Before we dive into our list, let us briefly explain what an ICBM is and how it operates. This might help you understand some of the stuff we are about to explore.
An ICBM is defined as a supersonic missile with a range of at least 4040 miles or 6500 kilometers that travels along a ballistic trajectory after a powered guided launch.
After liftoff, the ICBM will enter its boost phase and continue on until it reaches orbit. Because of the lack of air resistance, the ICBM’s second phase involves it entering space while continuing its ballistic trajectory.
During its final descent phase, it releases a swarm of reentry vehicles and decoys that can be shot down individually. Those bomb carriers carry nuclear weapons. What follows is completely predictable.
Now, off to the list!
5- TRIDENT II: The Submarine-Launched Ballistic Powerhouse
Let’s set our sights beneath the waves to explore the remarkable Trident II or Trident D5. This ballistic missile adds a new dimension to submarine-based weaponry. Both the United States and the United Kingdom are responsible for these impressive pieces of technology. While Ohio-class submarines carry the Trident II for the U.S., Vanguard-class submarines do the honors for the U.K.
Now, for the numbers that truly command attention. Brace yourself as we unveil the Trident II’s capabilities: it covers an astounding distance of 4847 miles (approximately 7800 kilometers) when fully loaded, and for those opting for a lighter load, it extends to an impressive 7456 miles (about 12,000 kilometers). As for payload potential, each U.S. Trident II can house warheads with up to 14.475 kiloton yields. Impressive, right?
However, what truly sets the Trident II apart is its precision. Guided by an Astro-inertial navigation system, this missile homes in on its target with remarkable accuracy. Notably, it’s also open to GPS updates. But perhaps its most intriguing trait lies in its launch platform – the stealthy submarine launch – which makes it an exceedingly challenging target to detect.
4- RS-24 YARS (SS-29 NATO Name)
Shifting our focus to Russia, we encounter the RS-24 YARS, often referred to as SS-29 by NATO. This intercontinental ballistic missile showcases impressive adaptability. The YARS system has road-mobile and silo-based configurations, sharing its missile design with the RS-12M Topol-M, a testament to engineering ingenuity.
This Russian marvel is poised to become the backbone of their ground-based nuclear force. Its operational range spans a striking 7456 miles (approximately 12,000 kilometers), making it a considerable force to reckon with.
MIRV-equipped, the YARS can carry an impressive load of up to 10 independently targetable warheads, each packing a punch of 100 to 300 kilotons. Not to mention the introduction of the Avangard hypersonic gliding reentry vehicle in 2019 adds a new layer of complexity to this formidable platform.
Engineered to outsmart adversary missile defense systems, the YARS boasts a formidable 60-65% likelihood of success. Its road mobility enhances its chances of survival even in the face of a nuclear strike.
3- LGM-30G MINUTEMAN III (USA)
Now, let’s pivot to the LGM-30G Minuteman III, a stalwart of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. After retiring from the LGM-118 Peacekeeper, the Minuteman III stands alone as the sole land-based ICBM in service. It holds the distinction of being the pioneering MIRV-capable missile, allowing it to deploy multiple reentry vehicles.
Though precise range specifics remain elusive, its payload is anything but mysterious. A trio of independently targetable reentry vehicles grace its arsenal, each carrying a nuclear warhead delivering anywhere between 300 to 500 kilotons.
Notably, the Minuteman III doesn’t stop at just payload; it’s equipped with penetration aids, offering an edge against adversarial missile defense mechanisms. It might not match its counterparts’ power, range, or precision above the list, but its resilience is undeniable.
2- DONGFENG-41 (CHINA)
Enter the Dongfeng-41, or DF-41, China’s heavyweight contender on the ICBM scene. This missile presents a formidable presence, capable of carrying up to 10 Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs). Its unique feature lies in its mobility, thanks to the Taian HTF5980 special wheeled chassis boasting a 16×16 configuration designed to navigate diverse terrains effectively.
Aptly guided by an inertial system with stellar or satellite updates, the DF-41 has a top speed of Mach 25, rendering it a swiftly moving force. Its mobility significantly enhances its likelihood of survival during the initial stages of a conflict. The name “Dongfeng,” translating to “East Wind,” takes on an ironic tone when attached to a weapon of such destructive potential.
1- RS-28 SARMAT (SATAN II)
Prepare to be astonished by the RS-28 Sarmat, also known ominously as “Satan II.” This missile takes the cake in terms of sheer magnitude. Weighing an astonishing 456,000 pounds, it dwarfs its counterparts.
The Sarmat’s combination of speed and throw weight set new standards, carrying up to 10 MIRVs, each boasting a blast yield ranging from 0.75 to 1 megaton. Adding 40 penetration aids to the mix, it becomes a formidable package. The Sarmat’s power-to-weight ratio empowers it to execute mid-flight maneuvers, adding an element of unpredictability to its trajectory.
It flaunts a unique feature – a short boost phase – making satellite tracking challenging. Moreover, its ability to fly over the South Pole renders existing missile defense systems ineffective.
And there you have it – a journey through the world of missiles that balances professionalism with awe-inspiring capabilities. With this explosive thought, we conclude our exploration, bidding farewell to our first season. Stay tuned for more captivating insights in the future.