Nuclear Warheads vs. Nuclear Missile: Which is More Powerful?

2,673 Views Updated: 05 Sep 2017
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Nuclear Warheads vs. Nuclear Missile: Which is More Powerful?

Nuclear Warheads or Nuclear Missiles, which is more dangerous? The answer is quite difficult, and to distinguish one of the two as more dangerous will be absolute stupidity. Whether it's a Nuclear Missile or a Nuclear Warhead, both are equally capable of initiating a genocide. To be honest, Nuclear weapons are synonymous to mass destruction and one of the unfortunate accidental inventions in the history of mankind.

To know which is more dangerous- warheads or missiles, let us know the types of nuclear weapons first. 

So, What Are The Types Of Nuclear Weapons Available On Earth? 

#1. Nuclear Bombs: These were first introduced in the year 1945 by the USA. The popular examples of nuclear bombs are: Mark 1 (Little Man) used against Hiroshima, and Mark 3 (Fat Man) used against Nagasaki. The nuclear bombs presently used are the B61 and B83.

#2. Nuclear Artillery Shells: Nuclear artillery, the subset of limited-yield tactical weapons (nuclear weapons) that are used in ground battle-fields. These are short-range weapons that can be delivered only using a cannon. The W48 and the W79 are the last used Nuclear artillery shells, and they were in use till 1992.

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#3. Atomic Demolition Munitions: ADMs were light-weight nuclear weapons that were emplaced by soldiers or special forces. The last ADM in use was W54/Special Atomic Demolition Munition, which was discontinued after 1989.

#4. Missile Warheads: The nuclear explosives are used with a missile. W88 for use in Trident II SLBM W76 for Trident I SLBM. W78 for LGM-30 Minuteman III; and the W87 for Minuteman III ICBM are still in stocks for use in the multiple countries.  

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What Is A Nuclear Warhead?

In common words, a nuclear warhead is the explosive head of a missile. Warheads contain the explosive material, basically the TNT. In layman's language, a warhead is the top part of the missile that goes “boom” after hitting the target.

Now, coming to the second question, what is a nuclear missile? 

So, as said above, nuclear warheads are the explosive things that go “boom”, the missiles are the carriers that deliver the warheads to the specified target. Basically, missiles follow a given trajectory and are topped with warheads to target a specific location. The missile and the warhead, together form the nuclear weapon system.

To explain it further, let's take a practical example of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) with MIRV nuclear warheads. So, the term intercontinental in ICBM means that the range of these missiles is a thousand miles, can even spread further reaching another continent.

Now, the MIRV which stands for Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles meaning multiple warheads that will eject individually as they approach the target.

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Difference Between A Nuclear Warhead And A Nuclear Missile :

#1. Missiles are the carrier (delivery system), warheads, the things that explode.

#2. Missiles carry multiple warheads, whereas, a warhead can be used individually.

#3. Warheads have smaller impact area, whereas, as said above missiles can impact a whole continent.

Now, the final answer- Nuclear warheads or missiles, which is more dangerous? Depending on the area of impact, a number of casualties, and the amount of destruction that a missile is capable of, Nuclear missiles are more dangerous. Nuclear missiles are capable of creating 5-8 times more impact as compared to a single warhead, which is evident from the fact that missiles carry multiple warheads.

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If you find this article interesting, or you have something more to add to it, let us know in the comment section. 

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