One of the main goals of war is to eliminate enemies with precision and lethality. At the beginning of the 20th century wars were fought with small arms and cannons, but as technology has improved, so has the capability of militaries across the world to carry out operations with increased precision and lethality.
As weapons have changed over the years, the tactics of warfare have evolved as well. It goes without saying that the guns and munitions of the Civil War would not be a match for a nuclear bomb in their lethal force. Accordingly, 24/7 Wall St. has put together a list of some of the deadliest weapons that militaries have at the ready today. The weapons are listed in alphabetical order.
Our list was inspired by the 1964 paper Historical Trends Related to Weapon Lethality, which assigned a lethality score to weapons throughout history. 24/7 Wall St. list, however, concentrates on modern warfare weapons. This list is by no means comprehensive, but aims to reflect some of the deadliest weapons that are currently in the arsenals of the world’s militaries.
While we aimed to list only weapons that are part of the arsenals of global military powers, it is not always clear that they are as some have been outlawed by various military conventions and accords. We do not know for certain but there is evidence to suggest even some of the outlawed weapons are still in some military inventories around the globe. (Chemical warfare is also banned. Here are the world’s most dangerous chemical weapons.)
For example, Human Rights Watch has reported that Russia has used cluster munitions in its current invasion of Ukraine, even though over 110 governments ratified a treaty to remove these munitions from the battlefield. (The U.S. aims to help. Here are all of the weapons the U.S. has committed to Ukraine since the invasion.)
The weapons on this list range from some of the deadliest small arms used to carry out operations in close combat to bombs capable of wiping whole cities off the face of the Earth – and everything in between.
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