A warhead (military warhead ) is that part of an explosive weapon , the target in the actual effect by explosion achieved. Conventional warheads generally consist of an explosive charge and a detonator . The structure of the warheads differs greatly depending on the application. Warheads can also carry weapons of mass destruction, i.e. chemical , biological or nuclear weapons .
While individual warheads often remain on their carrier system until they hit the target, multiple warheads are ejected or dropped beforehand, with the individual warheads sometimes having their own guidance system. This is intended to achieve a larger area effect, for example with the Annular Blast , or several point targets are to be fought at once. A typical example of this are multiple nuclear warheads (MIRV) from ICBMs . A further development of MIRV are MARV , maneuverable re-entry bodies.
Known types of detonators are the impact detonator , the distance detonator (proximity detonator), which measures the approach to a target, time detonator or combinations of these such as the detachment detonator detonator or the detonator detonator with delay.
In the case of carrier systems, the warhead is also referred to as the payload . Typical warhead carriers are, for example, rockets , cruise missiles or torpedoes . These can each have one or more warheads.