Russia has tested the world’s most powerful vacuum bomb, an explosive device unleashing a destructive shock wave with the power of a nuclear weapon, the military said on Tuesday.br /The bomb is the latest in a series of new Russian weapons and policy moves unveiled as President Vladimir Putin tries to reassert Moscow’s role on the international stage.br /“Test results of the new airborne weapon have shown that its efficiency and power is commensurate with a nuclear weapon,” Alexander Rukshin, Russian deputy armed forces chief of staff, told Russia’s ORT First Channel television.br /“You will now see it in action, the bomb which has no match in the world is being tested at a military site,” the state-controlled channel said. It showed a Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber dropping the bomb over a testing ground. A large explosion followed.br /Pictures followed of what looked like a flattened multi-storied block of flats, surrounded by scorched soil and boulders.br /“The defense ministry stresses this military invention does not contradict a single international treaty. Russia is not unleashing a new arms race,” the channel said.br /Such devices generally detonate in two stages. First, a small blast disperses a main load of explosive material into a cloud, which then either spontaneously ignites in air or is set off by a second charge.br /This explosion generates a pressure wave that reaches much farther than that from a conventional explosive. The consumption of gases in the blast also generates a partial vacuum that can compound damage and injuries caused by the explosion itself.br /“The main destruction is inflicted by an ultrasonic shock wave and an incredibly high temperature,” the report said. “All that is alive merely evaporates.”br /“At the same time, I want to stress that the action of this weapon does not contaminate the environment, in contrast to a nuclear one,” Rukshin said.

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