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A warhead is an explosive device used in military conflicts, used to destroy enemy vehicles or buildings.

Typically, a warhead is delivered by a missile, rocket, or torpedo. It consists of the explosive material, and a detonator.

The types of warhead are:

  • Explosive - An explosive charge is used to disintegrate the target, and damage surrounding areas with a shockwave.

  • Chemical - A toxic chemical, such as nerve gas is dispersed, which is designed to injure or kill human beings.

  • Biological - An infectious agent, such as Anthrax is dispersed, which is designed to sicken and kill humans.

The types of explosive are:

  • Chemical - Chemicals such as gunpowder store significant energy within their molecular bonds. This energy can be released quickly by a trigger, such as an electric spark. Thermobaric weapons are something of a special case.

Often, a biological or chemical warhead will use an explosive charge for rapid dispersal.

The types of detonators are:

  • Contact - When the warhead makes physical contact with the target, the explosive is detonated.

  • Proximity - Using radio waves, sound waves, a magnetic sensor, or Radar, the warhead is detonated when the target is within a specified distance.

See also: guidance system[?].

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