Since the end of the Cold War, the world has slowly but steadily been moving toward nuclear disarmament. However, a frightening new announcement from the Russian military has the potential to end that trend altogether.
Russian president Vladimir Putin recently unveiled the “Satan II” nuclear warhead, an updated and deadlier version of the Soviet Union’s original “Satan” rocket, and the news has put the entire planet on high alert.
Wow…that’s really quite scary. Hopefully we can quickly figure out a way to keep making the world safer rather than building bigger, more destructive weapons…
Russia is preparing to test-fire a nuclear weapon which is so powerful it could reportedly destroy a whole country in seconds.
The “Satan 2” missile is rumoured to be the most powerful ever designed and is equipped with stealth technology to help it dodge enemy radar systems .
This terrifying doomsday weapon is likely to strike fear into the hearts of Western military chiefs, as current missile defence technology is totally incapable of stopping it.
Its official name is the RS-28 Sarmat and it will replace aging Soviet R-36M missiles, which NATO military experts nicknamed “Satan”.
“In this sense, the Sarmat missile will not only become the R-36M’s successor, but also to some extent it will determine in which direction nuclear deterrence in the world will develop,” the Russian news network Zvezda reported .
(Image: Reuters)The missile is expected to be capable of delivering up to a dozen warheads, allowing to effectively destroy an area the “size of Texas or France”, the broadcaster continued.
It is expected to have a range of 10,000 km, allowing Moscow to attack European cities including London as well as major cities on America’s west and east coasts.
Russia is said to be planning to test fire the weapon this summer, although it is unclear whether it will be fitted with its full nuclear payload.
The missiles will then be in active service at some point before 2020.
Timeline of terror: The grim power of modern nuclear weapons
The greatest minds of the military-industrial complex have spent the past century devising ever more destructive weapons.
We have used an online tool called Nuke Map to sketch out the potential death toll of each weapon if it was dropped on St Paul’s Cathedral in London – and the results are truly horrifying.
In our timeline of terror, we show the horrifying development of modern nuclear weapons, which are now so powerful they can wipe out an entire city in seconds and render much of a country uninhabitable.
Here are history’s most famous nuclear weapons – along with the devastating effect they would have on the British capital.
This is the disarmingly named bomb which was devised during the Manhattan Project and then dropped on Hiroshima.
It exploded with the force of 15 kilotons of TNT, wiping out much of the Japanese city.
The bomb worked by firing a “slug” of highly-refined uranium into a larger lump of the same element, causing a nuclear blast.
When it exploded in the sky over Hiroshima, it destroyed more or less everything within a radius of a mile of the point of detonation.
After Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed, Stalin ordered Russian scientists to build him a nuclear bomb.
Working in a facility called the Kurchatov Institute – which was referred to only as the “office” or “base” in official communications – Soviet scientists were able to build a weapon in less than five years.
The RDS-1, or First Lightning, was then tested in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic (Kazakhstan) on 9 August 1949 at 7am.
It detonated with a similar force to America’s bombs and sparked the nuclear arms race, leading to the creation of weapons with an almost unimaginable destructive force.
Estimated death toll: 62, 450
This is the codename given to the first British nuclear weapons test, which took place on October 3 1952 in a lagoon between the Montebello Islands in Western Australia.
Westminster was terrified that a weapon could be put in a boat and sailed right up the Thames, so it tested the British bomb aboard a 1,370-ton frigate called HMS Plym.
More than 1,000 British men were forced to strip to the waist and watch the test, causing many to suffer cancers and radiation-linked diseases later in their lives.
In 2002, the Sunday Mirror launched a campaign seeking official recognition of the horrific effects the nuclear bomb tests had on British servicemen.
Estimated death toll: 70,220
This 82 tonne American weapon was the size of a building and was so powerful scientists feared detonating it would ignite the whole of Earth’s atmosphere – killing everything on the planet.
It was the world’s first thermonuclear device which used a fusion reaction to cause a blast, leading it to be called the hydrogen bomb – or H-bomb.
This truly terrifying weapon was tested on October 31 1952 on Enewetak, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean, where it blew up a hole in the ground which was 50 metre deep and almost 2km wide.
Although the bomb was too large to be practically used as a weapon, it led to the creation of a number of small, horrifically powerful H-bombs.
Estimated death toll: 2,339,350
This is the most powerful weapon ever tested and its name means “The Tsar of Bombs”, although the Russians officially called it AN602.
It was tested on October 30, 1961, and had 10 times the power of all the munitions used in World War II – or roughly 1,500 times the combined power of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima weapons combined.
When it was exploded on an island in the Arctic Sea, the bomb destroyed wooden houses hundreds of miles from the blast and generated a fireball so powerful it could cause third degree burns to a person more than 60 miles away.
Perhaps most worryingly, this appalling weapon could be dropped by a bomber jet, meaning it could have easily been used to wipe out Western cities.
Estimated death toll: 5,758, 910
Modern nuclear weapons
As you’re reading this, there are about 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world, owned by a total of nine countries: American, Russia, Britain, France, China, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea.
We’ve used Nuke Map to estimate the destructive power of several of these nation’s most powerful nukes – as well as the sort of bomb a terrorist would be likely to use.
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