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How Far Russia’s Nuclear Weapons Reach | Is Anywhere Safe?

With the end of the Cold War, the threat of nuclear war seemed to have been greatly diminished. However, tensions between the United States and Russia have persisted over the years, which has led people to wonder what might happen if one of these two countries were to use nuclear weapons. For those living in the United States, one of the main concerns is how far Russia’s nuclear weapons can reach, and whether they would be at risk of being targeted by these weapons.

Russia’s nuclear weapons can reach anywhere in the United States. The distance between the US and Russia is around 11,000 kilometers (5,500 miles), and Russia has weapons with ranges between 12,000 and 35,000 km. These weapons can be launched with missiles, from planes, or from submarines.

While this might seem a bit scary, the likelihood of Russia using these nuclear weapons against the United States or other countries is very low. Even if these weapons were used, not all of the weapons could reach the entire United States at once. With this in mind, here are some of the more common Russian nuclear weapons, their ranges, and what that means for the US.

Several nuclear warheads pointed toward the sky

How Far The Sarmat Weapon Can Reach

The first of the Russian nuclear weapons that we are going to talk about are the Sarmat missiles. These missiles were added to the Russian arsenal in 2022 and are considered to be the most wide-ranging of the weapons on this list. The missile was designed to replace the “Satan” weapon, which was one of the main nuclear weapons in Russia’s arsenal.

The Sarmat missiles, and the Satan missiles before them, are not weapons themselves but a way for a nuclear weapon to be delivered. They are ballistic missiles that can each carry several nuclear payloads that can be directed at a single target or separated and launched on approach to cover a wider area.

Some experts estimate that the range of the Sarmat missiles is as high as 35,000 kilometers, which means that they will be able to strike anywhere within the United States. When people think of nuclear weapons they tend to think of missiles being launched, which matches well with what the Sarmat weapon does.

If Russia ends up using nuclear weapons, there is a good chance that it will end up using some Sarmat missiles since they are a major component of Russia’s active nuclear weapons arsenal.

Related The 16 Safest US Cities From Nuclear Attack.

Two camoflauge warheads pointed toward the sky

How Far Can The Yars Weapon Can Reach

The next nuclear weapon on this list is the Yars missiles. These missiles are a bit older than the previous weapon and have some more limitations on them. They were used in part to fill out the Russian nuclear weapons arsenal prior to the development and deployment of the Sarmat missiles. They were first developed in 2010 and have remained a part of Russia’s nuclear weapons ever since.

The Yars missiles have much less range than the Sarmat weapons, with only an 11,000 to 12,000-kilometer range. Remember that the distance from Russia to the United States is around 11,000 kilometers, which means that the Yars missiles can only reach the coasts of the United States and not far into the interior.

The missiles also need to be launched from a mobile vehicle point, which means that it needs to be moved into the correct position, prepared for launch, and secured before the nuclear weapons can be launched. This takes time and means that they could be spotted by other countries, which makes the Yars nuclear weapons less reliable and dangerous than some of the other weapons on this list.

Related Top 10 US Cities Most Likely To Be Targeted In A Nuclear War.

How Far the Avangard Weapon Can Reach

Another type of nuclear weapon that Russia has is the Avangard. The Avangard is a newer model of weapon being developed and was put into service in 2019. There are two different things about the Avangard that makes it a dangerous weapon and a crucial part of Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

The first thing about the Avangard is that it is designed to be able to avoid anti-missile systems and attempts to bring the rocket down in the middle of the flight. It does this by moving at an extremely high speed, reaching speeds that are far faster than the speed of sound. It is also equipped with sensors that allow it to maneuver quickly at low altitudes. The Avangard is able to make both horizontal and vertical evasive maneuvers to allow it to reach its target unimpeded.

The main issue with the Avangard is its range. While it is an evasive weapon, it does have a limited range with it only reaching 5,800 kilometers during testing by the Russians. This means that the Avangard will not be able to reach the United States without the aid of additional equipment.

It would most likely need to be carried on a Russian plane until it was within range of the United States before launching. However, this is more complicated and exposes the Avangard to serious risks of being intercepted by the United States, so it is unlikely that it would ever be used against them if they did get into a nuclear war with Russia.

Nuclear missile flying near the ground with a large explosion in the background

How Far The Poseidon Weapon Can Reach

The final weapon on this list is the Posideon. This nuclear weapon is very different from the others on this list. While the other weapons on this list rely on dealing direct damage to their target, the Poseidon is designed to deal indirect damage to a large target area.

The weapon is a torpedo that can be carried by submarine and launched once the target area is within range. Based on prior testing, the range of this weapon is estimated to be about 10,000 kilometers, making it able to target any area along the American coastlines with some help from a submarine.

The goal of this weapon is to detonate offshore of the target. The large explosion will create a tsunami that will crash down on the coastal area, causing serious damage.

Since the weapon uses radioactive materials, the water would also be radioactive, causing lingering damage to the coast and the surrounding waters. While this might seem like the most serious of the weapons on this list, it is only an experimental weapon and has not been tested extensively yet.

Final Thoughts

To help visualize the safest and least safe areas of the US, I created this relief map. Read more about it in this article.

United States Nuclear Target and Safe Zone Relief Map
United States Nuclear Target and Safe Zone Relief Map.

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