Cold War Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles

During the Cold War, an enormous amount of new weapons were developed and deployed by both NATO nations and Warsaw Pact countries. The most lethal ones were the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), which were armed with nuclear warheads capable of wiping out entire cities and destroying the whole world if a Third World War broke out. So, they had a strong, deterring effect when they were deployed. Not only were they the most destructive weapons of the Cold War, but also the most expensive ones. Thus, only the United States of America and the Soviet Union had the monopoly of developing and producing these long range missiles.

List of Cold War Era Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM)

United States of America

SM-65 Atlas. Operational between 1958 and 1964. Range: 9,000 miles. W49 nuclear warhead. Land-based.

LGM-25C Titan. From 1963 to 1987. Range: 11,000 miles. W38. Launched from land-based silos.

LGM-118 Peacekeeper. From 1986 to 2005. Range: 8,700 miles. A three-stage, silo-launched missile.

LGM-30 Minuteman I, II, III. From 1962 up to the present, with Minuteman III entering service in 1970. Range: 9,500 miles. Warhead: W62, W78, W87. Both land-based and air-launched, with inertial guidance system.

UGM-27 Polaris. Deployed from 1961 to 1996. Range 2,700 nautical miles. Warhead: W58 thermonuclear. Launched from submarines.

UGM-73 Poseidon. From 1971 to 1992. Range: 2,500 nautical miles. W58. Submarine-launched.

UGM-96 Trident I. From 1979 to 1980. Range: 4,600 miles. Submarine-launched.

UGM-133 Trident II. From 1990. Range: 4,230 nautical miles. Multiple W88 thermonuclear warhead.

Soviet Union

R-7 Semyorka. In service from 1959 to 1968. Range: 9,000 km. Two-stage, land-based.

R-36 (SS-9 Scarp). From 1967 – present. Range: about 15,000 km. Launched from silos. Inertial guidance system.

RT-21 Temp (SS-16 Sinner). 1976 – 1986. Range: 10,500 km. Launched from mobile platform.

R-100. 1966 – 1996. Range: 10,600 km. Two-stage, land-based. Inertial guidance system.

MR-UR-100 (SS-17 Spanker). 1978 – 1993. Range: 11,000 km. Silos.


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Thor is Carlos Benito Camacho, the manager and writer of this blog.