In a televised address, the Russian President talked about using all weapons available with Russia to defend the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation. There has been heightened speculation over what Putin’s next move might be in terms of weaponry. The terms “tactical” and “strategic” nuclear weapons have been making the rounds in this context.


Difference between ‘strategic’ and ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons

  • In the general scheme of things, strategic objectives are the interests of a particular country. But when it comes to nuclear weapons, strategic nuclear weapons are understood to mean those causing greater, large-scale damage.
  • Tactical nuclear weapons, whereas, are small nuclear warheads and delivery systems meant to carry out a limited strike in a smaller area. The smallest tactical nuclear weapons can be one kiloton or less (producing the equivalent to a thousand tonnes of the explosive TNT). The largest can be as big as 100 kilotons.
  • Strategic nuclear weapons are larger (up to 1,000 kilotons) and are launched from longer range. By comparison, the atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 was 15 kilotons.
  • By this classification, the Hiroshima bomb would likely be considered a tactical nuclear weapon.