5 ICBMs that could end the world: A look at the most deadly missiles in existence
Ballistic missiles are long-range missiles that are guided during their ascent but follow a ballistic trajectory during the middle part of their flight before re-entering the Earth's atmosphere to strike their intended target. They can be armed with conventional or nuclear warheads and have been used as strategic weapons by various nations throughout history.
Among these mighty weapons, five are considered the most potent of all, the “Trident II,” RS-24 “Yars,” LGM-30G “Minuteman III,” Dongfeng-41, and RS-28 “Sarmat.”
These intercontinental ballistic missiles were developed by different countries and are considered some of the most effective and destructive weapons.
But what do you know about them? Let’s have a look at them in turn.
The “Trident II,” also known as the “Trident D5,” is an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) used by the United States and the United Kingdom. It is carried on Ohio-class submarines and can deliver multiple nuclear warheads over a distance of up to 12,000 kilometers. The “Trident II” has been in service since 1990 and has undergone upgrades to improve its accuracy and range. It is considered one of the most powerful and reliable ballistic missiles in the world and serves as a key element of the US and UK's nuclear deterrence strategy. The US Navy Strategic Systems Programs and the UK's Royal Navy operate the “Trident II.”
The RS-24 “Yars” is a Russian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that was first introduced into service in 2010. It is designed to replace the older Topol-M rocket and can be launched from silos and mobile launchers. The RS-24 “Yars” can carry multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) with nuclear warheads and range around 11,000 kilometers. It is considered one of Russia's most advanced ICBMs and plays a key role in its nuclear deterrence strategy. The RS-24 “Yars” is operated by the Russian Strategic Missile Troops and is one of several ballistic missiles in Russia's nuclear arsenal.
The LGM-30G “Minuteman III” is an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) used by the United States Air Force. It is the only land-based ICBM currently in service in the US and can deliver multiple nuclear warheads. The “Minuteman III” has been in service since 1970 and has undergone upgrades to improve its accuracy, reliability, and range. It has a range of up to 13,000 kilometers and is stored in underground silos across several US states. “Minuteman III” plays a key role in the US nuclear deterrence strategy and is operated by the US Air Force Global Strike Command.
The Dongfeng-41 is a Chinese intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that was first publicly displayed in 2015. It is one of the most powerful ICBMs in the world, with a reported range of over 12,000 kilometers and the ability to carry up to ten nuclear warheads. The Dongfeng-41 is considered road-mobile, making it more challenging to locate and target in a potential conflict. The Dongfeng-41 is operated by the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force.
The RS-28 “Sarmat” is a Russian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) currently being developed and is expected to replace the older R-36M2 “Voyevoda” missile. The “Sarmat” is designed to be one of the most powerful and advanced ICBMs in the world, with a range of around 18,000 kilometers and the ability to carry multiple nuclear warheads. It is also believed to be capable of evading missile defense systems.
While these missiles have some similarities, they are all distinct regarding their origin, deployment, and capabilities.