The U.S. has microwave weapons that proponents believe could stop North Korea from launching missiles by frying their electronics.
The microwave weapons, known as CHAMP, for Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project, are fitted into an air-launched cruise missile and delivered from B-52 bombers. With a range of 700 miles, they can fly into enemy airspace at low altitude and emit sharp pulses of microwave energy to disable electronic systems.
"These high-powered microwave signals are very effective at disrupting and possibly disabling electronic circuits," said Mary Lou Robinson, who heads development of the weapons at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Albuquerque, in an exclusive interview with NBC News.
Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula, who ran the air wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and retired as the head of Air Force intelligence, said he believed the U.S. could use an HPM to disable a ballistic missile on a North Korean launch pad, and that there are many advantages to using microwave weapons in a North Korean scenario.