Global Risk

Nuclear Notebook: Russian nuclear forces, 2024

03.07.24 | 3 min read

The Federation of American Scientists has released its annual estimate of the size and makeup of Russia’s nuclear forces. The total number of nuclear warheads are now estimated to include 4,380 stockpiled warheads for operational forces, as well as an additional 1,200 retired warheads awaiting dismantlement, for a total inventory of 5,580 warheads.

Despite modernization of Russian nuclear forces and warnings about an increase of especially shorter-range non-strategic warheads, we do not yet see such an increase as far as open sources indicate. For now, the number of non-strategic warheads appears to be relatively stable with slight fluctuations. Although our new estimate of this category is lower than last year, that is not because of an actual decrease in the force level but because we have finetuned assumptions about the number of warheads assigned to Russian non-strategic nuclear forces. Our new estimate of roughly 1,558 non-strategic warheads is well within the range of 1,000-2,000 warheads estimated by the U.S. Intelligence Community for the past several years. 

While Russia’s nuclear statements and threatening rhetoric are of great concern, Russia’s  nuclear arsenal and operations have changed little since our 2023 estimates beyond the ongoing modernization. In the future, however, the number of warheads assigned to Russian strategic forces may increase as single-warhead missiles are replaced with missiles equipped with multiple warheads. If the New START treaty is not replaced with a new agreement, both Russia and the United States could potentially increase the number of deployed warheads.

Also in the Nuclear Notebook: Russian nuclear forces, 2024, is our latest analysis on Russian force modernization and strategy:

The FAS Nuclear Notebook, published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, is widely considered the most accurate public source for information on global nuclear arsenals for all nine nuclear-armed states. 

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) works to advance progress on a broad suite of contemporary issues where science, technology, and innovation policy can deliver dramatic progress, and seeks to ensure that scientific and technical expertise have a seat at the policymaking table. Established in 1945 by scientists in response to the atomic bomb, FAS continues to work on behalf of a safer, more equitable, and more peaceful world. More information at

This research was carried out with generous contributions from the New-Land Foundation, Ploughshares Fund, the Prospect Hill Foundation, Longview Philanthropy, and individual donors.