Nuclear Notebook: How many nuclear bombs does the US 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. The stockpile did not decline significantly over the last year, but has shrunk by roughly 460 warheads compared with May 2010, when the United States announced that the Defense Department’s stockpile contained 5,113 warheads.
The current stockpile includes an estimated 2,130 operational warheads, of which approximately 1,620 strategic warheads are deployed on ballistic missiles—1,150 on submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and 470 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 2,530 warheads are in storage as a so-called hedge against technical or geopolitical surprises…
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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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