In general terms, a strategic weapon is one designed for mass destruction like a nuclear missile. A tactical weapon, on the other hand, typically carries a conventional high explosive warhead.
These definitions are not always clear-cut, however, for there can be considerable overlap between how the terms strategic and tactical are applied depending on the context. For example, nuclear weapons are often classified as both strategic and tactical. A strategic nuclear weapon is usually considered to be a large vehicle like an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can travel over very long ranges and carries a very large and powerful high-yield warhead. A tactical nuclear weapon is generally much smaller like a cruise missile or a bomb that travels over short ranges carrying a low-yield warhead. A strategic weapon would typically be targeted at a military base or city according to a premeditated war plan. A tactical weapon, however, would usually be used against battlefield targets that may change rapidly as battle conditions change.
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