The ultimate quest has always been about the most lethal weapons in the United States military. The list of the five most lethal weapons in the U.S. military arsenal is hard to determine because they don’t have a lack of lethal weapons. While some of them are very expensive, others are very complex. We tried to create this list solely on the experience of deployed troops.
1. Boeing AH-64 Apache
Probably, the best weapon in the United States military inventory is the AH-64 Apache helicopter. It also might sound ironic that a helicopter is the best weapon of the land forces. However, airpower is the most decisive factor in the conflicts where the United States military has recently been involved. Most likely that the AH-64 Apache and its variants will remain the most decisive factor on the battlefield for many years to come.
This deadly helicopter is heavily armed with a set of deadly weapons including 30-mm cannon, Hellfire missiles, and state-of-the-art sensors. It has the firepower, speed, and range to hit the enemies long before they engage the U.S. ground troops. It proved itself well during Operation Desert Storm and recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Apache helicopter can easily destroy tanks and armored vehicles or hunt down insurgents.
It’s often used as the ground troops own air support, and they like it because they do not have to rely on the U.S. Air Force or the U.S. Navy aircraft. And the ground troops appreciate the hell it can create.
2. M1A2 SEP tank
The M1A2 SEP is a successor to the legendary U.S. main battle tank – M1A2 Abrams. It is designated as one of the best main battle tanks in the world and it is literally a backbone of the United States armored forces. The basic version of M1 Abrams has been around since the 1980s. His showcase was in Operation Desert Storm during the First Gulf War when it decimated Iraq’s Soviet-made armor. During the years, the M1 Abrams was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq where he was engaged in combat. So far, very few Abrams tanks have been destroyed.
The M1A2 SEP is the latest upgraded version of the tank with improved armor and a number of other improvements to keep this tank among the best ones. It has incredible technology and depleted-uranium armor and with weights, over 60 t it is incredibly fast and has a top speed of nearly 70 km/h due to its complex gas turbine engine. Its main weapon is a powerful 120-mm gun which is able to penetrate the armor of the Russian T-90 or China’s Type 99 tanks.
3. M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer
The M109A6 Paladin is the current version of the old M109 self-propelled howitzer which was introduced by the U.S. Army in the early 1960s. M109 saw its combat debut during the war in Vietnam and was also used during the Gulf War and during recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
This artillery system is featured with 155 mm gun able to reach targets at a range of 30 km (with rocket assisted projectile). The M109A6 Paladin can also fire GPS- or laser-guided Excalibur rounds. On the battlefield, this artillery system takes a back seat. However, it is one of the most devastating weapons of war.
The basic M109 self-propelled howitzer has been upgraded a number of times. The U.S. Army have already ordered the latest version of the Paladin designated as M109A7. First deliveries are planned to begin in 2015 and full-rate production should commence in 2017.
4. TOW anti-tank guided missile
The Russians probably have the best anti-tank missiles but the United States military is not a loser either. The TOW anti-tank guided missile is still deadly after nearly 45 years of service where it proved itself as a very effective weapon. The TOW anti-tank missiles were responsible for many destroyed tanks, mostly Russian-made. It was introduced during the war in Vietnam.
The TOW missiles are typically used by various companies for heavy anti-armor work but still the TOW is able to knock-out even the most protected tanks. The TOW missiles are mounted on various U.S. Army vehicles, such as the HMMWV, M2, and M3 Bradleys APCs. Also, the U.S. army has an M1134, a dedicated anti-tank missile carrier, based on the Stryker.
Despite it was introduced to service before 45 years, TOW development continues to this day and new versions appear. There are TOW’s as top-attack missiles, that explode above the thin top armor of the tank. Also, there is a bunker-busting version of the TOW missile system, that is used against buildings and fortifications.
5. M2 heavy machine gun
The M2 heavy machine gun is probably one of the most known and the U.S. Army’s best weapons. Designed by the famous John Browning towards the end of World War I and entered service with the U.S. armed forces in 1933. The M2 heavy barrel machine gun has seen action during countless wars. Until recently, the standard infantry version, that was also used on armored vehicles, tanks and helicopters were the M2HB.
The M2 is remarkable weapon proved to be extremely successful during his service. It proved as highly effective against infantry, unarmored or lightly armored vehicles, boats, light fortifications and helicopters. Despite it is more than 80 years old, the M2 heavy machine gun is still in service.