The 5 Most Terrifying Weapons Ever Created

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Like many people, I am fascinated by the human capacity for violence and destruction.  Now, the stuff you see on the news, fires, shootings etc. is all pretty morbid but it is nothing compared to what humans are really capable of if we put our minds to it.

You see, when I am surfing the web, it is inevitable that my ADD will kick in, and I will mindlessly click through Wikipedia for hours.  The information I found regarding some of mankind’s most awesome and destructive weapons was truly terrifying.  It is in our best interest as a species that most of these weapons are never used.

Yet while using them may be a terrible idea, sharing their destructive capabilities with the world isn’t.  The more you know about how terrible modern warfare is, the better.

5. Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier

I begin with a weapon that has already seen active duty for over 30 years.  The backbone of the US Navy, the Nimitz class is both massive in size and destructive power.  At over 1100 feet long and 100,000 tons fully loaded, the Nimitz class is capable of carrying 85 aircraft.  The ships feature twin nuclear reactors which don’t need to be refueled for 23 years, meaning that the Nimitz class ships feature a virtually unlimited range.  The massive destructive power of 85 jet fighter aircraft means that a single Nimitz class carrier is able to wage a war against a whole country and win.  A lone Nimitz class just showing up in a region is often enough to deter aggressors and influence global politics.  It’s that scary.

4. The Predator and Predator B (aka The Reaper)

Our next terrifying weapon isn’t terrifying because of its destructive power, size, or speed.  It is terrifying because of what it means for the future of mankind.  The Predator B or Reaper (pictured above) is the successor to the MQ-1 Predator, which has seen action in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bonsia, Serbia, Pakistan and Yemen.  The Predator is so significant and terrifying because it is the first unmanned aircraft ever to engage in armed combat (a Predator was shot down by an Iraqi Mig-25 after firing a missile at it in 2002).  If you don’t get how significant that is, think about this.

Robot wars.

Even though the Predator is remote controlled, it is the first step that I believe will eventually lead to robot warfare.

3. The Airborne Laser

Star Wars fans might like this one.  You see, The Galactic Empire had the Death Star, and now the American Empire has the YAL-1A Airborne Laser.

Where the Death Star was a moon sized space station with a planet destroying super laser, the YAL-1A is just a 747 with a really big laser mounted on the front.  Designed to shoot down enemy ICBMs from hundreds of miles away, the YAL-1A is revolutionary in its ability to destroy a high speed moving target at a massive distance instantly.

Picture this scenario.  The YAL-1A is flying hundreds of miles away from the battlefield over friendly airspace.  Troops on the ground call in an airstrike and radio GPS coordinates to the YAL-1A, which then immediately fires its laser delivering extremely precise killing power on target at the speed of light.  No waiting, no warning.

2. The Trident SLBM

So what could possibly be more terrifying than an unstoppable swarm of fighter jets, a killer robot plane, or a giant laser?  If your guess was “nuclear weapons” you would be correct.  The thing is though, nuclear weapons have come a long way since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.  This little thing called the Cold War meant the United States and Russia spent unfathomable ammounts of money to develop nuclear delivery systems and increase weapon yield.

The result of all of this research leaves us with the Trident II D5, which is a submarine launched ballistic missile.  Deployed by both the United States and United Kingdom, the Trident II is one of the most powerful weapons system in use today.  (America’s most powerful land based missile, the Peacekeeper was taken offline in 2005.)

The nuclear powered subs that carry the Trident are pretty terrifying as well.  Like the Nimitz class carrier, the American Ohio class and British Vanguard class subs have an unlimited range.  They can stay submerged and loiter next to a target almost indefinitely for they are limited only by food supplies.

When the sneaky subs actually fire a Trident II, things start to get really scary.  Propelled out of the submerged submarine and into the air by pressurized gasses, the Trident ignites only after it leaves the water.  The Trident II can then target anything within its 9000 mile range.

Each Trident II has eight independantly targeted reentry vehicles (called MIRVS).  Each RV contains a 475 kiloton thermonuclear warhead (the weapons detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki were 15 and 21 kilotons respectively).  This means that a single Trident is capable of destroying eight targets or completely incinerating one.  As the eight reentry vehicles streak back through the atmosphere towards their targets at hypersonic speeds, they create streaks of fire through the sky called the “Fingers of God.”  Each Trident II is capable of delivering a total of 3.8 Megatons of explosives.  Although the image below was taken during a test of the Peacekeeper missile, the effect is the same.  At the bottom each each “Finger of God,” try to imagine a thermonuclear explosion.

1. R-36 ICBM

Topping off my list is the Russian R-36, which like the Trident is a nuclear armed ballistic missile with intercontinental range.  Unlike the Trident, the R-36 is a landbased missile, which takes away some of the terrifying factor.  You ask then, what makes this the most terrifying weapon ever created?

It’s not very accurate.

Now I know you are thinking, “Why is a weapon that misses its target scary?”

During the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union were designing these things for the sole purpose of knocking out the enemies missiles so they couldn’t retaliate.  The US had the whole accuracy thing down so we didn’t have to worry about missing the Russian Silos.  The Russians on the other hand were having a problem hitting their targets, so their solution was to increase the ammount of nuclear ordinance on each missile.  Even if the missile was off by a few miles, the explosion would still be big enough to destroy the American silos.

Now, to create a bigger nuclear explosion, you need a bigger and heavier nuclear bomb.  To transport a bigger bomb, you need a bigger missile, and the R-36 is gigantic even when compared to America’s largest missile, the Peacekeeper.  Here you can see one sitting on a mobile launcher.

The missile was equipt with a few different warheads.  When it was originally deployed it came with a single 18 megaton (mk1) or 25 megaton warhead (mk2).  Click here to see what a 25 megaton blast radius would looks like over NYC. This is just the blast radius too.  Death and destruction due to radioactive fallout would be spread over an even larger area. To put that in perspective, the largest nuclear device ever detonated by the United States was 15 megatons, and the largest missile we ever deployed was armed with a nine megaton warhead.

Later mirved versions of the R-36 that were never deployed could feature up to 38 warheads (250 kilotons each) or 17 warheads (one megaton each).

The most terrifying part?  Lets say the Russians are aiming at a silo somewhere in the midwest and they hit Chicago.  Woops.

29 Responses to The 5 Most Terrifying Weapons Ever Created

  1. You left out the neutron bomb, a handy little device they decided was too devious to use (supposedly–you know we got a stash of them somewhere).

    A tactical nuclear bomb without nearly as much mass-destroying bang. All it destroys is life for about a 1/2-mile radius mostly leaving buildings and vehicles intact except at the point of the explosion. Plus the area of impact can be safely entered within a few hours. A major drawback for tactical purposes was that the humans in or near the kill zone wouldn’t die right away thereby limiting it’s immediate effectiveness.

  2. You left out the Bio Warfare side and the Soviets had what was called the planet buster (I believe). It scared them enough to start talks on nuclear reduction.

  3. As any list of this nature is subjective it is not surprising that not all agree with your choices. I would not say that the Predator and YAL-1A are terrifying. They might be in the long term, but now they are pretty useless as offensive weapons. In case you missed it, the YAL-1A functions by heating the targeted missile (or the air around it), so its “destructive power” against a different target, say a city would be to start some fires. Not quite as terrifying as biological weapons or Al’s neutron bomb. What about dirty bombs that are not too destructive, but will wreak havoc amongst civilians?

  4. The one obvious point missed about the Trident id that each submarine can carry up to 16 missiles. That leads to a possible 128 targets! The other point is that just how many subs are out there because Russia also has similar equipment.

  5. Number one should be biological weapons. Not only do they have the potentate to kill every one on the planet but whats even more scary is they can be targeted against specific races.

  6. Did you forget about the H-bomb? The ones tested in the Christmas islands in the 50’s were probably the most powerful devices ever exploded on our planet and we did it. What a “Great” legacy for future generations.

  7. Religion.. has killed more people than all of these combined, and continues to do so. Properly practiced, peaceful, we-are-all-siblings religions are not the problem – but that is in the minority. The kind that is practiced around most of the world – all of the major religions who continue to preach that their way is the ONLY way. How anyone can believe God favors one group of people over another group is beyond me. But Religion is hte scariest, and THAT should be number one on any list.

  8. Frigging Atheists, always pushing your agenda even when it is entirely inappropriate. Atheism IS the new religious oppression. Why don’t you go post some garbage on the evangelicalathiest dot com website. Isn’t that the most ironic title for an organisation you’ve ever heard?

  9. Yes! i agree with gk..

    How many people have already died for the sake of their religion…

    crusades,jihad,holocaust.. etc

    and yes! its MAN MADE!!

  10. Photoshopped.

    PS. God doesn’t exist. Both of you are stupid. I hope someone drops a Peacekeeper on your house.

  11. You guys are worried about these weapons?? I would be glad that WE have them. Even the military must “keep up with the Jones'” and in this case keeping up saves OUR lives and our freedom. okay?

  12. You might agree with gk, but my point is that that comment HAS NO PLACE in these comments. BTW, I’m not religious, I’m just tired of Atheists who think that anyone religious is responsible for mass murder and is stupid. And they will choose ANY venue to push their beliefs, just like their much hated evangelical religious brethren. You are not better than the Jesus freaks or Jihadi Muslimismites. What about the Atheists who have murdered religious people (Communist Russia anyone??)

  13. The YAL-1 airborne laser is not designed to hit ground targets. It’s strictly an anti-missile weapon. What it does is heat up the shell of a missile, weakening or fatiguing it so that the high altitude or flight stress will cause the missile to fail (mostly by coming apart).

    It’s impressive and scary-sounding but its heating capability is far too marginal to do much of anything to a ground target. The only reason it will do anything to a missile in mid-flight is because the missile is at altitude and flying at high speed. Without these factors to help the laser does nothing significant.

  14. The worst weapon of mass destruction is the American Financial Industry, followed closely by the Military Industrial Complex.

    Not even Bin Laden with a nuke could cause as much damage as the two above entities.

  15. Exactly the point. If it hadn’t been for their fool religion, they wouldn’t have been killed.

  16. I’ve got to agree that religion is one of the most terrifying weapons ever created. And I’m speaking as a Christian strong in faith.

  17. Regarding the Nimitz class, while a fantastic aircraft carrier, seriously, I’m thinking torpedoes…. some of those babies are nuclear tipped too!

    The reason no-one is building large superscale aircraft carriers anymore is because they are such great targets in todays modern world of warfare. The UK is constructing aircraft carriers but these are more towards sea to land deployment and amphibious assault.

    America maintains these moster carriers more as a show of force rather than for any military purpose. The Japanese learnt this lesson during the Battle of the Pacific in WWII.

  18. anthrax, bio-bombs, dirty bombs, etc.
    biological warfare is the scariest weapon to me.
    Also i disagree with the whole religion thing, it was the people who killed not the religion. remember that

  19. Nature itself is a constant evolving process of defense and predation strategies and anatomical and physiological adaptions including speed, size, sight, the use of poisons and stings, camouflage, smell, heat detection, growth and birth rates, seasons for mating, seasons to abstain, mimicry, etc. It occurs in the plant kingdom as well as the animal realm, even in a peaceful forest we perceive a brief moment in a protracted slow motion struggle between trees, vines, ferns, etc. for sunlight.
    Ever since the first primitive man threatened his neighbor, an on going arms race has occurred by some for defense, by others to initiate force for to pillage and or rule over them. If the best minds of the still freest nation in the world, the USA, can devise the most intimidating and destructive weapons and always stay ahead of our aspiring destroyers, that is the good by any rational standard.

  20. Cowards.

    At any other time in history, in virtually any country/civilization/tribe on earth, you’d be the first to die.

  21. You’ve got some pretty heavy duty equipment there fella. Now, if you would put up one little old picture of about a 1939-2008 Cat Bulldozer, you’d have a pic of a little bitty machine that has created more distruction than all that stuff you have there!! I’m not anti Cat or anti ‘dozer; I have been known to make a living with them, but lets get things in perspective! They are powerful and destructive!!