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Which country has the most powerful nuclear strike capability?

As we all know, after the end of the Second World War, the development of global nuclear weapons has entered a climax. On the one hand, the two atomic bombs dropped by the United States in Japan show the world the power of nuclear weapons. During the Cold war, the United States and the Soviet Union spare no effort to develop miniaturized nuclear warheads and corresponding delivery tools.

The world’s five permanent members, and also the five legally possessing nuclear weapons, all have the ability to miniaturize nuclear bombs. Therefore, there is no significant gap between the development of nuclear weapons in several countries. Looking at the nine countries that have nuclear weapons in the world, the biggest gap is often reflected in the delivery capabilities and the performance of specific delivery tools. So which country has the best nuclear weapons arsenal?

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From the time when the United States first dropped an atomic bomb in Japan to the beginning of the Cold War, the only tools that the United States and the Soviet Union could use to deliver atomic bombs were heavy strategic bombers such as the B-29. We must know that the biggest reason why the United States was able to successfully use the B-29 to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was that the United States had already mastered the air and sea dominance in the Pacific at that time.

If the United States tries to use heavy strategic bombers to drop atomic bombs on the Soviet Union, then the success rate under the Soviet Union’s strict homeland air defense system was very low. The same problem exists for the Soviet Union, that is, its heavy strategic bombers cannot fly to the United States for the bombing. Only after the beginning of the Cold War, due to the German research on rockets at the end of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union began to use missiles as nuclear warheads.

German V2 rocket, first ballistic missile in the world
German V2 rocket, first ballistic missile in the world

Since the Soviet Union was faster than the United States in research on launch vehicles in the early days, the Soviet Union became the first country to launch artificial satellites. Then the Soviet Union began to consider launching missiles as a delivery tool for nuclear bombs, but this placed high requirements on the miniaturization of nuclear bombs and the accuracy of the launch vehicle. After the Soviet Union successfully launched artificial satellites, it also brought a huge shock to the entire American society.

The United States has also begun to increase its research and development on the miniaturization of nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles. Since the 1950s and 1960s, the United States and the Soviet Union have each invested in practical ballistic missiles. At the same time, the United States and the Soviet Union had also developed air-launched nuclear missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. After all, both the United States and the Soviet Union hope that through the multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV nuclear strike capability, they can cause a devastating blow to each other in the first place.

RS-28 Sarmat
RS-28 Sarmat super-heavy intercontinental ballistic missile



In addition to the maintenance and upgrading of the equipment of the old nuclear bomb silos, Russia has also developed two intercontinental ballistic missiles, the “Topol-M” and “Yars“. After all, fixed-launched land-based ballistic missiles can easily lose their counterattack ability under the enemy’s first wave of nuclear strikes, while ballistic missiles that can be maneuvered on roads often have strong survivability, which can ensure that Russia is exposed to nuclear weapons, after the strike, counterattack the target.

Russian navy borei class SSBN
Russian navy borei class SSBN

According to publicly available data, the total 11 ballistic missile divisions exceeds 200 number of “Topol-M” equipped by Russia, which means that Russia can deliver at least 1,200 nuclear warheads to the United States. In addition, as an improved model of the “Satan” ballistic missile, the “Sarmat” is also under active development. This land-based ballistic missile that can carry 15 nuclear warheads which can easily put great pressure on the United States. After all, there are almost no land-based ballistic missiles in the United States at this stage. Whether it is the famous “minuteman”, “peace keeper” or “Midgetman“, they are no longer part of the US nuclear strategy.


Although the United States has given up a large number of land-based ballistic missiles, the United States is still the only one in the world in space-based nuclear strike capabilities and sea-based nuclear strike capabilities. The United States first possessed the world’s only stealth strategic bomber, the B-2 Spirit. The United States can use the B-2 bomber to carry out a nuclear attack on the political and economic center of any country. In addition, the United States has the world’s largest and most technologically advanced nuclear submarine force. The United States has completed the full nuclear submarine fleet as early as the last century. As the backbone of the US nuclear counterattack strategy, the “Ohio” class submarine itself can carry 24 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which is also the submarine with the largest number of ballistic missiles in the world.

USAF B-2 Spirit stealth bomber
USAF B-2 Spirit stealth bomber

The “Trident” missile carried by the US nuclear submarine is also the world’s most superior submarine-launched ballistic missile. With 8 W-76 nuclear warheads, its range can reach 11,000 kilometers. This also means that the US nuclear submarine can carry out a nuclear attack on any country in its own military port without even having to go out into the enemy territory. And thanks to the three-month strategic duty capability of the nuclear submarine itself, once the United States encounters a devastating nuclear strike, it can only rely on a nuclear bomb carried by the “Ohio” class to carry out a reciprocal counterattack against the enemy. Most importantly, the U.S. has completed research and development of the updated “Colombia”-class nuclear submarine, which means that the United States will continue to expand its advantages in sea-based nuclear strike capabilities.

Trident ICBM of US navy
Trident ICBM of US navy


In general, the United States and Russia almost represent the highest level of global nuclear strike capabilities, and these two countries have never given up on updating and upgrading their nuclear arsenals. Only considering the economic situation of Russia at this stage, it is very likely that Russia will not be able to sustain the development of nuclear weapons in the next 10-20 years. The United States has strong financial and human resources to continue research and development, which means that the United States will have the world’s most powerful nuclear arsenal in the future.

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