Special Report

Russia's 20 Biggest Bombs

This month, Russia suspended its only remaining nuclear treaty with the U.S. This prompted some to fear that president Vladimir Putin is considering the possibility of using atomic warfare in its increasingly drawn-out invasion of Ukraine.

Nuclear bombs are not the only option Russia has. Within its arsenal, Russia can deploy incendiary, chemical, and precision-guided armaments. Not all do physical damage. The country’s leaflet bombs drop propaganda material in a form of psychological warfare that serves to demoralize, threaten, and disseminate disinformation. (Check out the bombs and missiles used by the U.S. military.)

While leaflet bombs do not cause physical harm, most other Russian bombs do. Perhaps the most ominous of Russia’s bombs is the so-called “Father of all bombs” or a vacuum bomb. Also known as a thermobaric weapon, the vacuum bomb sucks oxygen from the air, enabling its fiery blast to last longer than a conventional bomb. It’s also capable of vaporizing human bodies. 

Russia reportedly used a cluster bomb to attack a preschool in northeastern Ukraine in February. And Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S. told Congress members Russia had also deployed a vacuum bomb in the recent conflict, though that has yet to be confirmed. International human rights organizations have condemned the use of cluster bombs and vacuum weapons. (Find out also about the most common ships and submarines in the Russian navy.)

Though not on the list, Russia’s arsenal of precision-guided munitions is limited, GlobalSecurity.org notes, and that is likely because of the high cost of such munitions. The advanced navigation and targeting systems in the bombs make them very costly to produce.

Click here to see 20 biggest bombs in Russia’s military arsenal.

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