1 May 2015

Russian nuclear forces, 2015

Hans M. Kristensen

Kristensen is the director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in Washington, DC. His work focuses on researching and writing about the status of...

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Robert S. Norris

Norris is a senior fellow with the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, DC. A former senior research...

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Russia is modernizing its strategic and nonstrategic nuclear warheads. It currently has 4,500 nuclear warheads, of which roughly 1,780 strategic warheads are deployed on missiles and at bomber bases. Another 700 strategic warheads are in storage along with roughly 2,000 nonstrategic warheads. Russia deploys an estimated 311 ICBMs that can carry approximately 1,050 warheads. It is in the process of retiring all Soviet-era ICBMs and replacing them with new systems, a project that according to Moscow is about halfway complete. The outgoing ICBMs will be replaced by the SS-27 Mod. 1 (Topol-M), the SS-27 Mod. 2, two follow-on versions of the SS-27 which are still in development, and a new liquid-fuel "heavy" ICBM. Following technical problems, the Russian Navy is also rolling out its new Borey-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. Russia’s upgrades to its nuclear arsenal help justify modernization programs in other nuclear weapon states, and raise questions about Russia's commitment to its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons.