Russia has too many nuclear weapons?

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US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — In March, Sergei Shoigu said that the equipment of the troops with modern weapons and equipment was brought up to 68.2%. By the end of the year, it will reach the target of 70%.

The share of modern weapons in strategic nuclear forces by the end of the year will increase by 5% and reach the level of 87%. According to the US Department of Defense, at the beginning of 2020, Russia spent about $ 28 billion on the modernization of the nuclear forces of all three types of troops.

The huge nuclear arsenal of Russia

Russia has fully equipped nuclear forces in all three types of troops. According to statistics cited in the American journal Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, at the beginning of 2020, Russia had about 6,370 strategic and tactical nuclear warheads, with 1,570 strategic nuclear warheads in service (819 on ground-based ballistic missiles) based, 560 on ballistic missiles of submarines and 200 on cruise missiles launched from the air). Another 870 strategic and 1870 non-strategic nuclear warheads are in storage. In addition to the nuclear warheads held by the army, about 2060 decommissioned warheads are awaiting disposal, while maintaining their combat effectiveness.

For ground-based missiles, 11 missile divisions are equipped, equipped with R-36M, UR-100N, RT-2PM “Topol” and RT-2PM2 “Topol-M” intercontinental ballistic missiles. The first three were developed and adopted in Soviet times, and later withdrawn. Currently, the basis of ground-based missile forces is RT-2PM2 Topol-M. The main emphasis was placed on it during the modernization of Russian nuclear forces. RT-2PM2 has two modified models: Topol-M and RS-24 Yars. “Topol-M” is a missile with one warhead, and “Yars” can be equipped with several warheads, whose flight range reaches 11.5 thousand kilometers and a speed of 13 Machs, in addition, they are able to bypass American missile defense systems. In addition, Russia is developing a new Yars ballistic missile (SS-29 according to NATO classification). Reportedly

For submarine-based missiles, Russia has about 10 strategic nuclear submarines: six submarines of Project 667 BDRM Dolphin, one submarine of Project 667BDR Kalmar, and three nuclear submarines of Project 955 Borei. The first two types of submarines belong to the third generation. They began to be created in 1985, each submarine of this class is capable of carrying 16 nuclear warheads. It is expected that soon they will be replaced by submarines of project 955 Borei. The first submarine of the Borey project was launched in 2013; it became the most advanced strategic nuclear submarine in Russia. The submarine is capable of carrying 16 Bulava ballistic missiles, each of which can have up to six nuclear warheads. The maximum range of missiles exceeds 8 thousand kilometers, if launched from the Arctic Ocean,

Russia has approximately 60 strategic bombers to launch missiles in the air. For example, the Tu-160 can carry up to 40 tons of weapons, including 12 X-55SM cruise missiles. The country has already purchased 50 updated Tu-160M2 bombers. This model has stealth characteristics. Development work is underway in Russia to create next-generation strategic bombers, moreover, they are already close to completion, and the first flight of a new aircraft will take place in early 2021. However, according to an American expert, Russian aviation is hardly capable of simultaneously developing and producing two types of strategic bombers.

A huge nuclear arsenal is a big load

Russia and the United States possess the largest number of nuclear weapons in the world, but the combined power of these two states is different. In 2019, the United States spent 716 billion dollars on military needs, and Russia – 48 billion. Russian military spending is no more than 7% of US. Unlike conventional, nuclear weapons must be stored, maintained, and destroyed in accordance with strict rules and considerable expenditures are required. The US military budget for 2020 shows that the country plans to spend $ 32 billion on maintenance and other expenses related to nuclear weapons. Numerically, Russia’s nuclear arsenal is comparable to the US, one can imagine what a burden this is for the country.

Currently, Russia has more than six thousand nuclear warheads. One third of them are in stock, the second third is to be destroyed, and the remaining – in service in the army. Accelerating the modernization of nuclear weapons will simultaneously reduce the nuclear arsenal and increase its combat effectiveness.

The saved money can be invested in the development of new weapons. This is important for Russia, especially given the inadequate funding of the Armed Forces.

Modernization in Russia provoked by the seriousness of the situation

Despite the fact that in recent years Russia received Bulava ballistic missiles, Borei strategic missile submarines and upgraded strategic bombers, the country’s nuclear arsenal still consists mainly of Soviet weapons, many of which are outdated. Most of the strategic missile submarines carrying combat duty belong to the 667BDR Kalmar and 667 BDRM Dolphin projects. Six nuclear submarines of the third generation, put into service in the 80s of the twentieth century, have been in operation for more than 30 years and still carry strategic duty.

Meanwhile, NATO countries led by the United States pose an increasing threat to Russia. After the United States withdrew from the INF Treaty in 2018, START III, signed in 2010, was the last arms control treaty to prevent Russia and the United States from organizing an arms race. Under the terms, with the consent of the Russian and American sides, after the expiration of the START III treaty in February 2021, it will be extended for another five years. Russia made a formal proposal to extend the contract in November 2019.

The United States government pretended to be discussing the extension of the treaty, and at the same time began to actively build up the country’s nuclear forces. From the budget for fiscal year 2021, the US government plans to allocate $ 28.9 billion to upgrade existing nuclear weapons systems and 19, $ 8 billion to improve the stockpile of nuclear weapons.

According to the report of the Congressional Budget Service, by 2028 the country will spend $ 494 billion on the maintenance and modernization of strategic nuclear forces.

On February 4, 2020, the US Department of Defense confirmed that the Navy deployed the new W76-2 low-power nuclear warheads on Trident ballistic missiles on Tennessee-class submarines.

On February 22, the United States conducted a series of “small” exercises, during which the American side retaliated in the event of a simulated Russian nuclear strike against Europe.

US actions such as exiting the INF Treaty, reluctance to extend START III, renewing the nuclear arsenal and deploying ballistic missile defense systems near the borders of the Russian Federation increase pressure on Russia. Unable to equal the US in funding for the Armed Forces and non-nuclear weapons, Russia decided to develop nuclear weapons to protect national security.

Vladimir Putin said that in the Russian concept of using nuclear weapons there is no preemptive strike, Russia will use nuclear weapons only in case of an attack on its territory. Russian media also wrote that the modernization of nuclear weapons will not change the nuclear strategy.

Nuclear weapons will be used only as a last resort to protect the state, however, the ongoing actions recently taken by the United States and Russia with nuclear forces indicate that the nuclear arms race between the two countries did not end with the end of the Cold War. Perhaps people were worried not in vain: the world has never been so close to a nuclear crisis.


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