15 Most Powerful Weapons in the World

In this article we will list the 15 most powerful weapons in the world. Click to skip ahead and see the 5 Most Powerful Weapons In The World.

Weapons can be most simply and narrowly defined as devices used to destroy and incapacitate the enemy force, so they are used in wartime, but they are also used by police and military forces as a preventive and repressive measures, can be used in hunting or while training shooting, in conditions of self-defense, and sometimes, unfortunately, they can be abused.

Like everything else, weapons have changed and progressed throughout history. The first forms of weapons believed to have been used by man for hunting or self-defense were unshaped stones and wooden spears. Due to a number of shortcomings, short range and inaccuracy, over time man came up with the idea to sharpen the stone and thus make it more dangerous. This is how the knife and then the ax were made. Applying the same principle to a wooden stick, a spear was created.

With the advent of gunpowder comes the true evolution of weapons. The first firearms were called muskets. Gunpowder made it possible to launch missiles at higher speeds and at greater distances, which was a real revolution in the field of warfare and hunting. Intelligence and consciousness have enabled man to make constant progress in the making of weapons, following all the revolutionary scientific and technological discoveries through the centuries. Weapons were becoming more accurate, more dangerous, deadly, with greater firepower. Not only human skill but also science is increasingly used in the production of weapons and ammunition, and weapons are constructed according to the latest technical and technological knowledge.

That is how we went from unformed stone and sticks to machine guns, Kalashnikovs, countless pistols and rifles, bombs, grenades, mines, mortars etc.

The basic division of weapons would be into melee weapons, mechanical weapons, firearms, chemical weapons, biological weapons, nuclear weapons and psychological weapons. Chemical weapons use chemical agents to kill or incapacitate enemies, such as poison gas, smoke, and incendiary agents, while biological warfare agents are biological agents (bacteria, viruses, rickettsia) used to alter the enemy’s combat capability. Of course, nuclear weapons surpass all other weapons made to date, because they have enormous destructive power and can cut down an entire city and a large part of the population, and radiation after a nuclear attack would be present for decades. Precisely because of the excessive power of this type of weapon, which is the most powerful weapon in the world, it has been used only twice in history, both times just a few days before the end of World War II, when two atomic bombs were dropped, “The little guy” and “Fat guy”,  and they destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is estimated that 129,000 people died in those attacks, and that twice as many people died from radiation, starvation and burns.

Most Powerful Weapons In the World

By exploring which are the most dangerous weapons of mass destruction, which are the largest nuclear bombs ever made and what is their range and lethality, which chemical weapons are the most dangerous, which weapons proved to be fatal in world wars, and then were advanced with today’s technology and science , we have reached our list of the 15 most powerful weapons in the world.

15. RPG

A rocket-propelled grenade is a shoulder-fired missile weapon that launches rockets equipped with an explosive warhead. Most RPGs can be carried by an individual soldier, and are frequently used as anti-tank weapons. With its ease of use, cheap construction and low cost of launchers, and high efficiency, it has entered the arsenal of over 40 countries around the world. It is used against armored and fortified targets as well as against infantry formations. It was used in many conflicts and wars in the second half of the 20th century and was constantly improved.

14. SAM

SAM ranks 14th in our list of the most powerful weapons in the world. A surface-to-air missile (SAM), also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapon (SAGW), is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy other missiles or aircraft. It is one type of anti-aircraft system, designed to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of hostile air action. The American Nike Ajax was the first operational guided missile SAM system, and the Soviet Union’s S-75 Dvina was the most produced SAM.

Manufacturers of American Nike Ajax are Bell Labs and Douglas Aircraft.

Nokia Bell Labs (formerly named Bell Labs Innovations, AT&T Bell Laboratories and Bell Telephone Laboratories) is an American industrial research and scientific development company owned by Finnish company Nokia (NOK). With headquarters located in Murray Hill, New Jersey, the company operates several laboratories in the United States and around the world. Researchers working at Bell Labs are credited with the development of radio astronomy, the transistor, the laser, the photovoltaic cell, the charge-coupled device (CCD), information theory, the Unix operating system, and the programming languages B, C, C++, and S. Nine Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories.

The Douglas Aircraft Company was an American aerospace manufacturer based in Southern California. It was founded in 1921 by Donald Wills Douglas Sr. and later merged with McDonnell Aircraft in 1967 to form McDonnell Douglas, when it then operated as a division of McDonnell Douglas. McDonnell Douglas later merged with Boeing in 1997.

13. AH-64 Apache Gunship

Apache helicopters rank 13th in our list of the most powerful weapons in the world. The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a cockpit for two. It features a sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. It’s armed with a 30 mm M230 chain gun, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods. The helicopter was introduced to U.S. Army service in April 1986.  It has become the primary attack helicopter of multiple nations, including Greece, Japan, Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Manufacturers of AH-64 Apache Gunship were Hughes Helicopters, McDonnell Douglas and Boeing Defense (BA), Space and Security. Hughes Helicopters was a major manufacturer of military and civil helicopters from the 1950s to the 1980s. It was sold to McDonnell Douglas in 1984 and made a subsidiary under the name McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems. In 1997 McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing with Boeing as the surviving company.

12. F-35 Lightning II

Fighter jets rank 12th in our list of the most powerful weapons in the world. The F-35 Lightning II is a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft, fifth generation, with reduced visibility. It is intended for dominance in the airspace, the fight against targets on land and sea, as well as for performing reconnaissance tasks. It originated from an experimental X-35 aircraft, which won a competition in the Joint Strike Fighter program. It is still in the development phase, which has been extended due to increased demands, costs and reduced budget. With its January 26, 2012 report, the US Department of Defense reaffirmed its support and high priority for the F-35 program. The development so far has been financed by the USA and the United Kingdom, and they have been joined by other countries, which intend to put the plane into their operational use. The development of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft took place in three variants: with classic takeoff and landing, vertical takeoff and landing, and the third is naval for deck use from aircraft carriers. For all three variants, the parts are maximally unified, with a mutual match of 80%. Reduced visibility (stealth) was achieved, in which the internal carrying of weapons was projected. Prototype development and design was realized by the company Lockheed Martin (LMT) – an American aerospace, defense, arms, security and advanced technologies company. The prototype F-35 Lightning II flew for the first time on December 15, 2006. The F-35 Lightning II multi-purpose aircraft is intended to replace the entire set of middle-class fighter planes, which are currently in operational use in the United States, the United Kingdom and other allies.

Lockheed Martin is the prime F-35 contractor, with principal partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Lockheed Martin Corporation is an American aerospace, defense, arms, security, and advanced technologies company. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995.  It is one of the largest companies in the aerospace, military support, security, and technologies industry. It is the world’s largest defense contractor, based on revenue for fiscal year 2014. In 2013, 78% of Lockheed Martin’s revenues came from military sales; it topped the list of US federal government contractors and received nearly 10% of the funds paid out by the Pentagon. In 2009, US government contracts accounted for $38.4 billion (85%), foreign government contracts for $5.8 billion (13%), and commercial and other contracts for $900 million (2%). Half of the company’s annual sales are to the U.S. Department of Defense. Lockheed Martin is also a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

11. Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier

Aircraft carriers rank 11th in our list of the most powerful weapons in the world. The Nimitz class is a class of ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in service with the United States Navy.  Nimitz is the first aircraft carrier in its class and one of the largest warships in the world. It was named after Chester V. Nimitz, commander of the Pacific Fleet during World War II. Nimitz is the only aircraft carrier in the class that does not contain the full name of the person after whom it was named, but only the last name. It is also the only aircraft carrier in its class to be named after someone who was not an elected official in the United States. It was launched on May 3, 1975. Nimitz embarked on his first mission on July 7, 1976. In the same year, he received the Battle E award as the most efficient and fastest aircraft carrier in the Atlantic Fleet.

They cost around US$4.5 billion each. They are built by Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), the largest industrial employer in Virginia, and  one of two providers of U.S. Navy submarines. Their work on Nimitz-class aircraft carriers is a four-year vessel renewal program that not only involves refueling of the vessel’s nuclear reactors but also includes modernization work.

10. Chemical weapon – Chimera virus

The Chimera virus ranks 10th in our list of the most powerful weapons in the world. In ancient Mythology a chimera is an animal formed from parts of different animals, like a hippogriff or a griffin, which describes the virus. A chimera virus is defined by the Center for Veterinary Biologics as a ‘’new hybrid microorganism created by joining nucleic acid fragments from two or more different microorganisms in which each of at least two of the fragments contain essential genes necessary for replication.

Combining two pathogenic viruses increases the lethality of the new virus which is why there have been cases when chimeric viruses have been considered for use as a bioweapon. For example, the Soviet Union’s Chimera Project attempted to combine DNA from Venezuelan equine encephalitis, smallpox and Ebola virus in the late 1980’s.

9. The Agni Missile

India’s Agni missile ranks 9th in our list of the most powerful weapons in the world. The Agni Missile is a family of medium to intercontinental range ballistic missiles developed by India, named after one of the five elements of nature, Fire. Agni missiles are long range, nuclear weapons capable surface to surface ballistic missile.

8. The Trident II D5 SLBM

The Trident missile ranks 6th in our list of the most powerful weapons in the world. The Trident missile is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). Originally developed by Lockheed Missiles and Space Corporation which we wrote about earlier in the article , the missile is armed with thermonuclear warheads and is launched from nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. Trident missiles are carried by fourteen United States Navy Ohio-class submarines, with American warheads, as well as four Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarines, with British warheads. The missile is named after the mythological trident of Neptune.

Most Destructive weapons


ICBM ranks 7th in our list of the most powerful weapons in the world. An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is a missile with a minimum range of 5,500 kilometers primarily designed for nuclear weapons delivery. It is guided to the target. ICBMs have the capability of being launched from airplanes, submarines, missile silos, and vehicles. They became an integral part of the MAD doctrine because these weapons allowed the flexibility that enabled the country to strike back and destroy the enemy. It basically guaranteed a second strike on the enemy. Most modern designs support multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), allowing a single missile to carry several warheads, each of which can strike a different target. Russia, United States, China, France, India, United Kingdom, and North Korea are the only countries that have operational ICBMs.

Most powerful nuclear weapons


MOAB ranks 6th in our list of the most powerful weapons in the world. The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB, commonly known as “Mother of All Bombs”) is a large-yield bomb, which at the time of development was said to be the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the American arsenal. It was developed by Albert L. Weimorts. The “mother of all bombs”, an explosive “toy” was weighing over nine tons intended for the destruction of underground bunkers and installations. It was made for the fight against terrorists and their underground training centers in the mountains of Afghanistan. In the Pentagon’s arsenal, it was the most powerful conventional bomb that works on the principle of vacuum, so that the explosive charge simply sucks in oxygen, ignites the cloud and acts on all objects on the ground and underground, with a shock wave and high temperatures. The bomb is designed to be delivered by a C-130 Hercules, primarily the MC-130E Combat Talon I or MC-130H Combat Talon II variants. Its blast can destroy 9 city blocks with a radius of 137.61 m. The MOAB was first dropped in combat in the 13 April 2017 airstrike against an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province (ISIS) tunnel complex in Achin District, Afghanistan.

Mother of All Bombs

Manufacturer of MOAB was McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (MCAAP), a weapons manufacturing facility for the United States Department of Defense in McAlester, Oklahoma, US.

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Disclosure: None. 15 Most Powerful Weapons In The World is originally published at Insider Monkey.