Electromagnetic pulse

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There is more information available on this subject at Electromagnetic pulse on the English Wikipedia.
A Type-26B Banshee GSA when hit by the EMP effect of an overcharged Type-25 plasma pistol.

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is the electromagnetic radiation from an explosion (especially a nuclear explosion) or an intensely fluctuating magnetic field caused by Compton-recoil electrons and photoelectrons from photons scattered in the materials of the electronic or explosive device or in a surrounding medium. While organic tissue is unaffected, the resulting electric and magnetic fields may couple with electrical/electronic systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges. The effects are usually not noticeable beyond the blast radius unless the device is nuclear or specifically designed to produce an electromagnetic shockwave. An alternate definition is: a broadband, high-intensity, short-duration burst of electromagnetic energy.

The worst of an electromagnetic pulse generally only lasts for a second, but any unprotected electrical equipment will be affected by the pulse.[1]

Notable examples[edit]

There have been several noteworthy instances in which an EMP has appeared.


EMP is also an in-game effect in the Halo games, that disables energy shields and vehicles. It is produced by certain weapons and equipment.

  • In Halo 2, the Sentinels sometimes emit an EMP when destroyed. This effect disables shields, but vehicles are unaffected.
  • In Halo 3, the power drain uses EMP to disable shields, vehicles and other power sources.
  • The overcharged blast from a Type-25 and Type-54 plasma pistol will temporarily disable vehicles and energy shields.
  • In Halo Wars, Professor Anders' vehicle, the Gremlin, uses an EMP cannon as its main armament to disable enemy ground vehicles. It is vital in the level Shield World, temporarily disabling Forerunner pylons to buy the player time to complete their mission.
  • In Halo Wars, the Vampire's stasis cannon uses EMP as well to drain power from enemy aircraft.
  • In Halo: Reach, armor lock can trigger an EMP after use, which can take out a Spartan's shields. Combined with a quick and accurate melee, this can result in an almost instant kill.
  • In Halo: Reach the M319 grenade launcher has a secondary function that acts like an EMP. It awards a player an EMP Blast Medal when it kills an enemy, being the only other weapon in the game that awards the medal.
  • In Halo 2: Anniversary the bases on the map Bloodline have consoles that allow players to activate an EMP around the area. This can be made in a Forge map too.
  • In Halo 5: Guardians the Echidna can EMP targets.
  • In Halo 5: Guardians Hannibal Mantis can EMP targets with its stomp attack.
  • In Halo Wars 2 Spirit of Fire's MAC has been upgraded with EMP capabilities to disable Sentinel defenses at the Forerunner Conduits near the Cartographer and also outside of the Map Room itself. The EMP is the only in-game weapon that can defeat the Sentinel Swarms and was created by Professor Ellen Anders and Isabel. In-game this is referred to as the EMP MAC. After initially being fired under Isabel's control, it becomes a Leader power for its subsequent uses.
  • In Halo: Spartan Assault, an EMP Blast stuns all ally and enemy units around the EMP radius.
  • In Halo: Spartan Strike, throwing an EMP Grenade will cause the enemies to be stunned, rendering them unable to attack or move temporarily.


  • If you disable a vehicle using an EMP, it will show an animation of some sparks flying around, but if you disable it again before it is drivable then the animation will stop and the vehicle will not work.
  • Some vehicles disabled by an EMP will still have full functionality of its weapons if it has any. For example, if an M12 Warthog is disabled by an EMP, the turret will still be able to turn around and shoot. Likewise, a Type-26 Banshee, while grounded, will still be able to boost and perform tricks.


List of appearances[edit]