force.These screening and defense forces provide a stand-off distance that exceeds the range ofconventional anti-ship missiles such as the French-made Exocet with a range of 70 km (MM38)or 180 km (MM48) (Friedman 1994, 109). One technology that threatens the U.S. carrier fleet inthe Pacific is a variant of the Chinese DF-21/CSS-5 solid propellant medium range ballisticmissile (MRBM). This system has a range of over 2000 km and travels at a speed of Mach 10(approximately 7612 mph) making it extremely difficult for some shipboard Close in WeaponsSystems (CIWS) to acquire, track and engage successfully. Since the warhead is arriving at theend of a ballistic arc instead of a flat trajectory as would a conventional ASM, CIWS would bechallenged with a target arriving at an angle anywhere from 20 degrees at long range to 45degrees at shorter range (Hobgood et al. 2009, 5). If this weapons system were coupled with thegrowing Chinese system of space-based and land-based sensors, the integrated system couldacquire, track, and engage targets at over-the-horizon distances exceeding 1000 miles. When 1
    • such integration is achieved, this system could significantly restrict U.S. naval operations duringa crisis in the Taiwan Straits and could threaten US assets in Okinawa and mainland Japan. Ballistic Missile Flight Envelope Most research and development into ballistic missile defense has concentrated oncountering strategic weapons such as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and wascentered on kinetic (direct strike) kills. While the DF-21 exhibits a flight envelope like any otherballistic missile during most of its flight, its ability to maneuver during the terminal phaseenormously makes present kinetic anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems unsuitable. The primarydifficulty in defending against a ballistic missile is the number of calculations necessary to strikeone object moving at hypersonic speeds with another object moving at hypersonic speeds.Modern digital computers have moved the solution closer to reality. The US Missile DefenseAgency (MDA) divides a ballistic missile flight into 4 main phases:  Boost Phase The missile boost phase is only from one to five minutes. It is the best time to track the missile because it is bright and hot. The missile defense interceptors and sensors must be within close proximity to the launch, which is not always possible. This is the most desirable interception phase because it destroys the missile early in flight at its most vulnerable point and the debris will typically fall on the launching nations territory.  Ascent Phase This is the phase after powered flight but before the apogee. It is significantly less challenging than boost phase intercepts, less costly, minimizes the potential impact of debris and reduces the number of interceptors required to defeat a raid of missiles.  Midcourse Phase This phase begins after booster burns out and begins coasting in space. This phase can last as long as 20 minutes. Any debris remaining will burn up as it enters the atmosphere. 2
    •  Terminal Phase This phase is the last chance to intercept the warhead. This contains the least-desirable Interception Point (IP) because there is little room for error and the interception will probably occur close to the defended target.Missiles are vulnerable to attack at any phase, but especially so during the launch and the boostand ascent portion of the midcourse phase.Figure 1: Typical ballistic missile flight envelope. Some systems arecapable of departing from a ballistic path during the descent phase andcan maneuver upon reentry (From Missile Defense 101: ICBMFundamentals 2007, 9). Prior to launch, if the location of the launcher is known, a strike on it and the associatedsupport equipment would stop the launch (known as “kill the archer, not the arrow”). However,killing the archer requires precision-guided munitions (PGMs) systems located at relatively closerange to a known target location, along with associated spaceborne or airborne sensor platforms.In the case of the DF-21, the use of transportable erectable launchers (TELs) dispenses with the 3
    • need to launch from prepared sites, further complicating the ability to employ “kill the archer”techniques. During the boost portion of the flight envelope the missile is easy to acquire since theexhaust plume is extremely bright to IR sensors. Since the missile and warhead are mated duringthis phase and are traveling in a more-or-less vertical manner, the target aspect is largest duringthis phase, improving the probability of the kill system acquiring the target. Also during thisphase the missile is traveling through a region of maximum dynamic pressure (max Q) duringwhich time the airframe stresses are at a maximum value.1 If engaged with a kinetic systemduring this phase, a hit anywhere on the missile would be sufficient to cause it to fail. The midcourse phase of the flight consists of ascending and descending portions. Duringthe ascending portion, the missile completes staging (if a multi-stage system) and final velocityis achieved (max ∆ v). The missile is no longer under powered flight and is coasting(decelerating) to the apex of its ballistic arc (apogee). At apogee, the missile’s velocity isinstantaneously 0. If the payload vehicle is not independently maneuverable, it will begin tofreefall (accelerating) in a mathematically-defined ballistic trajectory just as an artillery roundwould fall (this assumes a homogenous atmosphere). During the midcourse phase, the missile is vulnerable to attack at several points. Oncethe missile’s engine reaches burnout, velocity will continue to rise initially as the missile isentering a region of the atmosphere where drag is decreasing, but will then begin to slow untilreaching apogee when the instantaneous velocity is 0, essentially becoming a stationary target.Space dynamics are well understood, so as long as the missile is acquired, its subsequent ballistic1 Considering the definition of dynamic pressure: q = ρ v² / 2, where q is the aerodynamic pressure, ρ (rho) is the airdensity and v is the vehicle speed. 4
    • behavior (up to apogee) is reduced to a trajectory calculation. The trajectory calculation remainsvalid for the descending portion of the trajectory if the payload vehicle is not independentlymaneuverable. The intercept solution becomes much more complex if the missile carries amaneuverable reentry vehicle. The reentry path can be calculated only as a probability whoseboundaries are determined by the amount of reaction control system (RCS) propellant carried onboard and/or the limits of the flight control surfaces. Point to vary trajectory in mid- segment Apogee (∆v=0) Terminal guidance corrections applied Point of impact with terminal guidance X X’ corrections X” Point of impact Point of impact applied Launch site assuming a pure assuming mid-segment ballistic trajectory guidance correctionFigure 2: The ability to intercept a missile at X’ and X” represents a capability gap in existing (From Erickson and Yang, 2009). Again, just like a ballistic artillery round, these payloads will have a point of impact errorin both range and deflection (defined as Circular Error Probable, or CEP). In order to reduceCEP to the absolute minimum, a missile can deliver maneuverable reentry vehicles. Thesepayload vehicles have either an active target acquisition system on-board (radar, IR, video) orcan receive guidance corrections from an external sensor system (spaceborne sensors, over-the-horizon radar, AWACS). Once the guidance corrections are calculated, either on-board or 5
    • externally, the payload vehicle’s guidance computer system uses RCS thrusters while in thevacuum of space and/or a system of moveable control surfaces while in the sensible atmosphereto change its trajectory. While there are systems in the US inventory that are capable of intercepting simple, non-maneuvering ballistic threats during the descent or terminal portion of the midcourse phase, thereare no systems that have proven effective against maneuvering reentry vehicles during theterminal phase. At present, there is no comprehensive, integrated system capable of defeating aballistic missile threat during all points of the flight envelope. Existing Capabilities to Address the Threat Current US Ballistic Missile Defense Systems (BMDS) are based on a layered defensemodel. Each part of the system (both kinetic and sensor) are designed to acquire and attack anincoming missile at specific phases of the missile’s flight envelope. Some examples of currentand near-term weapons systems and sensor systems are shown in Table 1. System Name Phase FunctionWeapon Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) Boost InterceptSystem Airborne Laser (ABL) Boost Intercept Standard Missile (SM-3) Block 1A Midcourse Intercept Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC- Midcourse Intercept 3) SM-2 Block IVA (SM-T) Terminal Intercept Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Terminal Intercept (THAAD) Arrow Weapons System Terminal InterceptSensors Cobra Dane Radar Boost/Midcourse Detection/Tracking Cobra Judy Radar Boost/Midcourse Detection/Tracking Upgraded Early Warning Radar Boost/Midcourse Detection/Tracking AN/TPY-2 (Forward Base Mode) Boost/Midcourse Detection/Tracking 6
    • Sea Based X-Band Radar (SBX) Midcourse Detection/Tracking AN/SPY-1 Midcourse Detection/Tracking AN/TPY-2 (THAAD Mode) Terminal Detection/Tracking Green Pine Radar Terminal Detection/Tracking PAC-3 Radar Terminal Detection/Tracking Space Tracking and Surveillance All Detection/Tracking System (STSS) Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) All Detection/TrackingTable 1: Existing Ballistic Missile Defense Systems (From Hobgood et al., 2009). These current systems rely on a network of remote and on-board sensors to acquire, track and maneuver to intercept a ballistic threat. The Chinese DF-21 system has been designed to exploit shortcomings in the currently fielded systems. Using the example threat of a DF-21 system coupled with a fully-integrated sensor system, the missile could be traveling in excess of Mach 10 and could maneuver during the terminal portion of the flight, altering its aimpoint and ultimately forcing the current family of BMDS to estimate a false trajectory (Hobgood et al. 2009, 17). As there are systems that can engage a DF-21 during the flight envelope from launch to midcourse, this report concentrates on an intercept during the terminal phase. Terminal Phase Intercept The terminal phase is very short and begins once the missile reenters the sensible atmosphere. It is during this phase that the remains of the booster vehicle and any deployed decoys begin to burn up, leaving the hardened reentry vehicle. This phase is the final opportunity to make an intercept before the warhead reaches its target. A terminal phase intercept is the most difficult and most undesirable type of intercept. The computing power necessary to target a maneuvering vehicle during this phase is tremendous and the warhead will likely be near its intended target when (if) it is intercepted. 7
    • The warhead of a ballistic missile can contain one or multiple reentry vehicles(warheads). Typically, these warheads are ballistic (free-falling) and their accuracy is totallydependent on calculations made before launch. By contrast, the DF-21 system will employ amaneuverable reentry vehicle that can calculate and command course corrections to a target suchas a ship whose position has changed since launch. A Proposed System All of the weapons systems illustrated in Table 1, with the exception of the AirborneLaser (ABL), require the intercepting vehicle to maneuver in close proximity to the inboundwarhead to produce a kinetic kill. As stated, the use of maneuverable reentry vehicles during theterminal phase enormously complicates the intercept solution. What is needed is a way toengage the inbound warhead(s) during the terminal phase without having to calculate a preciseintercept trajectory. The desired point of attack for this proposed system is the DF-21’s terminalguidance system. One common feature of all maneuverable reentry vehicles is that they possess some sortof terminal guidance system, whether on-board through a guidance computer or remotelythrough a data/telemetry link. Early ballistic missiles such as the V-1 and V-2 of WWII used aclockwork mechanism for guidance, but most systems since that time rely on an electronicsystem (Neufeld 1995, 73). Electronic systems are susceptible to attack through a mechanism known as anElectromagnetic Pulse (EMP). In simplest terms, an EMP is a dramatic spike in induced currentthrough an electronic system that can physically damage it on the component level. Subjecting 8
    • the guidance system to the effects of a strong EMP will render it nonoperational, thus destroyingthe missile’s ability to maneuver to the target during the terminal phase. The advantage of an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) armed with an EMP warhead is that itdoes not have to impact with the incoming missile, so a precise trajectory calculation is notrequired. The EMP burst radius is a direct function of the electromagnetic power delivered at theinstant of warhead detonation. Simply stated, more power = larger kill radius. A generaldiscussion of EMP is found in Appendix A and a technical discussion of the means to generate anon-nuclear EMP can be found in Appendix B. One of the obstacles to employment of EMP weapons in the past has been the weight ofthe capacitors used to charge the EMP device. The introduction of lightweight ultracapacitorshas made it possible to equip current generation ABMs such as the PAC-3 or SM-2 block IVwith effective EMP warheads. A technical discussion of the capabilities of ultracapacitors isfound in Appendix B. The proposed system envisions the mating of an EMP warhead to a Navy StandardMissile-3 (SM-3), or an Army Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile providing bothland and sea-based capabilities. Flight guidance would be provided by existing AN/TPY-2 radarsystems operating in THAAD mode or by the PAC-3 fire control radar. The SM-3 is the Navy’s current midcourse ballistic missile interceptor. The SM-3 blockIB features enhanced capabilities and would be the desired candidate for fitting with an EMPwarhead. The block IB design includes an advanced, two-color, infrared seeker fordiscriminating targets at greater range. In addition, the missile is outfitted with a Throttleable 9
    • Divert and Attitude Control System (TDACS) that provides the warhead with greater agility,making it ideal for use against a maneuverable target (Hobgood et al. 2009, 57). Figure 3: SM-3 (Naval) Concept Architecture The Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) is the newest iteration of the Patriot missile,using kinetic kill technology to intercept and destroy tactical ballistic missiles. It is initiallyguided by the PAC-3 Fire Control Radar, but receives terminal guidance from an on-boardseeker. The seeker could be reconfigured to act as a proximity detection device to initiate theflux generator firing cycle. 10
    • Figure 4: PAC-3 (Surface) Concept Architecture Summary Future adversaries could have the means to render ineffective much of our current ability to project military power overseas. (A)ttacks with ballistic and cruise missiles could deny or delay U.S. military access to overseas bases, airfields and ports… New approaches for projecting power must be developed to meet these threats. -Quadrennial Defense Review Report, 30 SEP 2001 With the DF-21, China may have found an effective way of countering the military mightof the United States in the Taiwan Straits. The limitations of current U.S. legacy ABM systemscreate both a strategic and tactical vulnerability that must be aggressively addressed in order forthe U.S. to remain relevant in the Far East. The technologies exist to reliably counter the DF-21 11
    • and the similar systems that will undoubtedly follow it, what remains is the integration of thosetechnologies into a functioning ABM system. 12
    • Appendix A Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) One familiar example of an EMP is a lightning stroke that causes house lights to dim,flicker, or to go out for a short period. The lightning stroke induces a brief transient of highcurrent in the power lines which act as antennas. This current spike will cause overcurrent safetydevices (fuses, fusible links, etc.) to “trip out” in order to protect devices connected to the line.Power lines are engineered to routinely accept such induced surges and the protection devicesreset quickly. Using an EMP weapon as a way to “blind” an enemy’s electronics grew out of ananalysis of a nuclear weapon test. The Sandia National Laboratory conducted a study of earlynuclear test EMP effects. Its 1989 report stated “(i)n July 1962, a 1.44 megaton US nuclear testin space, 400 kilometers (250 mi) above the mid-Pacific Ocean, called Starfish Prime,demonstrated to nuclear scientists that the magnitude and effects of a high altitude nuclearexplosion were much larger than had been previously calculated. Starfish Prime also made thoseeffects known to the public by causing electrical damage in Hawaii, about 1445 kilometers(898 mi) away from the detonation point, knocking out about 300 streetlights, setting offnumerous burglar alarms and damaging a telephone company microwave link.” (Vittitoe 1989).The mechanism of damage to an electronic system by an EMP event is the fast risetimeassociated with the current surge. Electronic systems are engineered to “see” a gradual rise insignal level, and can even recover from an overcurrent event if the risetime-to-peak current isslow enough. However, as Figure 3 shows, an EMP overcurrent event rises from baseline topeak (Imax) almost instantaneously. Protection devices such as inrush current limiters, fuses, and 13
    • crowbar circuits cannot react fast enough, so the overcurrent propagates throughout the circuit,destroying it. C Imax u r r e n t Baseline current Time FigureSolid-state devices used theguidance systems such as t 3. A current spike. Note in almost vertical risetime. Transistors and integrated circuits are especially susceptible to damage from an EMPevent, due to their low current handling capabilities. Since there is also a magnetic fieldassociated with an EMP event, magnetic storage media used for trajectory calculations such aserasable programmable memories (EPROMs) and computer hard drives can also be corrupted.As an aside, obsolete electronics technologies such as vacuum tubes are generally immune fromEMP events since their current handling capacity is magnitudes greater than solid-state devices.Likewise, older media storage devices such as rope-core memories (such as used in the ApolloGuidance System) are resistant to induced magnetic fields (Hall 1996). 14
    • Appendix B Generating the Electromagnetic Pulse Until fairly recently, EMP generation has been associated with a nuclear detonation, butthere are non-nuclear ways of generating an EMP2. The concept of non-nuclear EMP wasstudied as far back as 1960, when it was postulated that explosive compression of an initialmagnetic flux-containing structure, such as a charged helical coil, would generate an EMP on theorder of 109 J (1,000,000,000, or 1 billion joules of energy3) (Fowler et al. 1975, 2). Such adevice is known as an Explosive Magnetic Flux Compression Generator, or more simply, a FluxCompression Generator. To understand how a flux generator works, a basic knowledge of electrical and magneticforces is required. Although there are other structures that will work, it is easiest to illustrateusing a helical coil as the flux-containing structure. If a coil is charged with electrical energyfrom a source of current, either a capacitor bank or a battery, a magnetic field (flux) is generated.If an explosive charge is placed so that the conducting surface containing the flux (here, the coilstructure) is driven by the explosive wave front, the result is an electromagnetic pulse deliveredto a load coil (antenna).2 An EMP generated by a nuclear event is a complex multi-part pulse consisting of the E1 (fast pulse), E2(intermediate pulse), and E3 (slow pulse). A non-nuclear EMP is not so complex, but at close ranges the mechanismof damage is the same. The difference in pulse types is due to the fact that nuclear events yield energies on the orderof one million times greater than a chemical energy yield of the same weight.3 A Joule is defined as the energy expended in passing an electric current of one ampere through a resistance of oneohm for one second. 15
    • Figure 4. A flux compression generator at rest. Borrowing terms from motor and generatorconstruction, the helical coil is referred to as a solenoid and the casing surrounding the explosivecharge is called an armature. Other non-moving parts of the structure are called stators.Figure 5. A flux compression generator at initiation. The detonation is timed so that the explosionwavefront opens the capacitor bank input at or near peak current. The wavefront propagates down thecoil, “driving” the conductors through the magnetic field. The load switch opens and the pulse isdelivered to the load coil. 16
    • Since non-nuclear EMPs are local in their effects, it is not necessary for the system toactually impact the incoming missile. While the mechanisms for generating a non-nuclear EMPare understood, there are several practical issues associated with delivering a workable system inan anti-ballistic missile (ABM) configuration. Chief among these issues is the weight associatedwith the warhead’s initial energy source, Initial Energy Sources and Weight Reduction The initial energy charge for the conductors of the generator can come from any ofseveral different sources. Options include capacitor banks, inductive stores, and battery banks(Fowler et al., 11). This discussion is limited to a consideration of capacitor banks. Typical high-energy density capacitors store energy at about 150 J/kg. Thus, to reach aninitial energy of 1 megajoule (106 J,) the initial charge capacitor bank alone would weighapproximately 6666 kg. By way of comparison, a Sprint ABM missile from the 1970’s weighed3500 kg, complete with a 1 kiloton W-66 nuclear warhead (Parsch, 2002). Rocket engines arenotoriously inefficient, having to lift their own fuel as well as their payload. While rocketengines exist that can boost such a payload, a lighter solution is needed. One possible solution is the Electric Double-Layer Capacitor (EDLC) or ultracapacitor.The energy density of EDLCs is on the order of hundreds of times greater than standard paste-filled electrolytic capacitors of the same mass. Thus, a 1 megajoule capacitor bank made ofEDLCs could weigh as little as 7 kg. The EDLC also has a fast discharge time due to its lowinternal resistance. Conventional capacitor discharge times are reduced as capacitance isdecreased; with an EDLC, high capacitance values and fast discharge times are both possible(Fowler et. al, 12). 17
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    • Vittitoe, Charles N., "Did High-Altitude EMP Cause the Hawaiian Streetlight Incident?" Sandia National Laboratories. June 1989.)Younger, Stephen et al. “Lab-to-Lab: Scientific Collaborations between Los Alamos and Arzamas-16 Using Explosive-Driven Flux Compression Generators.” Los Alamos Science 24 (1996): 48-71. 19