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News How many nukes in the US arsenal?

  1. May 25, 2003 #1
    anybody have a round number on this one? Also, I'd like to know how many of those are actually ready to fly (by bomber or ICBM, doesnt matter).
    Does anyone know what the most powerful weapon is in the US arsenal?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2003 #2
    Well, although the U.S. probably wouldn't flat out lie about this, I doubt anyone here would have a good estimate!!!

    My generalized guess is alot, meaning probably over 20 for sure, ready to fly. But it's a tough question, honestly maybe it's none, maybe it's 100. I would guess they're most likely all by bomber as ICBM is much more dangerous (I think).

    But what if, perhaps, some of them are kept at sea? For safety and obviously so they're more quickly ready for an attack.
  4. May 25, 2003 #3


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    "Currently we estimate that there are almost 8,000 active/operational nuclear warheads, with nearly 2,700 additional warheads kept in inactive status for a total of over 10,600 warheads in the stockpile (see table). In addition to these intact warheads, there are in storage at Pantex and Oak Ridge, respectively, approximately 5,000 plutonium pits and approximately the same number of canned subassemblies, i.e., thermonuclear secondaries, which are retained as a "strategic reserve." There are another 7,000 pits at Pantex that have been declared excess from warheads dismantled during the first Bush and Clinton administrations. The more than 10,600 intact warheads, and the 5,000 "strategic reserve" pits, so far have not been included in the Bush administration plans for nuclear reductions. What will change is how they are categorized and counted."

    Table of US Strategic Nuclear Forces, 2002

    http://www.nuclearfiles.org/redataandgraphs/inventory-us.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  5. May 25, 2003 #4
    At least the US and Russia don't have over 30,000 nukes each anymore. Only a few thousand now, just enough to wipe the Earth out a few times over.

  6. May 25, 2003 #5
    What would be the use of such a number of nukes?

    The only possible use I could think of is that you could have one in a lot of different places, to enhance speed of deployment.
  7. May 25, 2003 #6


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    Other than Mutually Assured Destructon?


    Sickening, really.
  8. May 25, 2003 #7
    Those nukes represent lost opportunity in America. THey represent children without food, schools without heat, people without jobs.
  9. May 25, 2003 #8
    1. Yes, the nukes serve only the purpose of total destruction of a given area.
    2. People usually think a nuclear bomb is much more powerful than it really is
    3. Be afraid, be very afraid. Not of other countries, be afraid of the U.S.
    4. I'd place my bet that the U.S. is the next country to drop a nuclear bomb. Most people wouldn't say that inside the U.S., but we're the most pushy arrogant and angry attacking country currently on the planet.
  10. May 26, 2003 #9
    Thanks, Kat. over ten thousand, wow. I've heard that the Russians have a lot more tactical nukes that we do, and that the Pentagon wants to roll back arms control treaties so that they can test & develop tactical nukes. I wonder how fast the warheads degrade in the silos. For the past 30 years, the US has been decomissioning defense stations. I live a few tens of kilometers from an ex- NIKE missile battery, a cold war version of 'star-wars' where anti-aircraft missiles launch against soviet nuclear bombers.
  11. May 30, 2003 #10
    I had used a reference that had mentioned that the last of the strategic arms limitations talks(?) had had Bush, and Premiere Putin, agreeing to reductions in the "7000" nukes that were available, thought I would trust kat's numbers, without any further questions.

    What the heck do ya need a MIRV'ed weapon for, WOW, genetic/somatic radiation devices that adulterate the gene pool of all life, Hummm, what are they good for...........?

    Nothin!.......No-Nuke'm all!
  12. May 31, 2003 #11
    does anyone else find it ****ing humiliating that we (the US) has the audacaty to declare that other nations can't have weapons of mass destruction (especially nukes) seeing as how america is the only nation on earth to have ever used them on an enemy (i.e. hirosima and nagasoki)??!! this war makes me sick.
  13. Jun 1, 2003 #12


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    Re: Re: How many nukes in the US arsenal?

  14. Jun 2, 2003 #13
    Its crazy though that we're provoking other countries to build weapons to balance our aparently limitless power. I wonder though, how long it takes for nuclear weapons to decay. Not to worry, they wont help us against suicidal terrorism will they>!<
  15. Jun 2, 2003 #14
    ...and maybe terrorism is the natural product of a one-sided arms race?
  16. Jun 2, 2003 #15


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    No. Since its not possible to balance our power, why even try? Clearly noone else is trying or has been trying for quite some time.
    Is that like a one sided coin? A two wheel tricicle? Or other oxymorons?

    The arms race is over. It ended in 1991 when the OTHER COMPETITOR the USSR collapsed.

    Bush announced early (maybe it was part of his campaign, I can't remember) that in addition to funding ABM defense, he would unilaterally slash our nuke inventory. But he's since become friends with Putin and decided, eh, what the heck, its better PR if I sign a treaty about it (As Mr. Robin Parsons aluded to). Either way, our inventory of nukes is being seriously cut.
  17. Jun 3, 2003 #16
    Certainly you're joking. North Korea is fully capable of and perhaps has already developed warheads for their beautifully practical 3-stage rockets. China has just last sunday dammed the Yangtse river (hydropower at Hanford was a critical step to this country's arms race). And Russia has a formidable number of strategic weapons, as well as many tactical weapons, where the US has of course, no tactical weapons.
    Russia (and China) is benefiting from global paranoia because it is stepping up manufacturing/exports of conventional weapons.
    OK, but there's some noise at the Pentagon that they want tactical nuclear weapons, so I hear. In any case, It would be wise to expect other countries to respond to the example of Iraq by arming themselves with ... something.
  18. Jun 3, 2003 #17
    Oh yeah, the arms race ended in 1991...so why did everyone complain when Clinton slashed the military budget? Why should be keep designing bigger(or smaller, as the case may be) faster, and more powerful weapons, if there is no arms race? And, if we are the undivided winner in the race to be able to murder the world, do we really think everyone else will just shrug their shoulders and give us all their stuff?
  19. Jun 3, 2003 #18


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    1. Add to this china's recent testing of new MIRV nuclear missiles that are specifically designed to go through any anti-missile shields we may try to employ. They don't exactly trust the US alot at this moment.

    2. The arms race is far from over. You said it yourself in "Slahsh military funding now". Didn't you say that "our allies are ahead of us in underwater stealth technology"? Even if the actual neccessity of the arms race is over, politicans will continue to build weapons because of (a) paranoia at being overtaken and (b) macho appeal to their native nationalists.
    Everybody likes big bangs.

    3. But simultaneous we are retrofitting older low yield bombs for use as "bunker busters" and tactical area denial devices. We argue that the design of such weapons bypasses charters on the use of nuclear weapons, though the nuclear test ban (pretty ironically) mean that these weapons may well be deployed completely untested, with no real idea of the damage that it would cause. This reclassification of nuclear arms as tactical weapons would in fact increase their danger, and the risk of a nuclear war. Cutting nuclear stocks doesn't matter when we are still left with enough to destroy the war several times over.
  20. Jun 3, 2003 #19
    Thats why we say...........

    No Nuke'm all!!
  21. Jun 3, 2003 #20


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    Because Clinton had no regard for the MISSION of the military. He was indiscriminately slashing th budget and making the military incapable of fulfilling its mission. US military doctrine post cold war calls fo the ability to fight two simultaneous large regional conflicts, IE Iraq. By the end of Clinton's term, we were not capable of even ONE in the scale of the 1991 war. Those carrier battle groups that spent 9+ months at sea have Clinton to thank for that.
    Because we still have enemies to defend against. Thats NOT the same as an arms race. An arms race is a race against a SPECIFIC enemy to match/exceed the capabilities of that enemy.
    [?] [?] Give us all their stuff? [?] WTF are you talking about?
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