What are the top ten most powerful missiles in the world? by Saran Udayakumar
Answer by Saran Udayakumar:
R-36M2 – ICBM (Soviet Union/Russia)
ICBM – Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile
First deployed in 1974, the R-36 has gone through a number of changes which even at one time included carrying a 20-25mt warhead. The last development of this missile, the R-36M2 has ten 750kt warheads and a range of approximately 11,000 km. With a top speed of nearly 8 km/s and a CEP of 220m, the Satan is a weapon which caused a lot of concern for American military planners.
There is a reason why the NATO designated this missile the SS-18 Satan. It could have been even worse if Soviet planners had been given the green light to deploy one version of this missile which was to have 38 250kt warheads. Russia plans to retire all of these missiles by 2019.
The SS-18 Satan is a very capable missile, mainly because of its high speed and extremely high throw weight. It can carry up to 10 MIRVs and up to 40 penetration aids. So this missile is hard to intercept. According to Western intelligence data from late '80s, Soviets were able to destroy 70-80 percent of US ICBM silos during first strike, and after that, they would have 1 000+ warheads left to attack other US targets. Some sources report that a single SS-18 missile with MIRVs can completely destroy 3 US states, such as Maryland, Vermont and Rhode Island.
Russia is steadily decreasing the number of active Satan missiles. Missiles that age past their designed operational lifetime are being withdrawn. By 2009 only 59 missiles remained in service. These are R-36MUTTKh and R-36M2 variants. About 40 missiles are having their service life extended in order to remain operational until 2019. These missiles are being gradually phased out of service, in favor of more modern systems like MIRV-equipped, , and , that is currently being developed.