We are in the era of nuclear bombs and missiles. Inter-Continental Ballistic missiles are the future of missile technology. Countries like Russia, China and, USA have some of the world’s most powerful missiles. During World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union were in the arms race producing huge numbers of defense materials. Now for the peace of the world, nations have signed various treaties to stop or decommission the existing nuclear weapons and nuclear bombs. But, there are still huge numbers of missiles and nuclear bombs in stock and more of these are produced each year.
Which are the world’s most powerful missiles? Which are the most feared missiles in the world? World’s most powerful ICBMs can be determined based on its striking capabilities, amount of destruction it can cause, the technology used and it’s range.
Here is the list of top 10 most powerful missiles in the world with nuclear capabilities:
10. R-29RMU2 Layner – 11,000 – 12,000 km
Country – Russia
R-29RMU2 Layner is one the world’s most powerful Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile that can carry 12 nuclear warheads with a maximum range of 12,000 km. The missile is deployed in the Russian Navy from 2014. The
R-29RMU2 Layner derives its design from R-29RMU Sineva SLBM. The missile is 10 times more powerful and has three times more capacity than R-29RMU Sineva.
The Layner missile is a highly advanced derivative of the three-stage liquid-propelled R-29RMU Sineva SLBM. The missile is capable of striking multiple targets individually at the same time. The missile’s high payload enables it to pierce any anti-ballistic missile system in the world. The missile developed by Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau describes the missile as the best of its kind in the world.
9. DF-5 – 15,000 km
Country – China
DF-5 or Dongfeng is a series of powerful ICBM from China. The nuclear-powered missile can be deployed anywhere on earth from China. The 183 tonnes heavy missile has a tremendous range of 13,000-15,000 km. The missile is in service from 1981.
One of the biggest disadvantages of this missile is, it takes more than 30 to 60 minutes to fuel. China also has an improved version of this missile named DF-5B. China is planning even higher by upgrading DF-5 with modern DF-41. DF-5 is the first missile to truly threaten the United States.
8. M51 SLBM – 10,000+
Country – France
M51 is considered as the most powerful Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile. The powerful missile is deployed with the French Navy. The missile has a target range of 11,000 km that entered service in 2010. M51 has greater strike capabilities and range than its predecessors.
This missile gives hints about the first strike capabilities of France. M51 is one of the most feared Inter-Continental Ballistic missiles in the world. The missile can be equipped with 6 to 10 warheads and heavy penetration aids. The missile is also equipped with powerful navigational systems and supercomputers to hit targets accurately.
7. RS-28 Sarmat – 10,000 km
Country – Russia
RS-28 Sarmat is a heavy Inter-Continental Ballistic missile developed by Russia and used by Russian Strategic Missile Troops. The liquid propelled, MIRV equipped heavy thermonuclear missile that can carry up to 10 heavy nuclear warheads with a classified range of 10,000 km.
Since 2009, the missile was under active development and research to replace the SS-18 Satan missiles. In 2018, Sarmat ICBM was unveiled by president Vladimir Putin as one of the six new Russian strategic weapons. It is aimed to defeat any antimissile systems and is heralded by the Russian military as a response to the U.S. Prompt Global Strike.
The missile is equipped with systems that can confuse enemy missile defense systems. The highly classified project of Sarmat is targeted to equip the Russian military with modern ICBMs by 2020.
6. Jericho III – 11,500 km
Country – Israel
Jericho III is the most powerful version of nuclear-armed ICBM from Israel that entered service in 2011. Officially this nuclear-armed missile is believed to have a range up to 6500 km, but according to a survey by Congressional Research Service the range of this missile could possibly be 11,500 km.
This nuclear missile is capable of hitting targets anywhere in the Middle East, Africa, the whole of Asia, Europe and parts of North America and South America sitting in Israel. The missile can carry payloads of more than 1,000 kg and hit heavy against any anti-missile systems. Few variations of Jericho are also licensed to the Republic of South Africa.
5. UGM-133 Trident II – 12,000 km
Country – United Kingdom
UGM-133 Trident II is the most powerful submarine-launched ICBM in the world. The missile is deployed with U.S. Navy that has a range of 12,000 km. Since its design in 1989, the missile has completed more than 150 successful test flights. The durable sea-based missile system is capable of engaging multiple targets with great accuracy.
The missile is considered the most modern submarine-launched missile outside of the Russian Bulava. The Trident D5LE (life-extension) version will remain in service until 2042. The Trident-D5 is jointly used by the United Kingdom and the United States. There are many ongoing programs to upgrade the missile for more GPS accuracy and range.
4. Dongfeng-41 (DF-41, CSS-X-10) – 12,000–15,000 km
Country – China
DF-41 is China’s most powerful nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile that has a range of about 12,000-15,000 km. The missile is feared to be the most threatening nuclear missile in the world. The nuclear missile is capable of hitting any parts of the United States from China.
The missile was tested successfully on Aug 6, 2015, with two guided simulated nuclear warheads. This successful testing was the fourth time in the past three years. The MIRV technology induction to the missile was in response to United States’ deployment of the United States national missile defense system which degrades China’s nuclear deterrence capability. According to the U.S. intelligence agency, the solid-fueled road-mobile ICBM is capable of carrying 150-300 kilotons yield thermonuclear warheads per missile.
3. RS-24 Yars – 11,000 km
Country – Russia
RS-24 is an advanced version of Topol-M ICBMs from Russia. Topol-M was the first to be developed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. According to Russia Topol-M was designed to tackle any current or planned U.S. missile defense systems. The missile is known for its evasive maneuvers to avoid kills.
One of the Topol-M’s most notable features is its short engine burn time following take-off, intended to minimize satellite detection of launches and thereby complicate both early warning and interception by missile defense systems during boost phase. The missile is known to change its trajectory after its launch making it difficult to predict its path. RS-24 is heavier than Topol-M and can carry 10 individually targetable warheads. The missile is operational since 2010.
2. LGM-30G Minuteman-III – 13,000 km
Country – USA
Minuteman-III is the only long-range intercontinental ballistic missile operational with the U.S. defense forces. The Minuteman-III is the second most powerful ICBM in the world and can give a tough competition to Russia’s R-36M2 missiles. The silo-based rocket missile will be operational till 2030 by the United States Air Force. There are more than 400 missiles in reserve with the United States forces. The missile is fitted with powerful warheads and penetration aids for maximum deterrent power.
1. R-36M2 – 10,200–16,000 km
Country – Russia
R-36 is the most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile in the world. R-36 family of ICBMs was created during the cold war by the Soviet Union due to the race to create more and more missiles. The heavy-duty nuclear-capable ballistic missile has a target range of 10,200 to 16,000 km. Some of the variants of the missile such the R-36M2 can carry as many as 10 warheads and up to 60 penetration aids.
These missiles are actually capable of carrying more warheads. Certain U.S. analysts predict that this missile is having the first-hand strike over the U.S. due to its power and range. This missile was tested in January 1971 during the cold war period.
According to certain resources, a single missile can destroy three states of the U.S. and due to its high-speed, the missile is difficult to intercept. This missile is considered dangerous and deadly for its extremely high throw weight (10 tons) and powerful detonation capabilities. These missiles life are extended for operational service till 2019 and Russia is expected to replace these variants with the new heavy Sarmat.