Special Report

The 20 Biggest Bombs in Russia's Arsenal

rusm / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

Earlier this year, Russia suspended its last remaining nuclear treaty with the United States. 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, which is stretching well into its second year, with no clear end in sight.

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.

20. KHAB
> Type: Chemical
> Weight: 25 kg – 200 kg


Source: Mordolff / E+ via Getty Images

19. SAB
> Type: Illumination
> Weight: 250 kg (tied)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

> Type: Photoflash
> Weight: 100 kg – 250 kg (tied)

17. ZAB
> Type: Incendiary
> Weight: 300 kg


Source: AbdukadirSavas / iStock via Getty Images

> Type: Target penetration runway denial
> Weight: 478 kg

Source: Kichigin / iStock via Getty Images

15. ZB
> Type: Incendiary
> Weight: 500 kg (tied)


Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

14. ST
> Type: Incendiary tank
> Weight: 500 kg (tied)

13. SPBE
> Type: Single cluster bomb sub-munition
> Weight: 500 kg (tied)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

12. RBK
> Type: Cluster bomb, Glonass guided
> Weight: 500 kg (tied)


> Type: High explosive incendiary
> Weight: 500 kg (tied)

10. ODAB
> Type: Space-bomb [fuel air explosive]
> Weight: 500 kg (tied)


Source: danilovi / E+ via Getty Images

> Type: High explosive incendiary
> Weight: 500 kg (tied)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

> Type: Leaflet
> Weight: 500 kg (tied)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

> Type: Frag, high explosive, thermobaric bomb, universal bomb
> Weight: 100 kg – 500 kg (tied)


Source: sndr / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

> Type: Armor piercing
> Weight: 200 kg – 1000 kg

Source: Artyom_Anikeev / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

> Type: Precision-guided bomb
> Weight: 1500 kg (tied)


4. KAB
> Type: Precision-guided, laser-guided, corrected bomb, TV-command guidance
> Weight: 250 kg – 1,500 kg (tied)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

3. UB
> Type: Condor TV or radio-controlled, Chaika radio-controlled
> Weight: 2,000 kg – 5,000 kg

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

> Type: “Father of All Bombs” [vacuum bomb]
> Weight: 7,100 kg


1. FAB
> Type: High explosive, general purpose,
> Weight: 250 kg – 9,000 kg

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