Ordnance Netbook - Thermonuclear Weapons

Smart Missiles

All thermonuclear missiles are smart missiles. These smart missiles have advanced tracking and avoidance systems that give them a +5 to strike, +4 to dodge, and 2 attacks per melee until they strike their target or run out of fuel. Missiles will run out of fuel after 1 minute of engaging the target. In other words, the missile has 4 melees, or 8 attacks to strike the target. It should also be noted that nuclear weapons are used almost exclusively against fixed targets, if ever used at all. Remember that missiles do NOT benefit from the strike bonuses of the pilot. See the Weapon Guidance article for more information.

Smart Bombs

Almost all of the bombs are considered to be smart bombs. These smart bombs have steering fins and a small rocket motor in addition to advanced targeting systems. With the rocket motor, they are even able to pursue a moving target. However, they are limited to a range of an extra half a mile (0.8km) in addition to the normal drop altitude range. These bombs will automatically hit a large stationary target like a building, or bridge or blanket a specific area. They have a +6 to strike a moving target. Volleys can all strike the same target, or they can each veer away to hit a different target. Remember that bombs do NOT benefit from the strike bonuses of the pilot. See the Weapon Guidance article for more information.


Since thermonuclear weapons are so rare and restricted, prices are not listed. In most cases, no one outside of a legitimate government or organization will have any kind of possible access to one of these. If a thermonuclear weapon were to find its way to the black market, however, the asking price would at the minimum be in the millions, quite possibly much more.

Free-Fall Bomb Ranges

The horizontal range of a free-fall bomb depends upon the altitude from which it was dropped. The higher the altitude, the longer the possible horizontal travel of the bomb.

Drop Altitude Maximum Horizontal Range
0-1,000ft (0-305m) 100ft (30.3m)
1001-4,000ft (306-1,219m) 2,500ft (762m)
4,001-10,000ft (1,220-3,048m) 5,500ft (1,676m)
10,001-20,000ft (3,049-6,096m) 10,500ft (1.99 miles/3.2km)
20,001-30,000ft (6,097-9,144m) 16,500ft (3.13 miles/5.03km)
30,001-40,000ft (9,145-12,192m) 22,000ft (4.16 miles/6.7km)
40,001-50,000ft (12,193-15,240m) 28,000ft (5.3 miles/8.5km)
50,000+ft (15,241+m) 33,500ft (6.3 miles/10.2km)

Thermonuclear Weapons

These are true thermonuclear weapons, among the most destructive forces man has ever created. Thermonuclear weapons are the most powerful weapons present on Rifts® Earth. Nuclear weapons are extremely rare; only the most advanced nations and city-states will possess these. Thermonuclear weapons are illegal in all Palladium® settings, from the 20th century games to Robotech® to Rifts®. Punishment for unauthorized possession is in the least hard jail time, possibly execution. Actual use of thermonuclear weapons is a capital offense even in areas that oppose the death penalty!

Special Rules

Thermonuclear weapons use several special rules:

Warhead Damage Speed Max Range Total Destruction
Blast Radius M.D.C.
Nuclear Missile (light) * 1D6x1000 2500mph (4023kmph) 1400 miles (2249km) 1.4 miles (2.2 km) 2.1 miles (3.4 km) 25
Nuclear Missile (Medium) * 2D4x1000 2500mph (4023kmph) 1400 miles (2249km) 2.9 miles (4.7 km) 4.6 miles (7.3 km) 25
Nuclear Missile (heavy) * 2D6x1000 2500mph (4023kmph) 1000 miles (1608km) 4.7 miles (7.5 km) 7.3 miles (11.6 km) 25
Nuclear Missile (x-heavy) * 4D4x1000 2010mph (3228kmph) 1000 miles (1608km) 6.3 miles (10.1 km) 9.8 miles (15.7 km) 25
Nuclear Bomb (x-light) * 1D6x1000 1/2 mile (0.8km) * 1.4 miles (2.2 km) 2.1 miles (3.4 km) 25
Nuclear Bomb (light) * 2D4x1000 1/2 mile (0.8km) * 2.9 miles (4.7 km) 4.6 miles (7.3 km) 35
Nuclear Bomb (medium) * 2D6x1000 1/2 mile (0.8km) * 4.7 miles (7.5 km) 7.3 miles (11.6 km) 55
Nuclear Bomb (heavy) * 4D4x1000 1/2 mile (0.8km) * 6.3 miles (10.1 km) 9.8 miles (15.7 km) 65
Nuclear Bomb (x-heavy) * 3D6x1000 1/2 mile (0.8km) * 8 miles (12.7 km) 12.5 miles (19.9 km) 80
* Missiles and Bombs are all considered to be Smart Missiles and Smart Bombs (see above).

Note: When a description says it can carry X number of bombs, it can carry that many heavy bombs. Other bomb sizes can be carried in varying amounts:

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By Chris Curtis (curtis@thepentagon.com).
With help from Mad Dog
and Kitsune (Kitsune@vabch.com).
Copyright © 1997, 1998, 2002 Chris Curtis. All rights reserved.

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ThermonuclearWeapons.php -- Revised: January 27, 2021.