US nuclear forces, 2013

By Hans M. Kristensen, Robert S. Norris | March 1, 2013

Nuclear Notebook: How many nuclear weapons does the United States have?

The US Defense Department maintains a stockpile of an estimated 4,650 nuclear warheads for delivery by more than 800 ballistic missiles and aircraft. Compared with last year, that is a reduction of approximately 260 warheads due to the retirement of W80-0 warheads for the Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile, and a reduction of roughly 560 warheads compared with September 2009, when the United States announced that the Defense Department’s stockpile contained 5,113 warheads.

The current stockpile includes an estimated 2,150 operational warheads, of which approximately1,650 strategic warheads are deployed on ballistic missiles (1,150 on sea-launched ballistic missiles [SLBMs] and 500 on intercontinental ballistic missiles [ICBMs]), roughly 300 strategic warheads are located at bomber bases in the United States, and nearly 200 nonstrategic warheads are deployed in Europe (see Table 1). The remaining 2,500 warheads are in storage as a so-called hedge against technical or geopolitical surprises…

To read this full article for free, visit our online archive here.

To download a PDF of this article, click this link.

To read an authoritative accounting of world nuclear arsenals, click here for all Nuclear Notebook columns.

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.

Together, we make the world safer.

The Bulletin elevates expert voices above the noise. But as an independent nonprofit organization, our operations depend on the support of readers like you. Help us continue to deliver quality journalism that holds leaders accountable. Your support of our work at any level is important. In return, we promise our coverage will be understandable, influential, vigilant, solution-oriented, and fair-minded. Together we can make a difference.

Get alerts about this thread
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments