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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

States With Weapons of Mass Destruction

At the beginning of 2002 North Korea was believed to have one or two nuclear weapons, and a variety of potential delivery systems, including perhaps 100 Nodong-1 medium range missiles capable of reaching Japan. By the end of 2003 North Korea probably had seven or eight nuclear wepons.

Under the START-1 agreement, all nuclear warheads of the former Soviet Union were withdrawn to Russia. The SS-19 and SS-24 ICBMs and BLACKJACK and BEAR H Heavy Bombers to be eliminated remain in Ukraine. The SS-18 ICBMs and BEAR H Heavy Bombers in Kazakhstan were returned to Russia, as were SS-25 mobile ICBMs in Belarus.

A total of as many as 55,000 nuclear weapons were produced in the Soviet Union and later Russia during the period from 1949 to 1993. The total stockpile reached a peak of about 45,000 weapons in 1986. By May 1993 the Russian stockpile had diminished to about 32,000 weapons, a reduction of about 2,000 weapons per year. As of January 1997 the stockpile of Russian strategic and tactical nuclear warheads was estimated by the US government at 25,000 warheads, reflecting a reduction rate of about 1,000 weapons each year since a major elimination program began in 1992. This gradual reduction took place as a result of tactical nuclear warhead reduction initiatives and bilateral agreements involving strategic warheads. If carried out, the Russian tactical warhead reduction initiatives announced in 1991 could result in the elimination of a total of about 15,000 tactical weapons.

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has reduced its nuclear weapons inventory by approximately sixty percent. NNSA is currently disassembling two types of warheads, and is committed to the safe disassembly of any warheads retired, as a result of the ongoing national security strategy review or future decisions. Disassembly of the W79 Artillery-Fired Atomic Projectile was completed in FY 2003, and disassembly of the W56 Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile warhead will be complete in FY 2005. In November 2001, President Bush announced that the United States would reduce the number of operationally deployed nuclear warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200.

Traditionally this type of data display would largely recapitulate American and Russian forces accountable under the then-prevailing strategic arms control agreement. This method was never entirely satisfactory, given the inevitable discrepancies between arms control counting rules and actual force deployments, but in the past it provided a useful indicator of static force postures. In recent years, however, the discrepancies between START-accountable forces and the forces actually available to American and Russian commanders have become so profound as to render a rehearsal of the START-accountable numbers rather uninteresting.

Russian bomber and ICBM numbers are according to the 01 January 1999 START data exchange, which includes all START-accountable treaty-limited items, regardless of their present operational status. Actually available Russian forces are almost certainly rather smaller than displayed here, given low maintenance rates due to financial constraints. Under the START-1 counting rules, some non-deployed Russian forces remain treaty-accountable due to incomplete deactivation, including all the SS-N-8 missiles on Delta-I submarines, two of the remaining 13 Delta-IIIs [one of which has been stricken but not dismantled, the other of which is undergoing a protracted conversion to support special operations], as well as three of the six Typhoon class submarines. The figures for Russian SLBM/SSBN forces displayed here include only actual operational nuclear delivery systems, and ignore these artifacts of the START counting rules. Evidently only one Typhoon SSBN is currently in service, of the seven extant Delta-IVs one has remained in overhaul since 1993 and two others are reportedly unfit for service.

01 Jan 2004Combat

The May 1997 Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), prescribed a total fleet of 187 bombers (95 B-1, 21 B-2, and 71 B-52). Since that studies, the Air Force decided to retire 33 B-1s and 17 B-52Hs, reducing the current fleet of 208 bombers (93 B-1s, 21 B-2s, 94 B-52Hs) to 157. Of these bombers, only 96 will be combat coded, with the rest used for backup and other purposes. The B-52H and B-2 still retain a conventional and a nuclear mission, while the B-1 is roled for the conventional mission only.

The most interesting US bomber numbers are for Primary Aircraft Inventory [PAI], which excludes backup and attrition reserve aircraft as well as aircraft in depot maintenance and units no longer on alert but not completely dismantled according to START dismantlement rules. Total Active Inventory (TAI) are all aircraft assigned to operating forces for mission, training, test, or maintenance, including primary, backup, and attrition aircraft. Primary Aircraft Inventory (PAI) are those aircraft assigned to meet Primary Aircraft Authorization (PAA).

Total inventory counts, as well as START-accountable numbers, will be higher than the PAI figures. American B-1B bombers remain START-accountable, even though they are currently restricted to non-nuclear conventional missions. The figures for US bomber forces displayed here include only actual operational nuclear delivery systems, and ignore these artifacts of the START counting rules.

Combat Coded Forces
B-52H	22   12 x W61/W83      	264
     	22   20 x ALCM/ACM/bomb	440
B-2A	12   16 x B-61/83 bombs	192
TOTAL				896
Total Stockpile
B61-7/11				  525
B83 				  620
ALCM				  500 
ACM				  400
TOTAL				2,045

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