Is there a bomb stronger than Tsar Bomba?
It's theoretically possible to build a nuclear bomb more than 100 times as powerful as Tsar Bomba, but it wouldn't at all be practical. Thanks to bans on nuclear testing and an enlightened realization that nuclear weapons existentially endanger all life on Earth, it's unlikely that we would ever see such a thing.
Tsar Bomba, (Russian: “King of Bombs”) , byname of RDS-220, also called Big Ivan, Soviet thermonuclear bomb that was detonated in a test over Novaya Zemlya island in the Arctic Ocean on October 30, 1961. The largest nuclear weapon ever set off, it produced the most powerful human-made explosion ever recorded.
Depending on its impact radius, even a Tsar bomb cannot destroy a whole country. Only a small country such as Vatican City or Monaco with land areas of 44 ha and 202 ha respectively can be completely destroyed using a nuclear weapon.
The Tsar Bomba's yield was 50 megatons: ten times more powerful than all of the ordnance exploded during the whole of World War II. The mushroom cloud was 25 miles wide at its base and almost 60 miles wide at its top. At 40 miles high, it penetrated the stratosphere.
|Place of origin||Soviet Union|
Russia's Tsar bomba: World's most powerful nuclear weapon of mass destruction. The Tsar bomba exploded about 4 km above the ground and reportedly produced a mushroom cloud 60 km high.
Russia possesses a total of 5,977 nuclear warheads as of 2022, the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads in the world; the second-largest stockpile is the United States' 5,428 warheads. Russia's deployed missiles (those actually ready to be launched) number about 1,588, second to the United States' 1,644.
In the United States' current nuclear arsenal, the most powerful bomb is the B83, which has a maximum yield of 1.2 megatons, making it 60 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945. According to the Nuclear Weapon Archive, 650 B83s are in “active service.”
That's interesting, but if enough Tsar Bombas were dropped into the Challenger Deep, there would be half-a-mile-high waves and a fracture that digs all the way to Earth's mantle. The explosive force would throw rock and water nearly to the Karman line.
In October 1961, the Soviet Union dropped the most powerful nuclear bomb in history over a remote island north of the Arctic Circle. Though the bomb detonated nearly 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) above ground, the resulting shockwave stripped the island as bare and flat as a skating rink.
How far would Tsar Bomba be felt?
The intense heat from the detonation was capable of causing third-degree burns at a distance of 62 miles from ground zero. The shock wave was felt as far away as the Dikson settlement located 430 miles away, and windows shattered at a distance of 560 miles.
With a maximum yield of 1.2 megatonnes of TNT (5.0 PJ), it has been the most powerful nuclear weapon in the United States nuclear arsenal since October 25, 2011 after retirement of the B53. It was designed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Potential gigaton yield devices are "doomsday bombs." One detonated about 16 kilometers up would start fires over an area of more than 700,000 square kilometers. A few 1000 gigatons would be enough to kill all humans.
There is no theoretical limit to the number of stages that might be used and, consequently, no theoretical limit to the size and yield of a thermonuclear weapon.
Standard ones can have yields of 500 kilotons, 800 kilotons and even 1 megaton — equivalent to 1 million tons of TNT. Russia holds the record for the most powerful weapon ever exploded: In 1961, it tested a bomb of at least 50 megatons, nicknamed “Tsar Bomba” — or the ruler of all bombs.
#1: Tsar Bomba (1961)
Initially, it was designed as a 100,000 kiloton bomb, but its yield was cut to half its potential by the Soviet Union. Tsar Bomba's mushroom cloud breached through the stratosphere to reach a height of over 37 miles (60km), roughly six times the flying height of commercial aircraft.
From 0.2 to 3 seconds after detonation, the intense heat emitted from the fireball exerted powerful effects on the ground. Temperatures near the hypocenter reached 3,000 to 4,000 degrees Celsius.
A new study sponsored by the American Physical Society concludes that U.S. systems for intercepting intercontinental ballistic missiles cannot be relied on to counter even a limited nuclear strike and are unlikely to achieve reliability within the next 15 years.
Nuclear weapons are still here—and they're still an existential risk. Nine countries possess nuclear weapons: the United States, Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea.
Could they reach the UK? Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in Russia's possession have the capability to reach and destroy major global cities such as London or Washington. ICBMs can reach a top speed around 10 minutes after launch which could see one fired from Russia reach the UK in just 20 minutes.
How much damage can Russian nukes do?
How much damage could one of these do? The answer depends greatly on where it was used. The online tool NukeMap suggests that a 20-kiloton attack on Kyiv would kill more than 31,000 people and injure another 65,000 within 24 hours. Even those numbers may be a big underestimation.
Drozdenko said US nukes generally had explosive yields equivalent to about 300 kilotons of TNT, while Russian nukes tended to range from 50 to 100 kilotons to 500 to 800 kilotons, though each country has more powerful nuclear weapons.
Boeing AH-64 Apache. The best weapon in the United States military inventory is the AH-64 Apache helicopter. It also might sound ironic that a helicopter is the best weapon of the land forces. However, airpower is the most decisive factor in the conflicts where the United States military has recently been involved.
The W54 (also known as the Mark 54 or B54) was a tactical nuclear warhead developed by the United States in the late 1950s. The weapon is notable for being the smallest nuclear weapon in both weight and yield to have entered US service.
B61 nuclear bomb.
|Unit cost||$28 million (Mod 12)|
|Produced||1968 (full production)|