Q. re. the Enola Gay & Bock's Car

When the two US Bombers dropped a-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, why didn’t the EMP knock out the engines and electronics on the aircraft?

Yes, I appreciate the irony of my screenname connected to this OP.

Seems Wiki has your answer:


Atmosphere does much to slow down charged electrons. The EMP generated by any ground or low-altitude burst does not extend far enough beyond the thermal/radiation destruction. Essentially, your aircraft/vehicle is likely to be damaged by blast, thermal or (in case of passengers) radiation at the same distances that EMP could affect your vehicle. You don’t notice your watch has stopped when your arm is on fire :).

EMP becomes an operational and even strategic threat at very high altitudes-- tens to hundreds of kilometers.

D’oh, Whack-a-Mole beat me to it!

That Wiki article has the other reason: vacuum tubes, which aren’t nearly as affected by EMP.

One of the side perks of “old” Soviet technology-- for example, their then-modern MiG-25 high-altitude interceptor used vacuum tubes, much to the surprise of Western observers after they obtained a defector’s aircraft to examine.

The tubes gave the aircraft some resilience in an EMP environment.

So bitter that other posters beat me to this…

The only essential electrical components on B-29 engines would have been the magnetos. These are simple and probably not very susceptible to EMP.