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AUGUST 2020

The US Deployed Its New W76-2 Tactical Nuclear Submarine Warhead

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The US Deployed Its New W76-2 Tactical Nuclear Submarine Warhead

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The US deployed its new W76-2 low-yield Trident submarine warhead, the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) reported on January 29th.

Reportedly, the first submarine to deploy the new weapon was the USS Tennessee, at the end of 2019.

The low-yield nuclear warhead was first mentioned in February 2018, as part of the US’ Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). And it was mentioned simply as completing the W-76-1 by the end of Fiscal Year 2019.

It was described as a capability to “help counter any mistaken perception of an exploitable ‘gap’ in U.S. regional deterrence capabilities.”

The justification was that the US administration had no “prompt” and useable nuclear capability that could counter, and deter Russia from using its own tactical nuclear weapons.

According to FAS, between one or two of the 20 missiles on board the USS Tennessee and other similar submarines would be armed with the W76-2 warhead. Each warhead is estimated to have an explosive yield of approximately 5 kilotons.

The US Deployed Its New W76-2 Tactical Nuclear Submarine Warhead

Click to see full-size image

The remaining 18 missiles on each submarine like the Tennessee carry either the 90-kiloton W76-1 or the 455-kiloton W88. Each missile can carry up to eight warheads under current loading configurations.

The first W76-2 (known as First Production Unit, or FPU) was completed at Pantex in February 2019.

At the time, NNSA said it was “on track to complete the W76-2 Initial Operational Capability warhead quantity and deliver the units to the U.S Navy by the end of Fiscal Year 2019”

“NNSA is fully committed to meeting the requirements of our partners at the Department of Defense,” said Dr. Charles P. Verdon, NNSA’s Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs. “The W76-2 will allow for tailored deterrence in the face of evolving threats.”

The W76-2 program is a modification of the W76-1 warhead to provide a low-yield, sea-launched ballistic missile warhead capability.

The US Deployed Its New W76-2 Tactical Nuclear Submarine Warhead

Click to see full-size image

In justifying the W76-2 since the February 2018 NPR, DOD has emphasized that production and deployment could be done fast, was simple to do, and wouldn’t cost very much.

Based upon the supposed “escalate-to-deescalate” doctrine, the February 2018 NPR claims that the W76-2 is needed to “help counter any mistaken perception of an exploitable ‘gap’ in U.S. regional deterrence capabilities.”

Consultants who were involved in producing the NPR have suggested that “[Russian President] Putin may well believe that the United States would not respond with strategic warheads that could cause significant collateral damage” and “that Moscow could conceivably engage in limited nuclear first-use without undue risk…”

There is no firm evidence that a Russian nuclear decision regarding the risk involved in nuclear escalation is dependent on the yield of a US nuclear weapon. Moreover, the United States already has a large number of weapons in its nuclear arsenal that have low-yield options – about 1,000, as per FAS.

In conclusion, the new weapon and its justification are simply another example of double-faced talk. Russia and China are being accused of undertaking actions that the US and NATO themselves are undertaking.

The Washington-led establishment successively accuses both Moscow and Beijing of preparing to use low-yield nuclear weapons in any local conflict to forward their interests, or simply threaten of potential aggression, while the US appears to be the actual party actively preparing towards that specific goal.

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  • cechas vodobenikov

    http://www.sott.net/article/428186
    like their people, the US govt is cowardly and lies consistently
    “amerikans have been liars and braggarts for 3 centuries”. Daniel Boorstin

    • Jake321

      Damb, not half the time of you Ruskies.

  • Peter Jennings

    Of course, exploitable gaps in US defenses are always a mistaken neocon perception.

    President Putin isn’t concerned whether USneocons respond. He is much more concerned that the USneocons will try and strike the first blow. The USadmin has a rabid taste for unnecessarily detonating nuclear devices over populated areas.
    The low yield devices are intended to be used by the USneocons in the next conflict and is the reason why they have taken a big public dump on every existing nuclear agreement they had. The USadmin and its MIC don’t want any accountability or brakes applied on their march for global totalitarianism.

    It’s the NWO or bust for these freaks, which will mean the end of the planet for humans and most living creatures.

    • Assad must stay

      id much rather prefer the end of them, while us normal people go on living our lives

  • Aquilegia

    There is no frigging thing such as a “tactical” nuclear weapon. In fact this was not for deterrence at all, but some influential people in the Pentagon figured that they could use these “low yield” nukes against targets in Iran.

    • ButtonPlay

      my thirst thought, btw, i would like to know if these missiles are designed to detonate above ground or to dig in the ground for bunker busting?

      • Jake321

        Like the Israeli ones, they are meant mostly as cheap and easy to deliver bunker busters. The really big ones are for major military installations, large troop formations, industrial centers and cities if need be.

    • Jake321

      Yep. Great idea. Really cheap and quick way the end Islamist Iran’s nuke and missile program and stalemate their ground forces. Israel has the same on its subs off the Iranian coast.

  • MikeH

    There are 24 tubes on a Trident, not 20

  • Assad must stay

    Should be no issue for S-400, 500, maybe even 300 to intercept

  • Avraham Goodman ✡✡✡✡✡✡

    perfect thiong i read for all day! this will give US ability to flatten strategy targets of Russia china mullah iran and syria for no problem at all!

    1 w76 2 warhead and say goodbye to buthcher regime airbase and russian airbase in syria turned to ash all inside turned to ash! GOODBYE

    • Kananda

      you are wrong boy. if usa or il will use nuclear weapons, that day will be the beginning of the end for them.

      • Avraham Goodman ✡✡✡✡✡✡

        usa can get away with it believe me no one will retaliate against usa with nukes or else they will be toppled like Iraq 2003 libya 2011 and syria now!

        • Kananda

          you will see what will happen.

        • Dick Von Dast’Ard

          Presumably you were asleep on 8th January?

          • Jake321

            Odd that there wasn’t any top CIA Director on that plane. And the US sure got away with blowing up Islamist Iran’s top general and a half dozen of his top military buddies real cheap. Moron Trump took those fabled Persian Rug Merchants for a ride.

          • Aquilegia

            https://thehill.com/policy/defense/480815-us-troop-injuries-after-iran-missile-strike-rises-to-64

            I’d say the Iran strike was quite effective, and they claimed 80 casualties from the beginning so they might have good intel.

            Now this was a very small strike, I think they could actually inflict thousands upon thousands of personell losses and major material damage to all US air bases around Iran if they wanted to.

        • Peter Jennings

          Or any other country with an army of a lesser size or quality. The US is yet to fight against Russians who now have a proper army, navy, airforce.

          It’s probably best you stick with the easy stuff.

      • Jake321

        Nahhhhhhhh…depends who they use them on. Most likely would be Iran and Hezbollah. And they can not respond in kind especially after they’ve been turned into pretty glow in the dark dust and vapor. Try to keep up.

        • Kananda

          The usa will go in isolation in the world.

  • FlorianGeyer

    Nuclear missiles of any size come out of the ‘same bottle’, and once that Genie is loose it will be impossible to put in back into the bottle.

    The US government should look beyond the hook noses of their advisers.

    • Jake321

      And at the hook noses of all their enemies in the Mideast, Adolf?

  • Dick Von Dast’Ard

    The Eastern Europeans are absolute morons, no other words for them…

    Their countries are the most likely ones to be glassed in any sort of U.S. – Russia nuclear confrontation in Europe which fearfully goes all the way, not Russia and not the U.S… Yet they are literally welcoming that ‘glassing’ (even if it is hypothetical) with every kiss of Pompeo’s right buttock cheek!

    • Jake321

      No way they get glassed without all of Russia being glassed. Just the way it is.

  • goingbrokes

    Crazy talk. No gaps in US deterrence – who in their right mind would want to attack US? It’s totally insane.

    • Jake321

      Well, a lot of the coach potato generals on this site pine to attack the US all the time. They want that against Israel even more. These idiots wish nuclear death on millions of people they claim to support.

      • Peter Jennings

        What comes to the west is a direct consequence of what it has done/doing in the east. So far all i have seen from ME countries is retaliation to western/isreali attacks. So if ME countries, Russia, China, whoever, do call time on Earth, it will be via retaliation to said US/western attacks.

        One day you will make a general potatohead.