As far as western world countries go, Russia is easily one of the scariest. They sit there quietly in the shadows, researching weapons and building a military. As soon as a war comes along, they’re always one of the first with an impressive arsenal of weaponry no one has ever seen before. They’ve been doing it since the beginning of time too! Here are 13 top weapons that the Russians invented.
Let’s kick off with one of the most famous weapons to come out of Russia. The AK-47 began its life in the last year of World War II, 1945. Mikhail Kalashnikov developed the weapon, which is where it gets its other name from; the Kalashnikov. It wasn’t until after the war, however, that this impressive weapon was first used in official military trials.
Although it has been over 60 years since this assault rifle was invented, it is still one of the most popular weapons used in warfare today. Of course, there have been plenty of improvements since the original.
Sticking with World War II weapons, the T-34 was one of the most influential tank designs for quite some time. It also paved the way for many of the tanks we see on the battlefield nowadays. It was designed by the KMDB, over three years between 1937 and 1940.
This medium tank had such an impressive combination of armor, mobility, firepower, and high velocity. There have been plenty of upgrades and changes to the T-34 over the years, the basis of this tank is still used to create the heavy armored vehicles of today. Over 84,000 have been built since its inception.
If you thought that the T-34 was impressive, then you haven’t seen anything yet. The T-54 and T-55 were first designed and produced after World War II had ended, in 1945. They became the main tanks for the whole of the Soviet Union, and for good reason. During the late 20th and early 21st century, these tanks were the most widely used by Russia and several other countries. It is thought that up to 100,000 have been produced since they were invented.
Although they have since been replaced by more modern tanks, it’s thought that over 50 countries still use a version of the T-54 or T-55.
From the world’s most produced tank, to the most produced supersonic aircraft. The Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG-21) was designed by Artem Mikoyan at the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau. This jet fighter aircraft was introduced in 1959 and is still in active service for many countries around the world.
The Soviet Air Force used this plane as their primary supersonic jet fighter, as do the Indian Air Force and Libyan Air Force. Along with breaking records for being the most produced supersonic aircraft, it also holds the title as the most produced combat aircraft since the Korean War.
5. Komar Class Missile Boat
Technically not one specific weapon, the Komar is a class of missile boats that were designed and built by Russia during the 1950s and 60s. The real name for this class was the Project 183R, however they were nicknamed Mosquito (Komar) in Russian.
So, why does this weapon make it so high up on our list? Well, in 1967 it became the first ship to sink another using missiles specifically designed to send boats to the bottom of the ocean. Armed with 533mm torpedo tubes, the Russians made history with this well-designed and powerful boat. Unfortunately for them, the Komar Class boats never really took off. Only sinking two other boats since their 1967 first.
Those who play a lot of computer games may recognize something like the RPG-7. This shoulder-launched weapon is an anti-tank missile and rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Basically, it is badass.
Although you may think that this weapon was called RPG because of the rocket-propelled grenade aspect of it, this is actually a backronym. Which means the words came after the letters.
It was designed in 1961 and then produced by the Bazalt and Degtyarev plant for the Russian federation. The RPG-7 in a newer form is still being used by Russia and many other countries today. Although the upgraded version is now called the RPG-7V2.
7. Tsar Bomba
This list wouldn’t be complete with one of the deadliest weapons of all time. The Tsar Bomba is simply a nice nickname for the AN602 hydrogen bomb. Also known as the most powerful nuclear weapon to have ever been detonated.
Designed by several Russians in the nuclear race, only one of these bombs was ever created. Well, that’s what the Russians want you to think.
It was detonated in a test back on October 30th 1961. The explosion it caused is still the largest ever artificial explosion in history. You can still see the bomb casing at the Russian Atomic Weapon Museum, if you fancy seeing a bit of incredible weaponry history.
8. Tsar Cannon
Before the days of modern warfare and nuclear weaponry, the Russians were still one step ahead of the game. The Tsar Cannon was a huge piece of equipment that was first commissioned in 1586. It weighs nearly 40 metric tons and is 17.5 foot long.
Plenty of additions were made to the cannon which now stands as the Moscow Kremlin, including 2 ton cannonballs. Copies were also made to put in prominent places around Russia. Just another weapon to show off the sheer size and dominance of this huge country.
9. Ballistic Missile Submarine
When you think about submarines you tend to think of the Russians first. After all, they were always the first when it came to the latest and greatest. The ballistic missile submarine is a fine example of how good the Russians are at underwater combat.
Used as a nuclear deterrent, these subs were vital to the Cold War efforts of the Soviet Union. They are able to fire missiles that travel thousands of km through water. They’re also very difficult to detect by radars on other submarines and boats.
The R-11 Zemlya is one of the most well-known Russian ballistic missile for submarines, created by Victor Makeev.
10. Polikarpov Po-2
What is thought to be the most produced biplane in the world. Although the Po-2 wasn’t technically a weapon in itself, it was an extremely important aircraft for the Russians during World War II. It was also vital for psychological warfare, training, and useful for ground attacks that were cheap.
Its first flight was back in 1927 and more than 40,000 have been built since then. The Po-2 came 3 years before the Russians created their Airborne Troops; the biggest Paratrooping force in the world. And the first! Technically, yet another weapon to add to their ever-growing list.
We’ve covered a lot of weapons which were used in the past, let’s look at the weapons of the future. The Armata Universal Combat Platform is a tank that Russia is working on as we speak. Currently it is only a prototype of a next-gen heavy military vehicle, which is set to be used by the Russian Armed Forces. Production has already started of this weapon and it’s thought that they will make up a strong basis of the Russian army from here on out. Only 20 have been built so far, which might have something to do with them costing a whopping 400 million rubles each.
12. PAK FA
Yet another next generation military vehicle that is set to change the world as we know it. The PAK FA had its first flight back in 2010. However, the Russians wanted to refine it before they would put it into full time production. It is thought that these aircrafts will go into full production in December 2016.
The prototype is called the T-50, although it will most likely have a name change before taking to the skies as part of the Russian Air Force. It will be the first plane in the Russian service to make use of stealth technology.
13. SSBN Borei
As we said, the Russians are pretty good when it comes to their submarines and the SSBN Borei is no different. Only three have been built for the Russian Navy to play around with so far, but they are already 10 more on order. This is thought to be replacing many of the submarines that the Russians already use, as their main ballistic missile sub. There were a few teething problems when this submarine was first tested, but now it packs a serious punch and the missiles can shoot thousands of km through the water. It’s also supposed to be more stealthy than some of the other subs (like the Typhoons) used today.