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An item which is designed to be mounted in or on a torpedo, guided missile, rocket, or bomb; it may contain high-explosive, nuclear, chemical, biological, or inert materials.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a part of a missile that is designed to inflict destruction on a target. In it is put the payload, the fuse (destruct system), and the safety-lock actuating mechanism. The warhead, which consists of a jacket and combat charge, inflicts the immediate damaging effect on the target. Combat charges of the appropriate type (nuclear and conventional explosives) and of the necessary capacity (yield) are used, depending on the size and vulnerability of the target that the missile is to strike. The capacity factor of the effect of a warhead on a target occupying a given area is its zone of effectiveness (killing zone). For an individual target, it is the probability of destruction (kill probability). Depending on the type of missile, warheads can be transported in the structure of the missile and also separately.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The key takeaway of this year's report, according to SIPRI Governing Board Chair Jan Eliasson is that "despite an overall decrease in the number of nuclear warheads in 2018, all nuclear weapon-possessing states continue to modernize their nuclear arsenals."
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Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global provider of aerospace and defense technologies, has successfully demonstrated its new advanced missile warhead designed to survive in high temperature environments and function at hyper velocities, the company said.
Based on available information about its nuclear-capable delivery force structure and strategy, we estimate that India has produced 120-130 nuclear warheads, the article said, adding that the country will need more warheads to arm the new missiles it is currently developing.
"North Korea has produced fissile material for 10-20 nuclear warheads and detonated five nuclear devices," the FAS February 17 update said.
Two of the country's four ballistic missile submarines are always armed with nuclear warheads. The country is also capable of delivering a nuclear payload by jet plane, though French bombers are not likely on round-the-clock high alert.
Lee Chun-geun, at South Korea's Science and Technology Policy Institute, said the missiles were believed to be carrying warheads with trigger devices but not plutonium or uranium, to see whether those warheads could detonate properly.
A South Korean government report said he had between eight and 20 of the miniaturised 660lb nuclear warheads at his disposal.
Seoul: North Korea can mount a nuclear warhead on a medium-range missile, a South Korean official said on Tuesday in a new assessment of the capability of a country that conducted its fourth nuclear test this year.