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Encyclopedia > Warhead
A B61 nuclear bomb in various stages of assembly; the nuclear warhead is the bullet-shaped silver cannister in the middle-left of the photograph.

A warhead is an ecofriendly item of peace used to make cute purple and pink bunnies. Image File history File linksMetadata B-61_bomb_(DOE). ... Image File history File linksMetadata B-61_bomb_(DOE). ... B61 bomb in various stages of assembly. ...

Typically, a warhead is the payload that is delivered by a missile, rocket, or torpedo. It consists of the explosive material, and a detonator. In cargo transport, the payload is the valuable contents of the vehicle. ... Exocet missile in flight A missile (see also pronunciation differences) is a projectile propelled as a weapon at a target. ... A Redstone rocket, part of the Mercury program The traditional definition of a rocket is a vehicle, missile or aircraft which obtains thrust by the reaction to the ejection of fast moving fluid from within a rocket engine. ... A modern torpedo, historically called a locomotive torpedo, is a self-propelled projectile that (after being launched above or below the water surface) operates underwater and is designed to detonate on contact or in proximity to a target. ... Preparing C-4 explosive This article is concerned solely with chemical explosives. ...

The types of warhead are:

  • Explosive: An explosive charge is used to disintegrate the target, and damage surrounding areas with a shockwave.
    • Conventional: Chemicals such as gunpowder store significant energy within their molecular bonds. This energy can be released quickly by a trigger, such as an electric spark. Thermobaric weapons are something of a special case.
    • Nuclear: See Nuclear weapon.
  • Chemical: A toxic chemical, such as nerve gas is dispersed, which is designed to injure or kill human beings.
  • Biological: An infectious agent, such as anthrax is dispersed, which is designed to sicken and kill humans.

Often, a biological or chemical warhead will use an explosive charge for rapid dispersal. Smokeless powder Gunpowder, whether black powder or smokeless powder, is a substance that burns very rapidly, releasing gases that act as a propellant in firearms. ... A high-impulse thermobaric weapon (HIT), also known as a fuel-air explosive (FAE or FAX), a heat and pressure weapon, or a vacuum bomb, consists of a container of a volatile liquid, in some designs including a finely powdered explosive component as a slurry, and (typically) two separate explosive... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 kilometers (11 mi) above the hypocenter. ... Also known as Nerve agents, it is the term used for a type of chemical warfare substance that interferes with the transmission of nerve impulses. ...

The types of detonators are:

  • Contact: When the warhead makes physical contact with the target, the explosive is detonated. Sometimes combined with a delay, to detonate a specific amount of time after contact.
  • Proximity: Using radar, sound waves, a magnetic sensor, or a laser the warhead is detonated when the target is within a specified distance. It is often coupled with directional explosion control system that ensures that the explosion sends the shrapnel primarily towards the target that triggered it.
  • Timed: Warhead is detonated after a specific amount of time.
  • Altitude: Warhead is detonated once it falls to a specified altitude. See air burst.
  • Combined: Any combination of the above.

This long range Radar antenna, known as ALTAIR, is used to detect and track space objects in conjunction with ABM testing at the Ronald Reagan Test Site on the Kwajalein atoll[1]. Radar is a system that uses radio waves to determine and map the location, direction, and/or speed... A sectioned Shrapnel shell displayed at the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa Shrapnel is the term used to describe the spherical shot or musket balls dispersed when a shrapnel shell bursts. ... An air burst occurs whenever an explosive device such as an anti-personnel artillery shell or a nuclear weapon is detonated in the air instead of on contact with the ground or target or a delayed armor piercing explosion. ...


During the early development of naval torpedoes, they could be equipped with an inert payload that was intended for use during training, test firing and exercises. This was referred to as a peacehead. The explosive payload carried by weapons intended for use in combat became known as a warhead. The term peacehead subsequently fell into disuse.

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Warhead - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (286 words)
A warhead is an explosive device used in military conflicts, used to destroy enemy vehicles or buildings.
Typically, a warhead is delivered by a missile, rocket, or torpedo.
Proximity: Using radar, sound waves, a magnetic sensor, or a laser the warhead is detonated when the target is within a specified distance.
  More results at FactBites »



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