A submarine-launched by the US military carried a new low-yield nuclear weapon. The Pentagon sees this as a critical moment to any counters Russia may pose with their smaller tactical nuclear weapons.
It is only for America’s self-defense, and it will not be launched unless Russia gets out of line with their arsenal. Some high ranking officials are nervous about the deployment of the nuclear warhead as it may increase nuclear threats in the regions.
John Rood, the undersecretary of defense for policy stated Tuesday morning, “The US Navy has fielded the W76-2 low-yield submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead.”
This is not something the US has within its arsenal that is new. It is an upgrade from the W-76 warhead the US already had in its stockpile. This arm the submarines which also launch Trident II(D-5) missiles.
The nuclear options and launch codes are updated to the nuclear warheads in deployment as a US official confirmed before the news media. These warheads were the first nuclear missiles, which are still considered new in decades and were upgraded at the beginning part of last year.
The problem lies within other countries’ line of thinking. They may view this as an opportunity to produce smaller nuclear weapons against us. They don’t know we will retaliate full force if we or our allies are attacked by nuclear weapons. These new nuclear warheads will speak for themselves as America’s arsenal is by far more destructive.
The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review stated when this was just an idea, “Expanding flexible US nuclear options now, to include low-yield options, is important for the preservation of credible deterrence against regional aggression.
It will raise the nuclear threshold and help ensure that potential adversaries perceive no possible advantage in limited nuclear escalation, making nuclear employment less likely.”
A NATO official told reporters, “The United States regularly consults with allies on its nuclear weapons systems, and has provided updates on its development of low-yield tridents since the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.”
The official added, “The new weapon demonstrates to potential adversaries that there is no advantage to limited nuclear employment because the United States can credibly and decisively respond to any threat scenario.”
The plan states the US will modify the warheads already in existence and place them on submarine-launched ballistic missiles over a five-year program set to cost $50 million. Only a few missiles will be placed on the submarines and only have strategic longer-range missiles.
The goal is to let Russia and the rest of the world know they may have stockpiled “tactical” nuclear weapons, but the US will always counter-attack with much more powerful and destructive artillery.
Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, stated the US wanted the ability to let any adversary know we can threaten “and penetrate targets deep in adversary territory that current aircraft deliverable low yield nuclear weapons cannot reach.”
Gen. John Hyten, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Tuesday morning submarines give a faster response than an aircraft.
He stated, “More than defendability, it’s timeliness because, with a submarine, you can respond immediately, with a bomber you have to load the weapon and then you have to fly all the way to wherever the target is.”
Many are in favor of the way the US Military is handling the “just in case preps.” Other critics, not so much.
A group of former officials, including former Secretary of State George Schultz and former Secretary of Defense William Perry, sent a notice to Congress in 2018 which stated, “We write to respectfully request that Congress reject the Trump administration’s request for new, more usable, “low-yield” nuclear warheads for Trident missiles. There is no need for such weapons, and building them would make the United States less safe. These so-called “low-yield” weapons are a gateway to nuclear catastrophe and should not be pursued.”
There was only one issue Narrang was concerned about when he told reporters about Russia, they will not wait before any missiles hit them before retaliating. He stated, “They have to assume the worst, even if it is ‘only one or two missiles’ since the fully loaded SLBMs can carry multiple thermonuclear warheads.
Narrang concluded, “So you have a system that you can never use because it buys you a strategic nuclear war. And if you can never actually use it, and the Russians know that it cannot deter what you want it to.”