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Nod EMP Cannon

A TWII Nod EMP Cannon.

Into darkness!
- Enlightened (TWIII) launching an EMP strike
TS EM Pulse Cameo
CNCKW EMP Blast Cameo

An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is a powerful burst of electromagnetic radiation from an explosion or energy field that causes damage to electronic devices via a sudden power surge. Introduced the Second Tiberium War, GDI and Nod have since looked into numerous ways to harness EMPs as a way of disrupting enemy military equipment in a controlled manner. In an alternate timeline, some generals also looked into this technology as a means to grind armored offensives to a halt.


The technological advances of both GDI and Nod meant that their vehicles were designed well enough to survive an EMP attack. However, while such an attack would not prove fatal to electrical systems, they still rendered the target offline for a few seconds as the system dealt with the abrupt power surge. This was a vulnerability that was never satisfactorily solved, and this effect was deemed strategically useful enough to allocate more resources into its research.

When struck by an EMP, mechanical assets cease functioning for a few seconds. While this sounds inconsequential, these few seconds of vulnerability allowed their enemies to rip into the immobilized assets with zero fear of retaliation, even by the heaviest and strongest of vehicles. Though an EMP attack on ground forces was a hindrance at best, the same attack on an aerial unit was a death sentence. With the aircraft's means of propulsion and levitation offline, the unit often crashed into the ground to lethal effect.

It was worth noting that EMP weapons had absolutely no effect on infantry. As such, it was often wiser to complement them with more conventionally-armed vehicles, though most EMP-capable weapons in later conflicts had additional weaponry to seize upon the vulnerability imposed anyway.

Second Tiberium War[]

EMP Cannons & Mobile EMPs[]

By the time of the Second Tiberium War, GDI had managed to harness EMPs in a controlled enough manner to be cleared for combat. They developed massive platforms for this exact purpose, dubbed "EMP cannons", which could fire a widespread EMP burst at the target location. By the time of the Firestorm Conflict and CABAL's attempted extermination of humanity, GDI had managed to miniaturize this technology to an extent that it could be fitted onto treads and a mobile chassis. The mobile EMP, as it was called, proved to be quite the asset against CABAL's mechanized cyborg legions and salvaged GDI operations at least twice in the conflict.

Core Defender[]

CABAL, with its extreme intelligence, knew that the destruction of its core meant the end of its processing and all of its plans. As such, it secretly designed and constructed a hulking behemoth of a walker known only as the "Core Defender". In addition to being able to absorb massive amounts of damage, it was immune to EMP-based attacks. This made the fight far more difficult for GDI commanders, as they were unable to immobilize and attack it while its cannons and targeting systems were disabled.

Interim & Third Tiberium War[]

EMP Control Centers[]


EMP control centers can unleash EMP blasts upon enemies.

Toward the end of the Second Tiberium War, GDI constructed EMP control centers in major Yellow Zone cities and some Blue Zones in an attempt to halt Nod's advances in those regions. The theory was that a volunteer civilian crew could rush into the control center and unleash an EMP blast onto advanced Nod forces, a theory that was decent but never truly came to fruition. Nod fractured after the end of the Firestorm Conflict, with Kane's chosen stand-in Anton Slavik assassinated at the hands of a rival leader and the rest of the organization falling apart soon after. With Nod activity declining rapidly in the following years, finally bottoming out at zero, the popular opinion within GDI was that Nod had finally fallen for good, and the zeal of the volunteer groups waned drastically. However, these buildings remained fully functional, and the trained personnel deployed by both, and later all three sides of the ensuing Third Tiberium War were able to capture them and bring them back online.

GDI Research Efforts[]


Shockwave Artillery can be used to stop groups of vehicles in their tracks.

GDI continued its efforts into EMP technology, and made several breakthroughs by the onset of the Third Tiberium War. Their orbital assets were equipped with EMP-based slugs, and the weapon, dubbed the "Shockwave Artillery", could pound and immobilize entire columns of enemy armor out of nowhere with no way to resist it.

GDI's expertly trained Grenadier Squads could also be fitted with EMP grenades to be used in parallel with their normal explosive munitions. These grenades allowed them to serve in a support capacity against enemy armor, and had a reasonable spread (and therefore range). However, Grenadiers attached to GDI's armor-specialized division, the Steel Talons, were not equipped with these grenades to allocate more resources to the development of their mechanized armor.

The Steel Talons, in turn, managed to develop a method of resisting EMP weapons to a limited extent. Their specially designed Titans and modified Mammoth-27s could be fitted with additional protection systems, more commonly referred to as "Adaptive Armor". These protection systems could only be activated for a limited time before requiring a recharge, though when active they can nullify EMP attacks (among other things).

Nod Research Efforts[]

Raider Buggy

Raider buggies can mount optional EMPs to disable tanks.

Nod witnessed the tactical advantages that EMP weapons had conferred upon GDI during the Second Tiberium War, and began research into the department themselves. This eventually culminated in an additional module that could be installed on Nod's newly developed Raider Buggies, dubbed "EMP Coils". These allowed the light vehicles to rush up to enemy armor and unleash a EMP blast, disabling it but, more importantly, nearby enemy vehicles too. This tactic could be effectively used against even the most fearsome units deployed throughout the conflict, as they too were not fitted with any sort of countermeasures against EMP weapons.

The Marked of Kane's extensive research into cyborg technology also raised the important issue of how they would counter vehicles. As the Marked's troops were mainly infantry, merely cutting through armor often proved to be inadequate to outpace GDI's heavily armored forces and the Scrin's enigmatic but undeniably powerful troops. Marked of Kane engineers eventually managed to solve this issue by inventing a portable EMP, which was fixed onto one of the arms of their infantry for ready use. Both the Awakened and the Enlightened could fire off an EMP burst at nearby opponents, which were equally potent as their buggy-mounted counterparts and could hold enemy armor down to be rent apart by the cyborgs themselves.

The Temples of Nod deployed by all Nod forces additionally contained extremely advanced systems. In addition for having the command, control, and launch systems for entire nuclear missiles, they were also capable of restoring power to all Nod forces deployed in the area should their systems suffer an artificial failure. As such they were a sort of counter to EMP-based attacks, though their longer gaps between usages meant that they were typically only used to salvage more critical situations.

Scrin Harvesting Force Weapons[]

CNCKW Attenuated Forcefields

Certain Scrin ground units can equip forcefields to protect themselves from EMPs.

Very little was known about the forces of the Scrin, even after their units were destroyed and their wreckages studied. However, it was known by the forces who encountered them that the Scrin had incorporated some variation of EMP technology on their heavy walkers, the Annihilator Tripod (and their Reaper-17 counterparts, the Reaper Tripod). Curiously, the effect was only active against targets at close range, though in such a scenario any who were struck by its sweeping beams would be immediately disabled and the survival rates of vehicle crews in such a situation was not high.

The Scrin additionally deployed a similar weapon that had similar paralyzing effects, known only to human forces as the "Stasis Shield". These affected entire portions of the battlefield, and froze all units (friendly or hostile) caught within its radius. However, this power has the additional effect of rendering the affected units immune to attack, and due to this and that their non-electromagnetic nature (the shield also affected infantry), they were not considered an example EMP weaponry.

The Scrin were also capable of fixing their mechanized forces with various forcefields. Those that applied to light ground vehicles were referred to as "Attentuated Forcefields", while the "Forcefield Generators" affixed to Scrin aircraft and tripods served an identical purpose, though for different units. These shields absorbed the impact of all weapons deployed in the conflict, and were additionally capable of absorbing a single EMP blast. Due to how Reaper-17's forces were expected to see more brutal combat that required superior survivability, their harvesters (known rather straightforwardly as "Shielded Harvesters" by human forces) were inherently equipped with shields that performed identically to those that could be fitted to their battle units.

Fourth Tiberium War[]

GDI Application of EMPs[]

The sealed suits of GDI's most elite infantry, the Zone Captains, appeared to have some connection with the updated model of the Ion Cannon Control Center. In the event that one was constructed on the current field of operations, the Zone Captains' attacks gained EMP effects to complement their damage. Due to how the deployment of vehicles was far more widespread than in previous conflicts (only the Defensive classes typically deployed infantry), the impact of these EMP attacks were all the more devastating to the pushes and pulls of the vehicles in the tide of war.

Nod Application of EMPs[]

The Scorpion Tank of the Fourth Tiberium War were utilized by this era's Scorpion Tank. Utilizing an inbuilt EMP generator, the vehicle paralyzed smaller to medium-sized vehicles, and then ripped them apart with its Obelisk-derived laser cannon armed on its tail. These allowed them to effectively demolish vehicles with minimal risk and proved to be a major annoyance to enemy commanders.

Generals Universe[]

American Superweapon General[]

While mainline American forces and General Granger saw the standard missile-fueled Patriot Missile Batteries, the Americans' Superweapon General, Alexis Alexander, saw room for improvement. To halt the armored advances of GLA attacks or the massive columns of Ta Hun Kwai should the USA-PLA alliance sour, her batteries' missiles had EMPs incorporated into their warheads to disable enemy armor and, if they were close enough to a structure for some reason, base facilities too.


EMP Pulse Impact (Generals)

Chinese EMP Pulses can disable entire bases.

Chinese forces also made significant progress into the research category of EMPs. To counter the massive mechanized columns of any potentially rogue Chinese generals, or to weaken military complexes in general, sufficiently honored Chinese generals were authorized to call in a heavy bomber that would drop a massive EMP bomb on the target location. It had an impressive blast radius, and was quite literally capable of blacking out entire bases with a single use.

All Chinese generals were additionally authorized to deploy their special operatives, codenamed "Black Lotus", in heated combat situations. While they did not strictly utilize EMP weapons, they were all the same capable of disabling a target enemy vehicle with their superior hacking skills while remaining undetected. Specialized Hackers trained specially by these operatives and deployed by China's Infantry General, "Anvil" Shin Fai, were also capable of performing such feats.


All auxiliary support aircraft deployed during the conflict, regardless of their side's capabilities, were curiously immune to EMPs. As they only entered the battlefield to perform a specific task, presumably all forces made sure to equip their bombers and support aircraft with such countermeasures to ensure they performed their task and to improve their chances of survival.


While the effects of EMP weapons are not very useful on their own, being able to only slow an invasion at best, units with such weapons make excellent complements to more conventionally armed units.

They are most ideally used against massed vehicular assaults. Shutting them down allows other units to move in for the kill without fear of retaliation, and allows even a small team of troopers that would have otherwise been easily killed to cut through a massive horde of vehicles with minimal injury. They also make excellent counters to aircraft, as the impact of an EMP is enough to instantly kill any aircraft.

EMPs curiously also often served as a solid counter to heavy vehicles. The most advanced armor rolled out by all forces often suffered from a slower speed to compensate for their heavy armor and advanced weapon systems. This also meant that they were far less likely to evade EMP attacks, and would subsequently be ground down by methodically deployed forces.

Certain vehicles are often a great enough threat on their own to warrant the micromanagement of EMPs. The colossal Mammoth Mk. II's extremely heavy armor and all-purpose railgun made them a credible threat to all ground forces, and nearly any advantage in a battle against it should be seized upon. The spiritual successors to the enormous power of the Mammoth Mk. II, informally known as "epic units", also had a massive number of hitpoints and powerful weapons that could easily rend individual units of any besides those of its own class and were capable of disassembling even formations of massed vehicles.


The most frustrating vulnerability of EMP weapons was its lack of effect on infantry. Since all human forces correspondingly deployed human foot soldiers (and the Scrin appeared to deploy similarly organic creatures), there were no electronics to jam. Even infantry clad in powered armor, such as the Zone Troopers, were somehow immune to its effects, and their powerful weapons could make any enemy regret such an assumption. The only exception to this rule was cyborg infantry, whose nearly entirely mechanical bodies were vulnerable to such electronic attack.

Certain mechanic units, too, were immune to the effects of EMPs. These were mostly noncontrollable support units, such as the tactical bombers spawned by support powers in Generals, but some such as the Core Defender actively engaged in combat with EMP immunity. In terms of units that could be fielded and commanded in normal circumstances, the Steel Talons' Titans and Mammoths could be upgraded with Adaptive Armor which, while active, made the vehicle immune to EMPs. The Scrin were also capable of fitting certain aircraft (and, in Kane's Wrath, certain ground units) with forcefields that absorbed damage or one EMP blast. Their Reaper-17 subsect fielded Shielded Harvesters, which inherently had such a forcefield.

Most superweapon platforms in nearly all Command and Conquer games serve no purpose other than to act as a launch facility for their respective WMD. However, one of the few exceptions to this rule was the Temple of Nod in Tiberium Wars, which could restore the power of and remove the EMP effect from all forces under their player's command. While this did have a cooldown after its usage, they were an extremely effective counter to EMP attacks, and could remove the effect in regardless of the blackout's size or its location on the battlefield.

For most units, their options were far more limited. They could be ordered to spread out in a looser formation, which somewhat neutralized the area-of-effect nature of EMP attacks. However, this posed the additional issues of hampered combat performance (less units are able to attack an enemy formation at a given time), and such commanding requires far more micromanagement.

To counter the salvos launched by the Superweapon General's EMP Patriot Batteries, it is possible to utilize the vulnerability presented by the missile-based package that the EMP damage is "packed" in. American point-defense technology is capable of intercepting and destroying these missiles before they impact. While not perfect, they are capable of screening out a large portion of the missiles and, in larger numbers, can completely nullify entire salvos with little chance for failure. Paladins, Avengers, and all of Granger's non-Comanche aircraft are armed with such defensive systems. However, note that it takes but one missile impact to disable the defending system and the rest of the missiles are almost certain to land. For aircraft, it takes but one missile to make it through to completely eliminate it; however, the chance of survival for Granger's already point-defense protected aircraft is further increased by the Countermeasures upgrade, which further decreases the chance of the missiles' impact.

Note that, while aircraft will be dealt a killing blow if struck by even one EMP-based projectile or blast, many cannot affect aircraft in the first place.