At level 45 a new piece of equipment becomes available from Space Commendations. EMP Generators allegedly cause a large amount of damage to anything (friend and foe) nearby, in a heroic explosion centred on self.
Just … how large is that explosion?
Well… “quite big, but not as large as I would like it to be” is going to be the answer for now.
For reference, I’ve taken two screenshots:
For practise, I chose the Jabim Escort. There is a cruiser type ship near the end of the mission (one of two, actually). The EMP blast was triggered as soon as my ship moved in parallel with the cruiser. Distance wise this is just before the second set of turrets from the back.
As shown here (this is the pass over the bow of the cruiser), the “closer to centre” turrets have all been destroyed, the very front one are still intact. This basically means that one EMP blast destroyed 18 turrets in total (three sets of three each side) when triggered between the last and second group. Another practise run might allow triggering it between the middle sets and getting all of them.
Useable against fighters?
Well yes, it is. They detonate nicely. However, it’s not useful when they are only a blip of light – they need to be actually distinguishable as ships (on my graphics settings), which makes EMP moderately useless in settings with lots of oncoming fighters.
Also… they were not kidding when they said it damages your friends. In the escort mission above, this cost me roughly 20% of my shuttles health. Could be tricky.