U.S. Navy deploys new low-yield nuclear weapons aboard Ohio-class strategic ballistic missile submarines

Feb. 14, 2020
The destructive power of the W76-2 low-yield missile may be one-third the destructive power of the Little Boy nuclear bomb the U.S. dropped on Japan.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. military has deployed a new addition to its nuclear arsenal — a long-range missile armed with a nuclear warhead of reduced destructive power. The so-called low-yield missile joins other, more powerful weapons aboard stealthy submarines prowling the oceans. The Associated Press reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

Date -- The debut deployment aboard nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines, known as boomers, is a landmark in U.S. nuclear weapons policy. It is the first major addition to the strategic nuclear arsenal in recent decades and is a departure from the Obama administration’s policy of lessening dependence on nuclear weapons in pursuit of a nuclear-free world.

In confirming the nuclear missiles deployment to The Associated Press, the Pentagon’s top policy official asserted that the weapon makes Americans safer by making nuclear war less likely. Critics, including some Democrats in Congress, call it a dangerous excess that increases the risk of war.

John Rood, the undersecretary of defense for policy, said that adding the “low-yield” warhead, known as the W76-2, to submarines which tote Trident II ballistic missiles lowers the risk of nuclear war. He also said the warhead will help the United States dissuade Russia from risking launching a limited nuclear conflict.

Related: Lockheed Martin nets $95.4 million for Trident II D5 submarine-launched nuclear missile production

Related: Draper Lab to upgrade inertial guidance units on Trident submarine-launched nuclear missile systems

Related: Navy moves forward on common missile compartment for future U.S. and U.K. nuclear submarine

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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