Most Deadly US Military Weapon Right Now

Most Deadly US Military Weapon Right Now

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The United States of America fields  the most powerful fighting force in   history- and these are its deadliest weapons. M-4 Assault Rifle A boring old assault rifle may seem like a strange  place to start a list of deadliest weapons,   but this weapon has been in the hands of  US soldiers across a vaiety of conflicts,   and carried the fight in each one. This weapon has  been effective at dispatching enemies of the US,   and has only recently has a sucessor  been named. Maybe. The US military has   a pretty bad track record about comitting  to replacing its standard battle rifles. The M4 carbine is a gas-operated, magazine fed  assault rifle chambered for the 5.56 NATO-standard   round, and been in active service with the US  military since 1994, during which it has undergone   over 90 modifications to improve its performance.  Replacing the venerated M16, the M-4 is basically  

a modern version of the Vietnam era assault  rifle, only smaller, lighter, and with the ability   to become much more compact. Its collapsible  buttstock doesn't sacrifice accuracy while giving   its user the ability to modify the length of the  rifle to their personal preference, and being able   to fully collapse the buttstock gives its user an  advantange in tight close quarters combat. Whereas   the M16 could be an unwieldy rifle in tight  quarters, the M4 remains flexible and agile-   especially important for American servicemen going  into door-to-door combat across the middle east. In 1982, the US government put in a request with  Colt firearms for a carbine version of the M16A2   rifle, and that request was accelerated the next  year when the 9th Infantry Division requested the   rapid development of a 5.56mm carbine to replace  their M1s and M3 submachine guns. It would take   until 1985 when the Picatinny Arsenal was awarded  a contract to produce 40 prototypes of what would   eventually become the M4. The Marines and Army  initially went in together on development of  

the M4, but when the Marines requested the new  rifle taste like crayons the Army pulled out. In 1991 the US military faced its first  significant modern test in a war predicted to be   the “mother of all battles” by Saddam Hussein's  Iraq. While ground action was very limited,   lessons learned from ground combat helped shape  ongoing development of the M4. In 1993, the Army   jumped back on the M4 bandwagon and issued its  first production contract for the M4, and a year   later issued another contract for M4A1 rifles  specifically for special operations command.

In 1993 the United States faced its first true  urban battle with the Battle of Mogadishu. In that   infamous engagement, American special forces and  Rangers became trapped in the city of Mogadishu,   Somalia when an operation went wrong. The  Rangers were equipped with older M16 rifles,   while Delta Force operators had their shiny new  CAR-15s. After the battle, the Rangers would   complain that their M16s were simply too unwieldly  in street and door-to-door combat, and the US   Army became convinced that it was time to push a  carbine rifle into the hands of all of its troops. The M4 would officially start its career giving  bad guys extra holes in 1999, as the US military   deployed to Kosovo in support of NATO's Kosovo  Force. There the rifle would perform admirably,  

and just a few years later it was in wide  use as American troops launched the global   war on terror. By 2005, most of the Army  had already replaced its M16s with M4s,   and also replaced a large number of submachine  guns and handguns carried specifically for close   quarters combat as the M4 offers greater stopping  power and penetrability versus body armor.  The Marines, apparently still upset the  M4 did not in fact taste like crayons,   only offered the M4 to its officers starting  in 2007. Rank and file troops were forced to   continue using the M16A4 as the standard  infantry rifle. Marines can be famously   superstitious about new technology, and only  the Marines that could be trusted to operate   vehicles or other positions which required  greater mobility were allowed to use the M4. Alternatively, the Marines may simply have been  allowing the Army to field test the M4 rifle   rather than suffer casualties themselves-  and it wasn't until 2015 that the USMC was   finally convinced that the M4 was a suitable  replacement for the M16. This was just in time  

for the search for a replacement to the M4 to be  announced, and two years later the Marine Corps   decided that every single Marine in an infantry  squad should instead be equipped with the M27,   which is basically the Kim Kardashian  to the M4's Chloe Kardashian. You know,   the same, but slightly better. Even if  it still doesn't taste like crayons. Other rifles may get more glory, and there's  plenty of disinformation floating around about   the M4 rifle- but make no mistake, this is  one of the deadliest assault rifles ever   created. While the AK family of rifles  enjoys a healthy does of legendaryism,   the M4 has actually proven its worth in  conflicts around the world. As long as you  

keep it clean and properly lubricated, the  M4 will perforate your target with extreme   precision and prejudice in any weather from  subzero temperatures to boiling hot deserts. The only significant weakness of the M4 compared  to its AK family counterparts- and the rifles   it was designed to meet on the battlefield and  defeat- is its smaller caliber round. This wasn't   helped by the use of steel penetrator rounds early  in the war on terror, during which M4 operators   complained of less-than-lethal hits on targets as  the rounds designed to punch through armor were   instead punching clean holes through bad guys.  However, when it comes to precision and range-   and more importantly: precision at range- the M4  beats the pants off any AK model in the world. F-22 Raptor Going from the Army to the US Air Force, the F-22  is the deadliest production fighter aircraft to   ever take to the sky- period. We say “production  fighter aircraft” because the US Air Force has  

confirmed that its 6th generation Next Generation  Air Dominance fighter has already flown multiple   test flights, and we can only guess that it's  lethality is even greater than the F-22. However,   as far as what's currently flying and capable  of going to war, nothing beats the F-22. The concept of the F-22 started out in  1981, when the US Air Force got tired   of meeting Soviet threats years after  they were fielded and decided to just   leapfrog the Soviet Union technologically.  At the time, the US Air Force was facing  

a significant threat to its F-15s and F-16s  from rapidly improving Soviet air defenses,   as well as a growing fleet of SU-27  Flankers and Mig-29 Fulcrums. But this   would be a fighter like no other, a truly next  generation aircraft which would exploit newly   developed technologies and everything that the  US Air Force had been secretly learning about   stealth in as-yet unrevealed aircraft such  as the B2 bomber and the F-117 Nighthawk. The thought of a truly stealthy air dominance  fighter was enough to make the Pentagon wet   its pants in excitement, but development would  take significant pioneering efforts. Stealth and   a fighter aircraft don't really go together well,  as a fighter must be maneuverable and thus require   structural designs that run directly contrary  to what stealth demands. Tail fins for example  

allow a fighter aircraft to be very manueverable,  but are dead giveaways for a stealth aircraft   trying to limit its radar cross section. Nonetheless, under code name Senior Sky,   the USAF put out a request to the aerospace  industry for a next generation fighter,   and by 1985 the request had evolved to identify  stealth and supercruise as two of the highest   priorities in the new fighter's design. Just  a few months later as new intelligence about   Soviet air defenses came to light, the USAF  dramatically increased its requirement for   stealth, officially taking the aircraft from  low-observable to truly stealthy. Aerospace   engineers everywhere pulled their hair out of  their heads and set to work on this impossible   conundrum- how to make a fighter that is  both very maneuverable, but also stealthy.

A year later, the USAF announced that it  wanted to see some prototypes flying very soon,   and the US Navy announced that it would  use a derivative of the US Air Force   program to replace its F-14s. The quest  to develop the F-22 would be so difficult,   that defense contractors would end up pooling  their resources together in one of the biggest   brain merges in defense acquisitions history.  This would really highlight the difficulty   in developing 5th generation aircraft, and  despite China and Russia fielding imposters,   neither of their entries into  stealth are truly 5th generation.

By 1992 it became clear that the F-22 would  have to be heavier than originally intended,   and this, along with the difficulties in building  an F-22 variant which could fly off carrier decks,   prompted the Navy to drop out of the  program. The F-22 would undergo a suite   of testing and refinement, with the Air  Force so determined to create the best   fighter possible that it even made minute  changes to the design such as moving the   engine inlets 14 inches and the entire canopy  forward 7 inches to improve pilot visibility.   But the brains of the F-22 were proving just  as formidable as its stealth characteristics,   with 1.7 million lines of code driving the plane's  computer and allowing it to achieve true sensor   fusion. The F-22 wouldn't just be lethal, it  would be smarter than anything else in the sky. By 1991 however, the Soviet Union  cried Uncle and the Cold War ended,   leaving the US Air Force with an incredibly  lethal aircraft and no threats for it to counter.  

The F-22 was a heavyweight prize fighter, the  greatest the world had ever seen, but there was   nobody to step into the ring with. As a result,  development dramatically slowed, and acquisition   dropped dramatically from fully replacing  the US Air Force's fleet to just under 200. Today the F-22 has been adapted from an  air superiority fighter to a multirole   platform so it could do something more  than just watch its F-15 and F-16 cousins   do real world missions while it sat in a  hangar wasting taxpayers money. The Air   Force was so desperate to give their  thoroughbred steed anything to do that   it even deployed it to the Middle East where  it undertook operations in support of Syrian   rebels. That's like using a multimillion  dollar Ferrari for a grocery run. However,   the F-22 would finally get a chance to do the  mission it was created for- defending the United   States homeland- by scoring its first ever air  to air kill in 2023- against a weather balloon.

Killing a weather balloon with an F-22 is not like  using a Ferrari to run for groceries, it's like   hurling a Ferrari at a weather balloon to destroy  it. To no one's surprise, the F-22 came out on top   against the best weather balloon technology China  could muster, proving that its $200 million price   tag was worth every penny. However, as competition  with China heats up and it become obvious that in   a real war China will be using more than weather  balloons, the US Air Force is once more set to   absolutely destroy the American budget deficit  with its NGAD 6th generation fighter program.

For now though, nothing in  the sky touches the F-22,   though its smaller brother  does come in close second. F-35  Every second child in the world knows what  it's like to be the F-35. While the F-22 was   out there stealing the show and wowing people  with its incredible performance, the F-35 was   struggling to get off the ground and quickly  became the most controversial weapons program   in world history. While everyone was freaking out  over its estimated $1.7 trillion cost, nobody was   paying attention to the fact that the individual  unit cost is well under half of that of the F-22. But then again, the F-35 really  is a little brother to the F-22,   but that doesn't make it anything less than  the second most lethal aircraft in the sky. The F-22 is the Air Force's darling, an absolutely  lethal assassin that browns the pants of any enemy   pilot who's been briefed to expect American  F-22s in their area of operations. However,  

assassins don't win wars, and not even the  United States is rich enough to equip an   entire air fleet of 1500 fighters with  F-22s. This is where the F-35 comes in. With weapons costs ballooning out of  control due to the US' addiction for   wielding literal sci-fi weapons, the F-35  attempted to make building a future air   fleet cheaper. A product of the Joint Strike  Fighter program, the F-35 was designed to be   a single platform which could be used by  the Air Force, the Navy's carrier forces,   and the Marines- whom incredibly are allowed  to fly their own planes. We know, we checked. But each service has its own specific  requirements, and this quickly ballooned the cost   of the Joint Strike Fighter program. The Air Force  demanded the deadliest thing to ever be put into  

the sky, but was told to sit down, calm down, and  accept compromises for the sake of not literally   breaking the US budget. The Navy required a short  take off variant with a much more ruggedized   structure to fly off its carriers. The Marines  demanded their aircraft taste like crayons and   also needed a short take off variant that could  take off vertically like the British Harrier.

Such diverse needs quickly  led to an explosion in cost,   when the US had originally hoped that a  homogenized air fleet across its various   services would instead be cheaper  to procure, maintain, and supply. In October of 2000, the X-35A would have its first  flight, undergoing testing at both subsonic and   supersonic speeds. After 28 successful flights,  the test aircraft was converted for STOVL testing,   and rebranded as the X-35B. This would prove to  be a tricky conversion, but would successfully  

conduct stable hover, vertical landing, and  short take off with less than 500 feet of   runway. A few months later, the carrier variant,  the X-35C would undergo practice carrier landings. The next year, Lockheed Martin was  declared the winner of the JSF contract,   and the entire program moved into System  Development and Demonstration phase. Various   tweaks and changes to the design led to the  F-35B becoming the biggest of the bunch,   as its weapons bay was enlarged in order to ensure  commonality and thus ease of operation between   variants. However, this caused the aircraft to  miss key requirements for STOVL performance,   forcing redesign to decrease weight- the F-35's  diet would cost the US government $6.2 billion  

dollars and an 18 month delay. At the end, the  weapons bay would have to be shrunk once again. As the aircraft underwent operational testing  across the services, the controversy began to pile   on. The most expensive fighter program in history,  hell the most expensive thing to ever be made,   was running into a slew of critical problems. The  F-35B's airframe was prone to premature cracking   from STOVL operations. The F-35C's arrestor hook  sometimes didn't want to do its job and instead  

did its best to force its pilot to go for a  swim. Fuel tanks on all models were vulnerable to   lighting strikes, the helmet display had serious  issues, and its main cannon would either not fire,   or was hopelessly inaccurate. By 2009,  the F-35 was 30 months behind schedule,   and the entire program was pushed from achieving  initial operational capability in 2010 to 2015.   Most baffling of all though was the government's  decision to simultaneously conduct ongoing tests,   fix defects, and begin production, which is a real  Russian way of doing things. A program originally   meant to lower costs by interoperability  between the services was discovered to have   only 25% of the plane's parts in common with  each variant, down from an estimated 70%.

Unlike the F-22, the F-35 has yet to be  tested on air-to-air balloon battle. But   with most of the speed bumps smoothed out of  the world's most expensive weapons program,   the F-35 is at last being procured in large  numbers. While it's not as stealthy as the F-22,   the F-35 is cheap enough to allow the US  military to buy it in huge numbers, presenting   a potential foe with a serious complication as  it faces an entirely 5th generation air fleet. But what makes the F-35 an extreme threat  to any enemy is its ability to coordinate   with other aircraft in the sky. The F-22 can't  communicate with other aircraft- not because it's   an elitist snob, as one may suspect, but because  its avionics are simply too old and expensive to   replace. The F-35 meanwhile is a chatterbox, which  makes the aircraft not just lethal on its own,   but extends that lethality to older platforms  still in the US and allied arsenal. An F-35  

for example can loiter deep in hostile air  space where air defenses would blast other   aircraft out of the sky, and guide weapons  fired by legacy platforms to their targets.   The F-35 is so brainy, it can even act as a  miniature AWACS platform for friendly forces. Soon the F-35 will be armed with  the two-stage AIM 260 missile,   greatly increasing the range at which it  can threaten targets while they struggle   to acquire a firing solution. While details  remain classified, it's believed that current   Russian and Chinese aircraft cannot engage  an F-35 until within two dozen or so miles,   by which time the F-35 will have long ago  unloaded its complement of air to air missiles.

LRASM While we're in the sky, it's time to point  out one of America's deadliest weapons- the   Long Range Anti-Ship Missile. The best part  about this weapon is most of us will get to   see it in action as the US and China are currently  locked in a fatal cycle leading to inevitable war! The LRASM was born out of the need for a solution  for a simple problem- China. In 1996, West Taiwan   threw a tantrum when East Taiwan's president  attended his alma matter in the US to deliver   a speech. West Taiwan viewed it as a violation of  the US' one-China policy which technically didn't   recognize Taiwan as an independent nation. Like  any nation with an insecure and unstable leader,   China threw an absolute fit and lobbed a bunch  of missiles over Taiwan in a show of force.

The United States responded with  its own show of force as a warning   and sailed a carrier battle group  straight through the Taiwan Strait,   utterly humiliating China who was completely  powerless to stop it. For some weird reason,   the Chinese took this personally and decided  that would never happen again. Since then,   China has focused on what it calls Anti-Access,  Area Denial, or A2D2- a strategy that seeks to   keep the US from interfering with China's plans  to reunify Taiwan with the mainland at gunpoint. With thousands of long-range ballistic missiles  and a huge compliment of anti-ship missiles,   China has turned the entire western Pacific into  a serious threat to the US Navy. If the US was  

going to prevent an invasion of Taiwan which  would leave China in control of nearly the   world's entire supply of semiconductors,  it would need a new type of weapon. In 1965 the US Navy failed to appreciate  the power of anti-ship missiles,   instead believing most surface actions  would be largely decided by guns. However,   what it did need was a weapon to specifically  target surfaced submarines, and thus the Harpoon   was put into development. Then in 1967 the sinking  of the Israeli destroyer Eilat by an anti-ship  

missile rocked the Navy, who immediately  changed the purpose of Harpoon to become   a general anti-ship weapon. By 1977, the first  operational Harpoon was delivered to the Navy,   and 7500 more would be built and sold to  navies and air forces all over the world. But the Harpoon has serious limitations. Block  upgrades have kept it in pace with modern threats  

throughout the decades, but modern air defense  weapons and China's ability to strike far away   from its coast has made the Harpoon all but  obsolete. As ships get larger and larger,   the 488 pound (221 kg) warhead is also no longer  considered sufficient for the task- especially   when one considers that only a few of an entire  volley of anti-ship missiles may actually punch   through enemy air defenses to reach their targets.  The Navy needed a new weapon that could more than   double the impact on a successful hit, and deliver  more successful hits by evading enemy defenses.

Enter the LRASM, itself a  derivative of the JASSM-ER,   because it's federal law that American weapons  have cool sounding acronyms. The JASSM-ER,   or joint air-to-surface standoff missile  was developed to offer US air power a way of   penetrating dense and sophisticated air defenses  to deliver 1,000 pounds of high explosive freedom   right where it hurts the most.With a range of  575 miles (925 km), and an improved variant   with twice the range, the navy saw what the  Air Force was doing and said yes, please. Russian Granit anti-ship missiles have been the  terror of the US Navy since they were introduced   in 1985, packing a whopping 1653 pound (750 kg)  warhead that can fly as fast as Mach 2.5. These   things are big, dumb, and pack a massive  punch- perfect for the Russian military.   But with a range of only 388 miles (625 km)  and the radar cross-section of a small jet,   there's little chance of a Granit actually  penetrating US air defenses unless they're   launched in volleys so big that it would  cripple the Russian economy. And even if  

they could launch that many missiles, we  know that half of them would probably be   packed with turnips because some Russian  colonel stole the money for the explosives. The LRASM packs just over half the explosives  of a Granit, but is an order of magnitude or   two more deadly. Specifically designed  to penetrate sophisticated air defenses,   the LRASM incorporates stealth technology  into its design, dramatically reducing its   radar cross section thus reducing the  range at which it can be intercepted,   as well as complicating firing solutions. Its  max speed is classified, but it's believed the   LRASM is by design a subsonic missile so as  to enjoy better fuel efficiency and to help   it evade detection via thermal means. Its  operational range is likewise classified,   but estimated to be over 230 miles (370km), with  new variants substantially adding to that range. In the age of hypersonic missiles, the LRASM  is a purposeful step away from this design,   trading extreme speed for extreme stealth.  But it's also a very smart missile,  

using advanced artificial intelligence to  automatically evade enemy air defenses,   a capability known as counter-countermeasures.  It can use GPS or if denied, inertial navigation   to find its way to a target zone, where  its electronic brain can scan for its   own targets. Using an onboard library of  different enemy ships, it can automatically   designate a target for itself and avoid striking  civilian shipping. When launched in a swarm,   each LRASM can deconflict from the others, to  ensure that one or two picket ships don't end   up taking the brunt of an LRASM volley,  and maximizing damage to an enemy fleet. But the LRASM can do so much more, it's basically  a flying AWACS platform as its sensors allow it to   work together with other LRASMs or US assets  to create a live picture of the battlespace. To  

ensure it cannot be detected early, the LRASM also  does not put out any emissions of its own except   microsecond, low power data-link transmissions.  This is in contrast with most modern anti-ship   missiles which use active radar in the  terminal phase to find their targets. Instead,   LRASM uses a variety of passive sensors to  locate a target, making it impossible to degrade   via electronic attack and very difficult  to spoof with physical countermeasures. The missile can be fired from US ships or a  number of aircraft, including carrier borne   F-18s and F-35s. However, given its size, the  LRASM cannot be carried in the F-35's internal  

weapons bay, forcing it to carry the missile  on wing pylons and reducing the F-35 from a   stealth aircraft to a low-observable  platform. With its huge range though,   this is more than enough to get close to enemy  fleets and launch for a successful strike. But the brainy missiles have only been in  production for a few years, and thus the Navy   only has about 250 while the Air Force has less  than 100. With the probability of war with China  

looming on the imminent horizon, production  has been ramped up- but that hasn't stopped   the navy from already looking for the LRASM's  replacement as the US seeks to restore the massive   technological offset that has traditionally  made it the world's premier fighting force. Link 16 Our final deadliest weapon in the US  arsenal isn't a weapon at all- but   without it most of the US military's  fancy capabilities would be no more. Link 16 is a military tactical data link in  use by the US and its NATO allies. It uses   Time Division Multiple Access, allowing  multiple simultaneous communications and   thus increasing the amount of communication  between operators or weapons. The world's   most robust military communications network,  details about Link 16 remain very classified,   but the US Air Force has flatly stated  that the system has saved countless US   servicemember's lives across various conflicts.  Practically every networked platform in the US  

arsenal uses Link 16 to relay data back and  forth, and the system is the very reason why   the US military is so incredibly lethal.  With Link 16 capabilities, shooters can   connect with observers in an instant to strike  at targets they can't see or detect themselves. On its own, Link 16 allows for  only line of sight communications,   but integrated into the vast US  military communications network,   Link 16 allows for global tactical data networks  that provide near-real time data sharing between   any two US units in the world. With the ability  for shooters, observers, and weapons to all   talk to each other and share information,  Link 16 remains the key to US lethality.

Now go watch What If A Single F-22  Time Traveled To Germany During WWI,   or click this other video instead!

2023-06-01 20:59

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