Forget the bows and arrows or swords of yesteryear. In this day and age, modern technology and the sheer desire to kill has granted us the engineering capability to do just that—seek and destroy larger volumes with precision, at extreme distances, in stealthier ways.
Beyond all the different types of firearms developed in the last century, there are also bioweapons that could potentially wipe out the planet, and multi-billion dollar underwater secret mission submarines with highly accurate cruise missiles that might have seemed like far-off possibilities for the future, but that are actually no longer figments of the imagination or drawn-up concepts. Read on to learn 24 facts about real modern killing machines that are locked and loaded, armed and dangerous.
Also known as a shoulder-fired anti-tank weapon, the Rocket Propelled Hand Grenade (RPG) is a cheap and simple weapon any unskilled soldier can use—and that can easily destroy a multi-million dollar tank. This thing can shoot far too. Specifically, on an RPG-7, the grenade can take flight 500 meters, reaching a maximum velocity of 295 meters per second.
First used by ancient Greeks as far back as the first century AD, flamethrowers (or as the Germans first named them, flammenwerfer) were implemented throughout the First World War. They can incinerate up to 80 meters and have previously been converted to shoot teargas dissolved in water as a way to control riots.
The German railway gun, known as the Heavy Gustav, was the strongest fortification in existence at the time, circa the 1930s. It was the largest-caliber rifled weapon ever used in combat and the heaviest mobile artillery piece ever built.
Featured in Forrest Gump, Se7en and Titanic, the functional but sleek M19-A11 has been labeled as the best self-loading pistol in existence, making it the grandfather of the modern handgun.
Turn on Scarface and watch Tony Montana blow up everything around him with the M16 rifle when he says, “Say hello to my little friend.” The M16’s worldwide production adds up to 8 million units, making it the most produced firearm of its caliber.
Considered the warlords of the ocean, the Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier measures over 1,000 feet long, weighs 100,000 tons, costs $4.5 billion, and is the world’s largest warship currently in service. The US army has 10 of these enormous floating weapons, each one capable of operating 85 to 90 aircraft, running on two nuclear reactors—meaning these massive ships don’t need to be refueled for up to 20 years.
Anthrax has microscopic spores that can be released without anyone knowing. The spores cannot be tasted, smelled or seen, making anthrax easy to slip into powders, sprays, and food. It’s not overly challenging to produce or access, and has a long-lasting shelf life, positioning anthrax as one of the biological agents most likely to be used in the event of a bioterrorist attack.
A chimera virus is when the genetic structure of two lethal diseases are tweaked and combined to effectively create and trigger two diseases at once. For example, during the late 1980s, there was a study into the feasibility of combining smallpox and Ebola into one super virus. Another example involves taking an already existing strain of a virus, and when given the antidote, triggers a lethal hybrid microorganism.
Considered the “Father of all Bombs” (FOAB), the Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power is a Russian thermobaric weapon that is the most powerful conventional non-nuclear weapon in the world. Each FOAB can detonate with the power of 44 ton’s worth of TNT, forming a mega fireball.
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An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is designed to transport nuclear weapons, with a minimum range of 5,500 km—the distance from New York City to London. They can be launched from airplanes, submarines missile silos, and vehicles.
The Russian Tsar Bomb (a Soviet RDS-220 hydrogen bomb) is the most powerful device ever detonated by mankind. In 1961, it created a mushroom cloud estimated to have gone as high as 40 miles in the sky, which is about seven times as tall as Mount Everest, and was visible for more than 600 miles away from the site.
John McHale, the entrepreneur behind TrackingPoint rifles, wanted to create a firearm with fighter jet technology where shooters of any skill level can shoot with the skill level of a trained sniper. A TrackingPoint Precision-Guided Firearm ensures precision at extreme distances and high target velocities. It also has Wi-Fi and the option to stream a live video feed of what you’re seeing.
The Uzi submachine gun, named after Israeli arms expert Uzi Gal, didn’t want his soon-to-be-famous weapon named after him when he invented it in 1956. His wishes were ignored, and although it was very lucrative for the state of Israel, he was a state employee and did not see the monetary fruits of his labor.
The British firm Accuracy International designed the very portable, ergonomic and lightweight A550 sniper rifle. Its most popular feature is its ability for the user to focus from a long range—up to 1,500 meters (1640 yards, just under one mile) with astounding accuracy. It can also be disassembled in under 3 minutes.
The deadly herbicide Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War (1961 to 1971) was exposed to over 4 million people, causing over 500,000 birth deformities, and destroyed 3,100,000 hectares (almost 12,000 square miles) of forest. Over 40 years later, research is revealing that third generation children and grandchildren who were never exposed to the pesticide now have birth defects that were passed on through their parents’ and grandparents’ affected genes.
The Russian Kalashnikov AK-47 is the world’s most popular assault rifle, scoring high on reliability, low on production costs, and with only 8 moving parts, making it so easy to use, a child can be taught how to properly handle this weapon in under an hour.
One of the most popular and effective machine guns in the world, the MG3 is a general purpose machine gun used to serve as a squad support weapon or mounted on a vehicle. Over 30 countries have acquired it for use in their militaries, and a number of other countries have manufactured it under license, including Austria, Argentina, Denmark, Italy, Estonia, Turkey, Mexico, Pakistan, Greece, Iran, and Spain.
A gun of many names, the Thompson M1921 M1928 Submarine Gun (aka Tommy Gun) originally went by the name 'The Annihilator." It was the first ever submachine intend to be small, lightweight and deadly, replacing the slower action rifles soldiers previously carried—revolutionizing the way soldiers fought.
The German-designed DSR-Precision DSR 50 Sniper Rifle is both practical—it has a unique hydraulic system—and approachable—it’s lightweight and compact compared to other rifles of its kind. It’s accurate, user-friendly and most of all super stealthy, which lends to its highly lethal and destructive characteristics. It is considered to be the “Bugatti Veyron” of long-range rifles.
Developed in 1942 in a secret laboratory at Harvard University, napalm is a lethal gel-like substance that burns through anything at temperatures of 800 to 1,200 °C (1,500 - 2,200 °F). Approximately 400,000 tons of napalm bombs were dropped by the US in Vietnam, between 1963 and 1973.
The Taranis, appropriating the name from the Celtic god of Thunder, is one of the most cutting-edge drones in production, reaching speeds of more than 700 mph, coming and going without anyone on the ground noticing it except for its sonic boom. And, it’s invisible on radar.
Featured in roughly 500 motion pictures and TV films, including The Matrix and Austin Powers, along with several video games, including the Grand Theft Auto series and Far Cry, the Desert Eagle pistol is the most powerful semi-automatic gun in the world. It is a fearsome gun—its penetrative power can rip through fridges and smash rock to smithereens.
While uttering the famous, “Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?”, Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry is holding the Smith and Wesson Model 29 revolver in Sudden Impact. The most powerful handgun in the world made famous thanks to its Hollywood debut.
The nuclear-powered Virginia class attack submarines are underwater warships considered to be the stealthiest combat systems ever built. Requiring no refueling for its entire 33 years of service, its sophisticated sonar and eavesdropping sensors are able to accelerate the capacity to launch unforeseen land attacks.
My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.
Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.
Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.
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