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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

Updated: March 2018

See Table 1: U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces Under New START (as of September 1, 2017)

    On April 8, 2010, Russia and the United States signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). The treaty requires the sides to limit the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to no more than 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. For a factsheet on Russian nuclear forces, click here.

    Both the United States and Russia met these limits by the February 2018 deadline, and the limits will hold until February 2021. The United States declared that it had met its New START limits on Feb. 5 and it released its latest aggregate numbers of strategic offensive arms on Feb. 22. It has not yet released information on its updated force structure on New START, although the Department of Defense released a factsheet in 2014 on how it intended to alter the U.S. nuclear force structure under New START, which is described below.

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

    •  Under the treaty, the United States retains up to 400 deployed Minuteman III ICBMs, all with a single warhead, and an additional 54 non-deployed silo launchers of ICBMs that remain in a warm, operational status.

    •  Some bombers were converted to conventional-only missions (not accountable under New START), and approximately 60 deployed nuclear-capable bombers have been 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 retains all 14 of its strategic nuclear submarines (SSBNs), although it reduced the number of SLBM launch tubes per SSBN from 24 to 20, for a total of 280 tubes across the entire fleet. Between two and four submarines are in dry dock at any given time, for a total of about 200-240 missiles currently deployed. 

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

    The strategic forces that remain under the treaty are currently being upgraded or replaced. Over the 30 years, the administration plans to invest an estimated 1.2 trillion dollars to modernize the nuclear weapons complex and nuclear delivery systems. For more on U.S. nuclear modernization, see U.S. Nuclear Modernization Programs.

    Under New START, both sides release aggregate data on their stockpiles every six months. The table below reflects the most recent detailed data released as of September 1, 2017. The United States affirmed on Feb. 5 that it met New START limits and released updated information on Feb. 22 about its deployed strategic delivery systems, deployed warheads and deployed and non-deployed launchers but it has not yet released updated detailed information about its delivery systems included in the chart below.

     

    Table 1: Deployed U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces Under New START (Updated: Sept. 1, 2017)

    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.

     20172018
     

    Delivery Vehicles

    Est. Warheads

    Delivery Vehicles

    Est. Warheads

    ICBMs

    Minuteman III

    399 
    (as of Sept. 1, 2017)

    N/A

    400

    400

    SLBMs

    Trident II D5

    212
    (as of Sept. 1, 2017)

    N/A

    240

    1,090

    Strategic Bombers

    B-52H

    38
    (as of Sept. 1, 2017)

    49

    41

    60

    B-2A

    11
    (as of Sept. 1, 2017)

    19

    Total Deployed

    660
    (as of Sept. 1, 2017)

    1,393
    (as of Sept. 1, 2017)

    700

    1,550

     

    -Updated by Marissa Papatola

    Posted: March 8, 2018