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How Many Miles Can a Nuke Destroy | Blast Radius Guide

There are many kinds of nuclear bombs that have been created not only by the United States but by other countries as well. No matter what kind of bomb you encounter, the blast radius is going to be huge, and what doesn’t get hit by the blast radius is bound to get hit by the soundwaves. I have consulted with some experts on the nuclear bombs that countries have made and can tell you how far the blast range of each type is.

A nuclear bomb can destroy up to 880 miles of land. The air blast range from a nuclear bomb with 1 kiloton of power is 300 yards. Terrain, such as mountains, limits the amount of ground these nuclear bombs can affect. A mountain would usually protect its other side from damage.

As you can see, there are a lot of factors that go into how far and how damaging a nuclear bomb is. I have compiled a list of different nuclear bombs and their blast range, along with details on how different terrains affect the bomb. Continue reading to learn more.

Illustration of a nuclear explosion in a city


The Mk-I is 28 inches wide, 120 inches long, and weighs 8,900 pounds. This makes it a very big and dangerous bomb. It is an airburst type of bomb. They were used in combat in 1945. Only 5 of them were ever made.

This bomb yields 15-16 kilotons of energy. That means that this bomb would blow up 1.28 miles of land. This, of course, would be affected by the terrain and climate around the blast site. The flatter the ground, the farther the effects of this bomb would go.


Nuclear missiles aimed at the sky at sunset

The Mk-III is even bigger than the Mk-I, which is what makes it the superior nuclear bomb. The Mk-III is 60.25 inches in width and 128 inches in length. The weight of this monstrous bomb is 10,300 pounds, making it very heavy and hard to move. The yielding for this bomb is 49 kilotons of energy. That means this bomb’s blast zone is 3.92 miles. This means that it can cause much more damage than the Mk-I.

This bomb was also used in combat in 1945. It was mass-produced for a while, and the United States created 120 of these bombs. However, in the 1950s, the bomb was officially retired from use. The nickname for this bomb is the “Fat Man” due to this bomb being the biggest of its time.


The Mk-4 is roughly the same size as the Mk-III. It also has a smaller blast zone. It was based on the Mk-III. The bomb is 60 inches wide and 128 inches long. It weighs 10,900 pounds. The energy for the Mk-4 is 31 kilotons. This means the blast zone for this bomb is 2.48 miles, which means that it can wipe out a small city and is a dangerous weapon to possess.


The Mk-5 is much smaller than the other bombs but much more powerful. It is 43.75 inches in width and 132 inches in length. Not only is it small, but it only weighs 3,175 pounds, making it super light and easier to transport than many other nuclear bombs. However, the amount of energy this bomb holds is 120 kilotons. This means that the blast range for the Mk-5 is 9.6 miles.

The United States created 140 of these bombs. They had a very good lens so that the bomb was able to land well on the target. This bomb was also the first bomb to figure out how to do a large weight reduction without compromising the design. This revolutionized the nuclear bomb design industry.


A modern nuclear bomb explosion over a small city or large country town

The W-5 is our first nuclear warhead. It was the fifth attempt to make a successful nuclear warhead. There had been many failed attempts in the past, but the design process was hard. Engineers had to keep going back to the drawing board.

This warhead was 43.75 inches in width and 132 inches in length. It weighed a grand total of 3,175 pounds and had an energy capacity of 120 kilotons. That means, much like the Mk-5, this warhead had a blast range of 9.6 miles. This warhead retired in 1963, but it was the first of many nuclear warheads that would be manufactured by the United States.


The Mk-6 is a bit bigger than the Mk-5. It is 61 inches in width and 128 inches in length. The weight of this bomb is 8,500 pounds. While still lighter than the first drafts of the Mk bomb, it is still heavier than the bombs created at that time. The Mk-6, though, makes up for the extra weight by being able to hold extra energy.

This bomb had 160 kilotons of energy stored in it. This gave the Mk-6 a blast range of 12.8 miles. This, of course, was the most powerful bomb of its time. The United States manufactured 1100 of the Mk-6 nuclear bomb before retiring it in 1962.


After the Mk-6 was made and retired, the United States needed a lighter bomb. They wanted a small, light bomb that they could carry on most aircrafts and boats. The Mk-7 was the solution.

While the bomb was fairly average in length, it was very light. The width of the Mk-7 was 30.5 inches and the length was 183 inches. It only weighed 1,700 pounds. This made it a great bomb to transport over long distances.

Of course, losing weight also meant losing power. Only 61 kilotons of energy could be stored in the Mk-7. This means that the blast range for the Mk-7 is only 4.88 miles. Still, this was a popular bomb due to its lightweight system. It was nicknamed “Thor” by the army after the Nordic God of Lightning.


Our next nuclear warhead is the W-7. This warhead had a lot of action during its time. It was 30.5 inches in width and 56 inches in length. It made this warhead pretty small, which was why people liked it. The warhead also only weighed 1,100 pounds, making it lightweight and easy to transport, which is what was becoming very popular during the time this warhead was created.

The energy levels for this warhead are very small, though. The amount of energy the W-7 warhead held was 40 kilotons. That means that the blast range for the W-7 was only 3.2 miles long.


The Mk-8 was another very small bomb in width, but, it still was quite long. The bomb was only 14.5 inches in width and 132 inches in length. This gave the bomb the ability to be shipped more easily. Several of them could be bound together, making it easy to transport a number of these nuclear bombs at once.

The weight of the Mk-8 was 3,280 pounds. The amount of energy the Mk-8 could hold was 30 kilotons. This meant that the blast range was only 2.4 miles. This bomb had some problems in production and had its initial release date pushed back, but eventually got put to use and was given the nickname “Elise.”


Missiles are aimed at a helicopter in the sky at sunset with birds flying in the sky

The W-9 is the United States of America’s first nuclear artillery shell. It was 11.02 inches in width and 54.8 inches in length. It weighed a grand total of 850 pounds and was able to hold 15 kilotons of energy. This meant that the artillery shell had a blast range of 1.2 miles. This bomb was retired in 1957, but in 1980, the United States decided to start producing it again.


Our next bomb is the Mk-12. This bomb was also another lightweight and skinny bomb. It was 22 inches in width and 155 inches in length. This bomb weighed only 1,200 pounds, and because it was fairly small, it was only able to hold 14 kilotons of energy. This meant that the blast range for this bomb was 1.12 miles.

This is obviously the least powerful atomic bomb that had been created in a while in the United States, showing a shift in priority. This bomb was actually held on a timer or contact button. This meant that the bomb could be planted without an airstrike. This made the bomb a good thing to use during a sneak attack.


Now let’s talk about the Mk-13. This one never got put to use. It was tested several times, but they could not get the weight down nor the energy levels up high enough for it to do a lot of damage.

The width of the Mk-13 was 61 inches and the height was 128 inches. It weighed a grand total of 7,400 pounds. The amount of energy the Mk-13 could hold was 32 kilotons of energy. This is a rather small amount of energy considering its size and weight. Still, the blast range for the Mk-13 was a total of 2.56 miles, which is still enough to do significant damage.


The Mk-14 was one of the heaviest and most powerful bombs created during its time. This bomb was 61.4 inches in width and 223.5 inches in length. This was an airburst bomb that weighed 31,000 pounds. Only one of these bombs could be carried at a time. The energy level this bomb could carry was 7 megatons.

However, this bomb was never used in combat because of the amount of damage it could cause. This bomb has a blast range of 560 miles. This would cause major destruction and could be the beginning of the end of humanity if ever deployed. Five Mk-14s were produced by the United States.


Missile Attack on a city Apocalyptic Sky Spectacular Art Illustration

Since the Mk-14, people started creating more bombs with megatons worth of energy capacity, which is how the Mk-15 was created. It was 35 inches in width and 140 inches in length. This bomb weighed less than most bombs on this list, which is what made it innovative for its time.

This was a lightweight powered nuclear bomb. The amount of energy this bomb could carry was 1.69 megatons of energy. That means the blast zone for the Mk-15 was 135.2 miles of land. The United States decided to produce 1,200 of these bombs since they were easier to manage than the Mk-14, yet still had enough to decimate a large amount of land.


The TX-16 is another monster bomb. This one is definitely not lightweight. It was 61.4 inches in width and 296.7 inches in length. This beast weighed a grand total of 42,000 pounds. It had awesome energy-holding capacity as well. It could hold up to 8 megatons of energy. This means that the blast zone would be 640 miles.

This bomb was the only TN weapon to ever be deployed. The United States only made five of these bombs due to the danger associated with storing and managing them.


The EC-17 hit a new level of energy-holding capacity. It was 61.4 inches in width, much like the TX-16, and 224.9 inches in length. However, at 39,600 pounds, it weighed less than the TX-16. Still, that was more than enough weight to be able to hold 11 megatons of energy. That meant that the blast zone of this bomb would be 880 miles on a flat surface.

This bomb was stockpiled and never used. Only five of these bombs were ever created. It was called the “Emergency Capability” weapon. It was created as a threat and with the intention of never being used. Most of these bombs were created with the hope of never being used, and due to that fact, most of them just sit in storage with the capacity to change the very world we live in.

Overall, the nuclear bombs that the United States has made and currently have in storage have the ability to cause a lot of damage when deployed. Hopefully, they will never have to be used.

For more, check out US Nuclear Target Map: Most Safe and Unsafe Areas.