Pursuing the most effective weapons has been a constant endeavor in the United States military. With a vast arsenal at its disposal, it is difficult to determine the top 5 deadliest weapons in the U.S. military. Both the cost and intricacy of these weapons vary greatly. This list is compiled based on the experiences of the troops deployed in the field, and it highlights some of the most potent weapons in the U.S. military arsenal.
1. Boeing AH-64 Apache
The AH-64 Apache helicopter is the premier weapon in the United States military’s inventory. It may seem ironic that a helicopter is the best weapon of the land forces, yet air power has proven to be a decisive factor in recent conflicts where the U.S. military has been involved. The AH-64 Apache and its variants are poised to remain the dominant force on the battlefield for years to come.
This formidable helicopter has various weapons, including a 30-mm cannon, Hellfire missiles, and advanced sensors. Its combination of firepower, speed, and range make it a formidable adversary, capable of striking enemy targets from a safe distance before ground troops are engaged. Its effectiveness has been demonstrated in Operation Desert Storm and more recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Apache helicopter can quickly neutralize tanks and armored vehicles and easily track down insurgents.
Designed for ground troops’ air support, the Apache is highly valued for its versatility and autonomy. Ground troops appreciate the level of protection and destructive capability it brings to the battlefield. With its formidable arsenal and reputation for effectiveness, the AH-64 Apache helicopter remains the best weapon in the United States military’s inventory.
2. M1A2 SEP tank
The M1A2 SEP is the successor to the legendary M1A2 Abrams, widely considered one of the world’s finest main battle tanks and a cornerstone of the United States’ armored forces. The M1 Abrams has been in service since the 1980s and was first showcased during Operation Desert Storm, where it decimated Iraq’s Soviet-made armor. Since then, the M1 Abrams has been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq and has proven its combat effectiveness through its durability and resilience.
The M1A2 SEP is the latest iteration of this iconic tank, boasting several upgrades and improvements to its armor and technology. Equipped with depleted-uranium armor and advanced systems, the M1A2 SEP is a formidable force on the battlefield. Weighing in at over 60 tons, the M1A2 SEP is fast and agile, with a top speed of nearly 70 km/h thanks to its complex gas turbine engine. The tank’s primary weapon, a powerful 120-mm gun, can penetrate the armor of the Russian T-90 or China’s Type 99 tanks, making the M1A2 SEP a formidable opponent in modern warfare.
3. M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer
The M109A6 Paladin is a formidable artillery system and the latest iteration of the M109 self-propelled howitzer that the U.S. Army first introduced in the early 1960s. This powerful weapon has seen action in numerous conflicts, including the war in Vietnam, the Gulf War, and the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Equipped with a 155mm gun, the M109A6 Paladin can reach targets up to 30 kilometers away with its rocket-assisted projectile. Additionally, the artillery system can fire GPS- or laser-guided Excalibur rounds for even greater precision. While it may not take center stage on the battlefield, the M109A6 Paladin is one of the most devastating weapons of war, capable of causing widespread destruction.
In response to its proven effectiveness, the U.S. Army has already ordered the latest Paladin version, M109A7. The first deliveries began in 2015, and full-rate production started in 2017, ensuring that this powerful artillery system will remain a mainstay in the U.S. military’s arsenal for years.
4. TOW anti-tank guided missile
The United States military is not far behind regarding anti-tank missiles. Despite being in service for nearly 45 years, the TOW Anti-tank Guided Missile remains a formidable weapon that has proved its effectiveness in combat. Throughout its history, TOW missiles have been responsible for destroying numerous tanks, many of which were Russian-made.
The TOW is a commonly utilized heavy anti-armor weapon system by various organizations, and it can penetrate even the most heavily-protected tanks. The TOW missiles are mounted on multiple U.S. Army vehicles, such as the HMMWV, M2, and M3 Bradleys APCs, and the M1134, a specialized anti-tank missile carrier based on the Stryker platform.
The TOW missile system continues to evolve, and new versions have been developed. Top-attack TOW missiles are designed to detonate above the thinner top armor of tanks and a bunker-busting variant that can be used against buildings and fortifications.
5. M2 heavy machine gun
The M2 Heavy Machine Gun, designed by renowned arms manufacturer John Browning and first introduced to the U.S. military in 1933, has established itself as a staple in the arsenal of the U.S. Army. With a long and storied history of deployment in countless wars, the M2 has proven itself a highly effective weapon in various scenarios. The standard infantry version, the M2HB, can be mounted on armored vehicles, tanks, and helicopters. Despite its age exceeding 80 years, the M2 Heavy Machine Gun remains in active service and continues to deliver unparalleled performance on the battlefield.