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Understanding the 2013 Arms Control Compliance Report

Understanding the 2013 Arms Control Compliance Report

The 2013 Arms Control Compliance Report [1] issued by the U.S. State Department on July 12 showed little change in the assessments of U.S.-Russian arms control treaty compliance provided by last year's report.

October 02, 2014

Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces Under New START

Press Contact:  Tom Z. Collina, Research Director, 202-463-8270 x104

Research Assistance by Daria Medvedeva

April 2013

On April 8, 2010, Russia and the United States signed the New START Treaty. The treaty requires the sides to limit the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 and fielded delivery platforms to 700. The treaty also permits the United States and Russia to conduct 18 annual on-site inspections of facilities operated by the other country. Biannual data exchanges indicate the current state of their strategic forces.

As of April 2013, the data exchange showed that Russia has 492 deployed delivery systems and 1,480 deployed strategic nuclear warheads.[1] Experts estimate that Russia will continue to reduce its forces to approximately 400 delivery systems and 1,100 warheads by 2020, well below New START limits.[2] Russia is in the process of retiring many of its older strategic systems.[3]

For a factsheet on U.S. nuclear forces, click here.

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)

As of March 2012, the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces were estimated to have 332 operational missile systems that can carry 1,092 warheads. These include 55 R-36M2 (SS-18) missiles, 35 UR-100NUTTH (SS-19) missiles, 150 road-mobile Topol (SS-25) systems, 56 silo-based and 18 road-mobile Topol-M (SS-27) systems, and 18 RS-24 missiles.[4]

Missile system

Number of systems

Warheads Total warheads


R-36M2 (SS-18)




Dombarovsky, Uzhur

UR-100NUTTH (SS-19)




Kozelsk, Tatishchevo

Topol (SS-25)




Yoshkar-Ola, Nizhniy Tagil, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Barnaul, Vypolzovo

Topol-M silo (SS-27)





Topol-M mobile (SS-27)





RS-24 mobile








All tables are from

Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) and Submarines

The Russian strategic fleet includes 11 operational strategic missile submarines. Bases of the Northern Fleet host six 667BDRM (Delta IV) submarines; three operational submarines can carry 48 R-29RM (SS-N-23) launchers. The remaining Pacific Fleet base hosts three 667BDR (Delta III) submarines, which carry 48 R-29R (SS-N-18) missiles. Since the missiles have reached end of their service lives, Project 941 submarines have been withdrawn from service. The only exception is the lead ship of the class, TK-208 Dmitry Donskoy, which has been refitted for tests of a new missile system, R-30 Bulava. The first two Project 955 submarines - Yuri Dolgorukiy and Aleksandr Nevskiy - are expected to enter service in 2012.

As of March 2012, the Navy included 11 strategic submarines of three different types. The operational submarines carried 96 sea-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with 336 nuclear warheads. [5] Typhoon class submarines still remain in service in Russia's Northern Fleet but are going to be cut up and turned into scrap metal by 2014.

Strategic submarines

Number of submarines

Number of SLBMs and their type


Total warheads

Project  667BDR (Delta III)


48 R-29R (SS-N-18)



Project  667BDRM (Delta IV)


96 R-29RM (SS-N-23)



Project 941 (Typhoon)





Project 955


16 R-30 Bulava







[a] Three submarines are undergoing overhaul.
[b] One submarine of the Project 941 type has been refitted as a test bed for the Bulava missile system. It is not counted in the total number of operational submarines.

The RIA News reported, in June 2012, that the Bulava sea-based ballistic missile had entered service. The Bulava (SS-NX-30) SLBM, developed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, carries up to 10 MIRV warheads and has a range of over 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). The three-stage ballistic missile is designed for deployment on Borey-class nuclear submarines.[6]

In August 2012, Russian officials announced two Borey class strategic nuclear-powered submarines, the Yuri Dolgoruky and the Alexander Nevsky, would enter service with the Russian Navy, one with the North Fleet and the other with the Pacific Fleet. The Borey class submarines are expected to constitute the core of the Russian strategic submarine fleet, replacing the aging Project 941 (NATO Typhoon class) and Project 667 (Delta-3 and Delta-4) boats. Russia is planning to build eight Borey and Borey-A class subs by 2020. All the Borey class strategic submarines will carry up to 16 Bulava ballistic missiles, each with multiple warheads.[7] On July 30, 2012 the Sevmash shipbuilding plant formally inaugurated construction of the first submarine of the Project 955A class, Prince Vladimir.[8]

Strategic bombers

Russian strategic aviation consists of 66 bombers that carry an estimated 200 long-range cruise missiles and bombs, including 11 Tu-160 (Blackjack) and 55 Tu-95MS (Bear H). The bombers can carry various modifications of the Kh-55 (AS-15) cruise missile and gravity bombs. As of March 2012, the 37th Air Army was estimated to include 66 operational strategic bombers.[9]


Number of bombers

Number of cruise missiles and their type

Total cruise missiles

Tu-95MS (Bear H)


Up to 16 Kh-55 (AS-15A)


Tu-160 (Blackjack)


12 Kh-55SM (AS-15B)






1. “New START Treaty Aggregate Numbers of Strategic Offensive Arms”, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of State, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, Washington, D.C.,  April 3, 2013,

2. Options for Implementing Additional Force Reductions, Draft Aug. 14, 2012, International Security Advisory Board, U.S. Department of State.

3. Woolf Amy F. “The New START Treaty: Central Limits and Key Provisions”, Congressional Research Service, February 14, 2012 p.21

4. Podvig, Pavel, “Strategic Rocket Forces”, Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces, April 12, 2012

5. Podvig, Pavel, “Strategic fleet”, Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces, May 12, 2012

6. “Bulava 'De Facto' Enters Service”, RIA Novosti, June 25, 2012

7. “Borey Class Subs to be Deployed in Russian North, Pacific Fleets”, RIA Novosti, August 31, 2012

8. Podvig, Pavel, “Construction of first Project 955A submarine formally inaugurated”, Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces, July 30, 2012

9. Podvig, Pavel, “Strategic aviation”, Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces, April 13, 2012





Op-Ed: Opponents of Nuclear Cuts Misread Trends

Op-Ed: Opponents of Nuclear Cuts Misread Trends

The press recently reported that the Pentagon is preparing options for President Barack Obama as part of the Nuclear Posture Review implementation study. The mere notion of restructuring U.S. nuclear forces unleashed panicked reactions from Capitol Hill’s most ardent nuclear weapons enthusiasts.

October 02, 2014

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