Can EM pulses knock planes out the sky?
If an aeroplane were caught in an EMP strike, it could destroy all its guidance, navigation and communication systems making it virtually impossible to fly. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a burst of high-energy photons. A flash of light is also a burst of photons, but visible light photons have much lower frequency and energy than the photons found in an EMP. When you detonate a nuclear bomb in the atmosphere, the high-energy gamma rays ionise the air molecules and essentially cause a massive EMP. The USA has developed specialised EMP weapons designed to create a more focused pulse over a smaller area.
Answered by Luis Villazon