U.S. Nuclear Warheads, 1945-2009

The B61 Nuclear Bomb, from the Pima Air and Space Museum. (Credit: "B61 Nuclear Bomb" by rocbolt is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)

Nuclear Notebook: How many nuclear weapons has the United States produced?

The United States has produced an estimated 66,500 nuclear bombs and warheads of 100 types and modifications for its operational stockpile since 1945. The accompanying table, “U.S. nuclear weapons designs, 1945-2009, ” lists all types of U.S. weapons produced, from Little Boy to the W88. The table includes some, but not all, canceled warhead programs.1 Some 5,200 warheads remain in the Defense Department stockpile, representing eight basic types of warheads and 15 modifications.2

All U.S. warheads were developed at one of two nuclear design laboratories, Los Alamos or Lawrence Livermore national laboratories. Los Alamos has been the predominant design laboratory with 77 types to its credit, while Lawrence Livermore has designed 23 types. Today, Los Alamos maintains 11 types of weapons and Livermore four. All four services have had nuclear weapons: The air force has adopted 52 types, the navy 35 types, the army 26, and the marines 15. Today, the air force has 11 types and the navy 4; the army and marines have none…

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The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists and Robert S. Norris, a senior fellow with the FAS. The Nuclear Notebook column has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook column has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987.


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