5. Chimera Virus
In ancient Mythology a chimera is an animal formed from parts of different animals, like a hippogriff or a griffin, which aptly describes this virus.
A Chimera Virus is made by combining the DNA of two or more other viruses.
In the 1980’s the Soviets were experimenting with them, using the genetic material from other viruses and injecting them into a smallpox (or another) virus thus producing a chimera. This process ensures the new virus is able to retain the smallpox’s virulence and appearance under a microscope while at the same time it is able to spread an entirely different infection.
This genetic engineering breakthrough allows viral agents to evade known treatments and vaccines, making them all the more deadly.
4. Russia’s Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power
“All that is alive merely evaporates,” is the quote Russian Deputy Chief of Russian General Staff Alexander Rukshin shared when asked about their newly developed bomb.
In 2007 the Russians successfully tested and released their “Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power”, quickly nicknamed the “Father of All Bombs” (FOAB).
The FOAB is reportedly 4 x more powerful than the US military’s biggest non-nuclear bomb, the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Bomb which is officially designated with the acronym “MOAB” and known popularly as the “Mother of All Bombs.”
This makes the Russian device officially the most powerful conventional non-nuclear weapon in the world.
The FOAB replaces several smaller nuclear bombs in the Russian arsenal. It yields an equivalent of 44 tons of TNT while just using only seven tons of a new high explosive.
Its blast and pressure wave has a similar effect to a small nuclear weapon, just on a smaller scale. The bomb detonates in mid-air causing a supersonic shockwave and extreme temperatures.
Thermobaric weapons generate longer, more sustained blast waves with higher temperatures as compared to conventional explosives. Because of this, they produce more damage over larger areas than conventional weapons of similar mass.
They also differ in that they use oxygen from the atmosphere itself rather than relying on an oxidizing agent in their explosives. They produce more energy than normal happens and as a result are more difficult to control.
The Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) is a ballistic missile that is guided to the target. It can travel at least 3,400 miles and was built primarily for transporting nuclear weapons.
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.
With the advancing of technology, it came to fruition that an ICBM could be used to launch several nuclear warheads at once because of the MIRV.
The MIRV, which is a Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle, is a payload for ballistic missiles that contains multiple warheads.
Each warhead has the capability of being aimed to hit one of many targets. The old fashioned warheads could only transport a single nuclear bomb on a single missile and aim for a single target.
The next step was the multiple reentry vehicle (MRV) missile that could carry numerous warheads that were all dispersed but not individually aimed which resulted in a blast similar to a shotgun.
The MIRV solved that problem, all warheads were now targetable.
1. Tsar Bomba
Every aspect of the phrase, ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ applies to the Tsar Bomba. The weapon was the Soviet Union’s rebuttal to the United States nuclear program. A massive device, designed to decimate everything, that’s what the bomb was. Only one was ever detonated, and that was enough.
Tsar Bomba remains the most powerful device ever detonated by mankind. To compare, the most powerful device the United States ever created was the B41. It was also the only three-stage nuclear device the U.S. created. The B41 had a maximum yield of 25 megatons TNT, while the Tsar Bomba had a maximum yield of 100 megatons of TNT.
Of course, the most powerful nuclear bomb ever detonated had a massive mushroom cloud. The mushroom cloud is estimated to have gone as high as 40 miles in the sky, which is about seven times as tall as Mount Everest. At this height, the cloud went through the stratosphere as well as the mesosphere.
The bomb also unleashed a massive fireball to accompany the mushroom cloud. Once detonated, the fireball nearly reached the height at which the bomb was dropped and was visible more than 600 miles away from the site.
The bomb was essentially built to flex the Soviet Union’s military strength. Because of this, the bomb was so huge that it was basically too huge. What does this mean? It means that it wasn’t practical for wartime use. For one, moving the bomb around was simply too complicated. It didn’t even really fit on the jet that dropped it from the sky; that plane had to be heavily modified for the bomb. Second, the crew on the plane only had a 50% chance at survival. All of this comes even after the bomb was scaled down from its original 100 megaton size.