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Tactical Nuclear Weapons

Russian tactical nuclear weapons would be physically deployed on the territory of Belarus.

Why in news?

Russian tactical nuclear weapons would be physically deployed on the territory of Belarus.

What are nuclear weapons?

  • Nuclear weapons are explosive devices that derive their destructive power from nuclear reactions namely nuclear fission or fusion.
  • They are capable of releasing vast amounts of energy in the form of a nuclear explosion.
  • The production of nuclear weapons typically requires highly enriched uranium.

Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNWs)

  • Tactical nuclear weapons are of smaller scale and are intended for use on the battlefield in support of ground forces.
  • They are designed for specific military objectives, such as attacking military installations, troop concentrations, or other tactical targets.
  • Tactical nuclear weapons have lower yields compared to strategic weapons but are still highly destructive.
  • They can be delivered by shorter-range missiles, artillery systems, or aircraft.


  1. Nuclear artillery shells: During the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union developed and deployed nuclear artillery shells. These shells were designed to be fired from conventional artillery pieces and had a relatively small yield. They were intended to provide a nuclear option for battlefield use and were part of the broader concept of “flexible response” during the Cold War.
  2. Nuclear land mines: Tactical nuclear land mines were developed and deployed by several countries during the Cold War. These mines were designed to be buried and detonated in response to enemy forces. Their purpose was to deny or delay the advance of opposing forces through the use of nuclear explosions.
  3. Nuclear depth charges: Nuclear depth charges were developed during the Cold War for use against submarines. They were designed to be dropped from aircraft or launched from ships to detonate underwater and neutralize enemy submarines. These weapons were intended to provide a means of countering submarine threats with the destructive power of a nuclear explosion.
  4. Non-strategic nuclear missiles: The term “non-strategic” or “theater” nuclear missiles refers to a category of tactical nuclear weapons that are capable of shorter-range delivery compared to strategic missiles. These missiles are designed for use in regional conflicts and have been deployed by several countries. The exact capabilities and specifics of these weapons can vary depending on the country and the system in question.

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