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U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces Under New START
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Contact:  Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, (202) 463-8270 x104

October 2016

See Table 1: U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces Under New START (as of September 1, 2016)

    The 2010 New START treaty limits both the United States and Russia to 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 700 long-range delivery systems--intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and bombers. These treaty limits do not have to be met until 2018.

    Under New START, the United States will retain a deployed strategic force of 400 ICBMs, 60 nuclear-capable bombers, and 240 SLBMs.

    •  Under the treaty, the country will retain 400 deployed Minuteman III ICBMs, all with a single warhead, and an additional 54 non-deployed silo launchers of ICBMs that will remain in a warm, operational status.

    •  Some bombers will be converted to conventional-only missions (not accountable under New START), and 60 deployed nuclear-capable bombers will be retained. Bombers are not on alert or loaded with weapons in peacetime, and New START counting rules allow each bomber to be counted as “one” deployed warhead, even though bombers can carry up to 16-20 nuclear weapons.

    •  The United States currently has 14 strategic nuclear submarines (SSBNs), all of which will be retained. These 14 Trident submarines contain 24 missile launch tubes each, or 336 tubes total. Between two and four submarines are in dry dock at any given time, for a total of about 240-288 missiles currently deployed. The United States plans to reduce the number of SLBM launch tubes from 24 to 20 per SSBN and deploy no more than 240 SLBMs at any time.

    In addition to the treaty limit of 700 deployed systems, the treaty allows for 800 deployed and nondeployed missile launchers, and bombers. The United States plans to retain 454 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, 280 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, and 66 deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers.

    As strategic forces are reduced under the treaty, those that remain would be upgraded. Over the next decade, the administration plans to invest hundereds of billions of dollars to modernize the nuclear weapons complex and nuclear delivery systems.

    Under New START, both sides release aggragate data on their stockpiles every six months. The table below reflects the most recent data released September 1, 2016.


    Table 1: Deployed U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces Under New START

    This table shows how the deployed U.S. strategic nuclear stockpile will decline by 2018, when reductions under New START would be completed.

    All figures are from official sources except for shaded warhead numbers, which are best estimates. New START counts each bomber as one warhead, even though bombers can carry many more.

    2016 2018

    Delivery Vehicles

    Est. Warheads

    Delivery Vehicles

    Est. Warheads


    Minuteman III






    Trident II D5





    Strategic Bombers









    Total Deployed





    -Updated by Marissa Papatola

    Posted: April 4, 2013