China SSBN Fleet Getting Ready – But For What?

By Hans M. Kristensen China’s emerging fleet of 3-4 new Jin-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines is getting ready to deploy on deterrent patrols, “probably before the end of 2014,” according to U.S. Pacific Command. A new satellite image taken in October 2013 (above) shows a Jin SSBN in dry dock at the Bohai shipyard in Huludao. Two of the submarine’s 12 missile tubes are open. It is unclear if the submarine in the picture is […]

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The B61 Family of Nuclear Bombs

By Hans M. Kristensen Robert Norris and I have made an update to our Nuclear Notebook on the B61 nuclear bomb family. Kind of an arcane title but that cozy-feeling title is what the nuclear weapon designers call that half a dozen different types of B61 nuclear weapons that were derived from the original design. And it’s kind of timely, because the Obama administration is about to give birth to the newest member of the […]

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B61-12 Nuclear Bomb Design Features

By Hans M. Kristensen Additional design details of the new B61-12 guided standoff nuclear bomb are emerging with new images. The image above shows a full-scale B61-12 model hanging in a wind tunnel at Arnold Air Force Base. The test “uncovered a previously uncharacterized physical phenomenon,” according to Sandia National Laboratories, that would affect weapons performance. Apparently a reference to the interaction between weapons spin rocket motors and the new guided tail kit assembly. Existing B61 […]

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Is the Ukrainian Crisis Spiraling Out of Control?

Today’s news shows a heightened nuclear risk due to a dangerous feedback process at work in the Ukraine. The New York Times’ page 1 ominous headline was, “Striking Town, Ukraine Forces Defy Warning,” and the Wall Street Journal echoed the danger, “Ukraine Sends Troops East As Pro-Russia Forces Strike.” Is the Ukrainian crisis spiraling out of control, and if so, what might we do to reverse that dangerous process? The debate has become paralyzed with the […]

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Obama Administration Decision Weakens New START Implementation

By Hans M. Kristensen After four years of internal deliberations, the U.S. Air Force has decided to empty 50 Minuteman III ICBMs from 50 of the nation’s 450 ICBM silos. Instead of destroying the empty silos, however, they will be kept “warm” to allow reloading the missiles in the future if necessary. The decision to retain the silos rather than destroy them is in sharp contrast to the destruction of 100 empty silos currently underway at […]

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New START Data Show Russian Increase, US Decrease Of Deployed Warheads

By Hans M. Kristensen The latest aggregate data released by the US State Department for the New START treaty show that Russia has increased its counted deployed strategic nuclear forces over the past six months. The data show that Russia increased its deployed launchers by 25 from 473 to 498, and the warheads attributed to those launchers increased by 112 from 1,400 to 1,512 compared with the previous count in September 2013. During the same […]

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B61-12 Nuclear Bomb Integration On NATO Aircraft To Start In 2015

By Hans M. Kristensen The US Air Force budget request for Fiscal Year 2015 shows that integration of the B61-12 on NATO F-16 and Tornado aircraft will start in 2015 for completion in 2017 and 2018. The integration marks the beginning of a significant enhancement of the military capability of NATO’s nuclear posture in Europe and comes only three years after NATO in 2012 said its current nuclear posture meets its security requirements and that […]

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NATO Nuclear Weapons Security Costs Expected to Double

By Hans M. Kristensen The cost of securing U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons deployed in Europe is expected to nearly double to meet increased U.S. security standards, according to the Pentagon’s FY2015 budget request. According to the Department of Defense NATO Security Investment Program , NATO has invested over $80 Million since 2000 to secure nuclear weapons storage sites in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey. But according to the Department of Defense budget request, […]

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Ukraine: The Value of Risk Analysis in Foreseeing Crises

The quantitative risk analysis approach to nuclear deterrence not only allows a more objective estimate of how much risk we face, but also highlights otherwise unforeseen ways to reduce that risk. The current crisis in Ukraine provides a good example. Last Fall, I met Daniel Altman, a Ph.D. candidate at MIT, who is visiting Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) this academic year. When I told him of my interest in risk analysis of nuclear deterrence, […]

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B61-12: First Pictures Show New Military Capability

By Hans M. Kristensen The U.S. government has published the first images of the Air Force’s new B61-12 nuclear bomb. The images for the first time show the new guided tail kit that will provide new military capabilities in violation of the Nuclear Posture Review. The tail kit will increase the accuracy of the bomb and enable it to be used against targets that today require bombs with higher yields. The guided tail kit is […]

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