With more than 750,000 troops at its disposal, Russia has the second-largest army of any world nation. And the Eurasian country has been worryingly quick to throw its weight into recent controversial conflicts. Indeed, its campaigns in Syria and Ukraine may have proven its military might, but they have also raised further tensions with neighboring NATO states. It is clear that the West has a lot to be afraid of, as the former-USSR’s increased military spending has resulted in some terrifying weapon technology. And these new pieces of hardware are capable of destruction on an unprecedented level.
Built as a replacement to the current MiG-29 and Su-27, the PAK-FA jet will help the Russian Air Force rule the skies. Featuring stealth technology and a top speed of Mach 1.6, this lethal fighter has greater maneuverability than the U.S. F-22 Raptor and is therefore more deadly. Though still at the production stage, the PAK-FA should see service by next year.
Translated as “comrade” in English, the Soratnik robotic tank appears anything but friendly to Western eyes. However, as accompanying support for Russian ground troops, this seven-ton machine certainly looks effective. Currently in testing, the Soratnik boasts both sniper and assault rifles and despite its weight can travel at 25mph.
Another menacing example of Russian military robotics, the Nerehkta is an alarming companion to the Soratnik. Essentially a 40-inch-long slab of high explosives on tracks, this automaton wheels itself up to its objective before detonating its deadly load. What’s more, this near-silent kamikaze machine can approach its target undetected, making it a terrifying presence on future battlefields.
Perhaps meant as an ironic joke, the new Floks mobile artillery carrier shares its name with a pretty flower. Nevertheless, there’s nothing attractive about this vehicle, which can launch five-inch mortar shells a distance of up to eight miles. First unveiled last year, this versatile platform can fire anti-tank, fragmentation and smoke rounds.
16. Borei-class submarine
Put into production in 1996, the Borei-class nuclear submarines have had a long gestation period. But the wait has resulted in an undersea craft capable of devastating land targets. Indeed, each sub comes equipped with 16 to 20 Bulava missiles, which have six warheads with a nuclear yield of 150 kilotons. As of today, three Borei subs are in service but will be bolstered by a further five before 2020.
15. RS-24 Yars
Capable of being fired from both silos and road vehicles, the RS-24 Yars is a truly formidable intercontinental ballistic missile. Not only can it reach targets almost 7,500 miles away – well beyond the distance between Moscow and Washington D.C. – but it packs a payload of six 100-to-300-kiloton warheads which can hit separate targets. Currently, 73 of these horrific missiles are in service.
14. T-15 Armata
Built with urban conflict in mind, the T-15 Armata is an armored troop transporter capable of fighting infantry. Featuring 55-inch thick armor, this 48-ton behemoth is almost impervious to heavy ballistics. And it also packs a punch, with four AT-14 Kornet-AM rockets on hand to K.O. enemy tanks.
13. Tupolev Tu-160M2 Blackjack
Although it carries the same chassis of the outdated Blackjack bomber, the Tupolev Tu-160M2 overhaul is a different supersonic beast entirely. This advanced aircraft can achieve twice the speed of sound and is intended to fire long-range cruise missiles from outside enemy airspace. Set to take its maiden flight next year, the Tu-160M2 is due to enter service in 2021.
12. T-14 Amarta
One of the world’s most advanced tanks, Russia claims the T-14 Amarta leaves current Western models in the dirt. Though costly to produce, the T-14 features forward-thinking defensive and offensive measures as well as a remotely operated turret. Furthermore, some reports suggest that the tank – revealed during Moscow’s 2015 Victory Day parade – could be fitted with nuclear ordinance in the future.
It may well resemble something from a dystopian science fiction film, but the Vikhr combat robot is a frighteningly reality. Unveiled last year, this scout-attack machine bears a cannon and fixed machine gun as well as anti-tank missiles. Most alarmingly, the Vikhr can attack both ground and air targets and is capable of operating in water.
10. PBK-500U Drel
In today’s battlefield, death often strikes from above. And the PBK-500U Drel is the latest bomb that can obliterate land targets in mere seconds. Packed with 15 deadly submunitions, this half-ton cluster bomb can be dropped from a height of eight-and-a-half miles in any weather condition. Thankfully, for now, this scary device is still in the testing stage.
9. 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV
Perhaps the most fearsome howitzer in the global conflict theater, the 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV made its debut in the 2015 Victory Day Parade. Designed to supersede the current 2S19 Msta, this weapon can fire 6-inch rounds over a distance of up to 43 miles. If that wasn’t enough, it can also fire a shell every three seconds.
Although it currently has a weaker drone force than NATO, Russia is seeking to add weight to its remote-control arsenal with the five-ton Altius-M. Capable of reconnaissance and assault missions, the unmanned aircraft can cover 6,200 miles and stay airborne for two days. It may be one of Russia’s most guarded secrets, but analysts expect it to break cover later this year.
7. PL-19 Nudol
One of the most controversial weapons in Russia’s arms cache, the PL-19 Nudol has already caused upset in the West. Though Moscow claims the missile is to be used against similar ordinance, American officials – who monitored a 2016 test launch – argue that the rocket is intended to destroy satellites. If true, it could short-circuit the West’s electronic warfare capability.
Ominously dubbed the “Night Hunter”, the new Mi28NM is one of the world’s most sophisticated helicopter gunships. An updated form of the old Mi28N, this craft utilizes drones to help find targets and features laser-defense systems against incoming missiles. As Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev told Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper earlier this year, the Mi28NM is “an almost perfect combat vehicle.”
5. Zircon missile
Many land and sea vehicles come equipped with anti-missile systems, but Russia’s latest Zircon rocket renders such defenses useless. Thanks to a phenomenal top speed of more than six-times the speed of sound, the Zircon easily out-maneuvers current Western anti-missile sensors. Set to enter service next year, the weapon would give Russia an undeniable lead in naval combat.
Although smaller than the average ground assault vehicle, the remote-control Uran-9 tank punches above its weight when it comes to firepower. Besides a main cannon – which can shoot up to 400 rounds a minute – this robot also comes equipped with anti-tank missiles. And it has the capability to shoot down aircraft almost two miles away as well.
3. Tupolev Tu-95
Unlike previous entries, the Tu-95 bomber isn’t a new design. In fact, it’s been in service since 1956. However, the Russian Air Force recently upgraded the grandfather of its fleet to meet modern technological standards. Since 2015 Tu-95s carry eight Kh-101 cruise missiles, which have a 3,400 mile range and 880-pounds of explosives .
2. Yasen-class submarine
A true monster of the depths, the Yasen-class submarine aims to aid Russia’s dominance of the high seas. Armed with 300 torpedoes and eight cruise missiles, these vessels are specifically built to lay waste to naval targets and ports. In addition, these subs – such as the Kazan launched earlier this year – can stay hidden and out of reach lurking almost half-a-mile below the surface.
1. RS-28 Sarmat
While its nickname of “Satan 2” might sound hyperbolic, if anything the RS-28 Sarmat missile is more terrifying and wicked than its devilish moniker suggests. It can carry a ten-ton thermonuclear payload and create an explosion 2,000 times bigger than the one that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. Entering service next year, this missile is even designed to evade radar detection.