State Dep't releases US, Russia nuclear arsenal data
The United States has 30 percent more long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads than former Cold War foe Russia, according to new treaty data released Wednesday by the State Department.
Both countries are required to report key figures from their nuclear weapons arsenals as part of the landmark new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) adopted by Moscow and Washington on February 5.
The United States has 882 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and heavy bombers, compared with 521 for Russia, according to the State Department, which published the new START aggregate numbers.
The United States also has 1,800 warheads and 1,124 launchers, as well as deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers, compared with Russia's 1,537 warheads and 865 launchers and heavy bombers, according to the figures.
The figures are current as of February 5, 2011 "as drawn from the initial exchange of data by the parties" that was required within 45 days of the treaty coming into force.
The new START limits each side to 1,550 deployed warheads and 700 deployed ICBMs and SLBMs and heavy bombers, meaning the United States would still need to reduce its arsenal under the terms of the treaty.
The first nuclear pact in two decades has been feted as vital to global security because it reduces old warhead ceilings by 30 percent from a limit set in 2002, and establishes a streamlined new inspection procedure designed to eliminate cheating.
The accord's restricted arsenal limits still allow for enough weaponry to blow up the world many times over.
US President Barack Obama has described the treaty as a modest step toward "a world without nuclear weapons," but stressed he knew the goal would not be reached quickly and would take "patience and persistence."
© 2011 AFP