A kinetic warhead is a missile or torpedo warhead designed to actually impact the target, and which relies on the impact momentum of its incredibly high velocity to do damage. Since any launching ship is certain to be moving at tens of thousands of kilometers per hour at a bare minimum (to be able to maneuver at all instead of just falling into local gravity fields), plus a warhead’s own onboard engines for more boost, plus often the closing velocity of an enemy ship trying to close the range with the launching vessel…kinetic warheads often impact at closing velocities of well over a hundred thousand miles per hour. When that kinetic energy is released by the impact, the result is often a bigger explosion than a nuclear warhead would produce.
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