Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.
Since that horrific moment, when in August 1945, American bombers dropped two atomic bombs, which almost completely destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many states have decided to create their own programs for the development of nuclear weapons. Under the pretext of mutual containment, an unstoppable arms race kicked off and peaked in the mid-1980s. Military scientists and engineers have created atomic bombs, many times higher than the power of those that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people when bombed in 1945.
After miraculously avoiding a global nuclear crisis between America and the Soviet Union, treaties were signed to promote disarmament and control over these dangerous weapons of mass destruction. These international acts led to a gradual reduction of the nuclear stockpile, however, to this day, a number of states have a stock that can lead to the death of billions of people and a potential global cooling, dubbed “nuclear winter”. According to rough estimates, the world stock of atomic weapons reaches almost 15,000 warheads. Recently, due to the aggravation of relations between the US and Russia, as well as the US and North Korea, the reduction of nuclear weapons has practically stalled.
Below are the countries that are representatives of the so-called “nuclear club”.
Rating of the largest nuclear powers in the world
|Nomination||a place||Country||Number of Warheads|
|Rating of the largest nuclear powers in the world||1||Israel||–|
|2||North Korea||50 units|
|7||Great Britain||200 UNITS|
|8||USA||6 800 UNITS|
|10||Other countries – interesting facts||–|
Israel has never officially confirmed or denied the presence of nuclear weapons in the country. However, according to international experts, and taking into account the hints of the former prime minister, this is beyond doubt and the country has about four hundred warheads. A technologically advanced state created its first reactor back in 1950, and 10 years later, the first atomic bomb was supposedly developed. The tests (again, according to assumptions) took place in 1979. Israel subsequently signed a test ban treaty, but the country did not take part in the nonproliferation treaty. It is believed that the state has the means to deliver nuclear warheads using aircraft, navy and ICBMs. Some sources even claim the creation of atomic mini-bombs that can fit in a suitcase and ongoing research in the field of neutron weapons.
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is known for its aggressive foreign policy, disregard for most international norms and rules, but above all for its constant threats to use nuclear weapons against the United States. At present, the state's arsenal is probably between 35 and 50 combat units. Neither the exact number of weapons, nor information about ongoing projects and scientific research is published. North Korea first announced the development of nuclear weapons in 2005, and since then there have been six tests, recorded by outside observers using seismological and other data analysis. In 2017, the DPRK government announced successful tests of a thermonuclear bomb.
Despite a poorly developed national economy and many internal political problems, Pakistan continues to develop its nuclear program. It was first created back in 1956, but then suspended by order of the President. The decision to resume the interrupted weapons development was made in response to Indian nuclear tests. The Prime Minister of Pakistan in a public speech assured that even if the citizens of the country have to starve, the nuclear program will be implemented. Tests of two types of bombs were carried out in 1998. The state has two reactors capable of producing a maximum of 12 kg of weapons-grade plutonium per year. Pakistan now has 130 nuclear warheads at its disposal.
The constant and long-standing enmity between India and Pakistan, which has repeatedly escalated into armed clashes, is one of the main motivating factors for the country to actively build up its nuclear potential. The second factor is the proximity of China, striving for leadership in the region. It is believed that India has about 120 warheads, including those on intercontinental missiles, capable of covering a distance of 5-6 thousand kilometers. For the first time, nuclear tests were carried out here in 1974 under the very cynical code name “Smiling Buddha”. The last test fell on 1998, it entailed sanctions from Japan and a number of Western states. In addition to missiles, India can launch warheads from aircraft, surface ships and nuclear submarines. Like Pakistan, the country is developing a nuclear program outside the framework of the international non-proliferation act.
Developments in the field of nuclear weapons have been carried out by Chinese scientists since 1957, and in 1964 the first successful tests of a 20-kiloton charge were carried out. Just a few years later, China began building and testing the hydrogen bomb. After 2009, the PRC government announced plans to gradually build up its nuclear potential. Along with this, the country's Ministry of Defense published the so-called “White Book”, which declared that the first to use no nuclear weapons and maintain their number at the minimum required level. However, after a short time, four new types of intercontinental ballistic missiles were deployed in the country, and today the state has about 280 warheads.
China is the only country in the world that has submitted a document that pledges not to use its nuclear weapons against countries that do not possess this technology under any circumstances.
The official position of France is to maintain the nuclear arsenal at the minimum level necessary to guarantee security. For a long time, the country's government did not think about developing this type of weapon. The impetus for change was the defeat in the war with Indochina, which occurred shortly after the end of World War II. The example of neighboring Great Britain also had a considerable influence. Work began on the creation of an atomic bomb, and in 1960 France conducted its first test. This angered the US government, which has banned the French from exporting the CDC 6600 supercomputer used to build nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, the supercomputer was still smuggled and the development of the country's military potential continued. A total of 210 tests were carried out. Today, the French nuclear arsenal has almost three and a half hundred units of ammunition, for the delivery of which there are about a hundred aircraft and sea carriers.
Since the Mutual Defense Treaty was signed between Great Britain and the United States of America in 1958, the country has embarked on the development of nuclear weapons. The Allies have worked closely on this issue for a long time, exchanging classified information on scientific advances and supplying each other with the basic materials needed to make bombs, such as weapons-grade plutonium. The first test in British history of a charge with a capacity of about 25 kilotons was carried out in 1952, near Australia. In total, the British armed forces conducted 45 tests. Due to the limited territory and high population density of the native island, they all took place in the Pacific Ocean or in Australia. The country currently has more than two hundred warheads carried by ballistic missiles on submarines.
The United States of America was the first in the world to develop nuclear weapons. It is also the only country that used it to defeat living targets during the bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The world's first test of its Trinity atomic bomb was carried out by the United States in 1945, shortly before combat use. Since that time, American scientists and engineers have created more than a hundred different types and modifications of nuclear charges. In the period from 1945 to 1992, a total of over 1000 tests were carried out. The peak of the buildup of weapons fell on the 60s, when the total yield of warheads reached 20 thousand megatons. Later this volume was significantly reduced.
Now the basis of the country's nuclear potential is a fleet of submarines with intercontinental ballistic missiles deployed on them. In addition, there are delivery vehicles such as land-based and silo-based ballistic missiles, aircraft missiles, and atomic bombs on strategic bombers. In total, the United States has 6,800 nuclear weapons, of which 1,800 are in immediate combat readiness.
The first nuclear test in Russian history took place in 1949. During the Cold War era, the Soviet Union sought to continuously increase the arsenal of warheads, their power and the range of the launch vehicles. It was the Soviet military that detonated the largest nuclear bomb in human history. Initially, it was planned to test a charge of 100 thousand kilotons, but having calculated the probability of a huge amount of radioactive fallout, the experts made a reasonable decision to reduce the power to 57 thousand kilotons.
Now the Russian Federation, which after the collapse of the USSR got all the weapons of the huge state, has about 7 thousand units of nuclear weapons. Almost fifteen hundred of them are on alert and deployed on various types of carriers: intercontinental ballistic missiles, strategic bombers, nuclear submarine missiles. The main armament pivot is Topol-M ground mobile complexes and R-36M2 heavy ballistic missiles, which are called Satan in NATO countries.
Other countries – interesting facts
For a long time, it was believed that Iran possesses a stock of nuclear weapons, and this has caused a number of sanctions from the West. However, the country's government denied such allegations, and no real evidence to the contrary was found.
From 1960 to 1980, the Republic of South Africa was among the nuclear states. Subsequently, the country's authorities decided to abandon nuclear weapons and all six warheads were disposed of.
Quite a large part of the Soviet nuclear weapons were deployed on the territory of Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus. But after the signing of the Lisbon Treaty between the United States and the countries of the Union of Independent States, these three states abandoned it in exchange for international security guarantees.
Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.