What are heavy weapons systems?

Examples of heavy weapons systems are tanks, helicopters, fighter planes, submarines and war ships. They are defined as larger machines that are used in immediate combat and that integrate different military requirements (movement, fire power, etc.) into one system.

Heavy weapons systems generally differ from small arms and light weapons (SALW), which can be carried by one or two persons (pistols, hand grenades, machine guns, anti-tank guided weapons systems, etc.). While non-conventional weapons systems, such as nuclear bombs or poisonous gas, do not belong to the category of SALW, their carrier systems, such as rockets, do.

The type of weapons systems used by armed forces generally depends on the territorial or geographical character of the respective country. A state without a connection to the sea will not need large war ships. Similarly, heavy land vehicles, such as battle tanks, are not of much use in a mountainous area.

Not all heavy weapons systems used by armies around the world necessarily correspond to the latest state of the art. In poorer countries in particular, many weapons still originate from the times of World War II or are even older.

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