Best missiles in world: Top weapons ranked as Ukraine fights off Putin’s troops

Ukraine: Missile hits an apartment building in Odesa

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Russia plans to deploy its newest ‘Satan II’ missile by autumn, the head of the country’s space programme warned this weekend. The Sarmat missile, dubbed ‘Satan II’, is reported to be the most dangerous weapon in the world, and has a range of some 11,200 miles (18,024 km), meaning it could hit any major city in the world. Travelling at five times the speed of sound, the missile can carry ten or more nuclear warheads at once, and analysts believe it could wipe out several major cities in one blast. Putin hailed the development of the weapon, which was successfully test fired last week, warning that ‘there is nothing like this anywhere in the world, and won’t be for a long time’.

Western analysts have, however, claimed that the autumn target is an ambitious one — adding much more work would be required before the missile can be deployed.

Long before Russia invaded Ukraine, a top ten list of the world’s best inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) was published by Military Today.

A variety of aspects of the missiles were analysed, including range and payload of the missiles, type of basing, and the capability to overcome enemy air defence systems.

The list added that each and every missile on the list can be extremely devastating and capable of destroying entire countries.

At numbers ten and nine on are the Russian Baluva and Chinese JL-2 missiles.

The Baluva is launched from submarines, but had a number of test failures. As of 2017, when the list was published, 12 of the 27 tests had been unsuccessful.

The JL-2, meanwhile, is also submarine-launched. With a range of 7,400-8,000km, the missiles are capable of reaching almost all major cities.

However, Military Today reported that China has always lagged behind its Western rivals in submarine technology, saying they are as noisy as Russian submarines developed almost 50 years ago.

At number eight is the Chinese DF-31AG, images of which first appeared in 2013.

The missile has a range of 11,200km, meaning it can reach most of Europe and the US, and carries decoys to evade missile defence systems.

Another Chinese missile, the DF-41, placed at seven. It is described as the “most powerful ICBM” in the world, and can reach the US within 20-25 minutes of launch.

Next on the list is the French M51, which was first deployed in 2010.

The submarine-based missiles can operate undetected in the Atlantic Ocean once placed on high alert, but used astro-inertial guidance — so may not be as accurate as other missiles with a satellite navigation system.

At number five is the R-29RMU2.1 Layner, another Russian ICBM.

They are particularly versatile, capable of carrying multiple warheads with different yields.

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But Military Today notes that they are not as stealthy as the American or British ICBMs.

At number four is the American Minuteman III, based out of underground launch facilities.

They are believed to be the only US land-based ICBM in service, and boasts the longest range of all ICBMs on the list — 13,000km.

In third place is the Russian RS-24 Yars, otherwise known in the West as SS-29.

It is MIRV-equipped, meaning warheads can be sent to different targets after the main propulsion stages of the missile launch.

The Yars reportedly has a 60 to 65 percent chance of evading missile defence systems, and mobile launchers can operate “undetected in an area equivalent to a small European country”.

Second on the list is yet another Russian weapon, the R-36M2 Voyevoda, known in the West as Satan.

First deployed in 1988, a single missile is reportedly capable of destroying three US states in one blast.

Once Putin deploys the Satan II, the R-36 range of ICBMs will be phased out.

The highest ranked missile is the Trident D5, or Trident II, deployed by both the US and the UK.

The submarine-launched ballistic missiles do not have the biggest range of some on the list, with a full-load range of 7,800km and reduced load range of 12,000km.

They are extremely accurate, with a circular error of probability of just 90metres.

One of the main advantages the Trident missile has is the control the US has of much of the world’s waters — allowing the submarines to remain undetected on patrols.

The UK will be upgrading its current Vanguard fleet of submarines in the next decade, replacing them with the Dreadnought class, which is expected to enter service in the early 2030s.

The Integrated Review, published in March 2021, reversed a planned reduction in British nuclear warheads.

A new cap would be lifted to 260 from 180, with David Williams, the most senior civil servant at the Ministry of Defence (MoD), warning that a further increase cannot be ruled out.

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