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Warhead

A warhead is the explosive or toxic material that is delivered by a missile, rocket, or torpedo. It is a type of bomb.

Classification

Types of warheads include:
  • Explosive: An explosive charge is used to disintegrate the target, and damage surrounding areas with a blast wave.
  • Conventional: Chemicals such as gunpowder and high explosives store significant energy within their molecular bonds. This energy can be released quickly by a trigger, such as an electric spark. Thermobaric weapons enhance the blast effect by utilizing the surrounding atmosphere in their explosive reactions.
  • Blast: A strong shock wave is provided by the detonation of the explosive.
  • Fragmentation: Metal fragments are projected at high velocity to cause damage or injury.
  • Continuous rod: Metal bars welded on their ends form a compact cylinder of interconnected rods, which is violently expanded into a contiguous zig-zag-shaped ring by an explosive detonation. The rapidly expanding ring produces a planar cutting effect that is devastating against military aircraft, which may be designed to be resistant to shrapnel.
  • Shaped charge: The effect of the explosive charge is focused onto a specially shaped metal liner to project a hypervelocity jet of metal, to perforate heavy armour.
  • *Explosively formed penetrator: Instead of turning a thin metal liner into a focused jet, the detonation wave is directed against a concave metal plate at the front of the warhead, propelling it at high velocity while simultaneously deforming it into a projectile.
  • Nuclear: A runaway nuclear fission (fission bomb) or nuclear fusion (Thermonuclear weapon) reaction causes immense energy release.
  • Chemical: A toxic chemical, such as poison gas or nerve gas, is dispersed, which is designed to injure or kill human beings.
  • Biological: An infectious agent, such as anthrax spores, is dispersed, which is designed to sicken or kill humans.

    Often, a biological or chemical warhead will use an explosive charge for rapid dispersal.

    Detonators



    Type of detonators include: