Accession Number:



Impact of EMP on Air Operations

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

Air Command and Staff College, Air University Maxwell AFB United States

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


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The Defense Threat Reduction Agency has developed and published a standard that addresses protecting aircraft from the effects of electromagnetic pulse while in flight. With a requirement to be compliant with this standard for all critical weapon systems, the C-17 remains untested. The significant delay in meeting the standard has produced the possibility of an interim solution. Using the problemsolution framework I have proposed three alternatives, maintain the existing timeline for compliance and do nothing, make flight publication procedure changes that do not require structural changes to the aircraft, or begin taking the necessary steps to come into compliance with the published standard. The criteria used to analyze the alternatives were cost, implementation practicality, and technical feasibility. Although access to specific budget details was not available, estimates were sufficient enough to consider each of the alternatives and identify a least and most expensive solution. With consideration given for the likelihood of an EMP event that would threaten an inflight C-17, there was not enough evidence to force a change to the current EMP testing and hardening schedule.

Subject Categories:

  • Electromagnetic Pulses
  • Transport Aircraft

Distribution Statement: