This is what ratcheting up looks like. This time ratcheting is three-sided. China’s in the nuclear game and the new nuclear arms race extends from cruise missiles with ‘usable’ nuclear warheads to hypersonic nuclear re-entry vehicles. The US, Russia and China — and alliance partners — are racing, each pushing the other, toward strategic disaster
‘Usable’ Nukes: Extending Plans Beyond Submarine-Launched Platforms
Nuclear Security and Deterrence Monitor :
“A low-yield submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead capability, deemed the W76 Mod 2, will be fielded by configuring a small number of existing ballistic missile warheads for primary-only detonation.”
Former NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks estimated it would cost tens of millions of dollars to create the W76 Mod 2, or something like it.
“And everything about it as a policy is probably the easiest thing we’ve done,” Brooks said during a panel discussion at the Deterrence Summit. “[W]hen we test fly W76s, we have a dummy secondary and a dummy primary. When we go to war with W76s, we have a real secondary and a real primary, and so to replace the real secondary with a dummy secondary is not … a technical challenge.”
As reported by the Los Alamos Study Group, the NPR calls for two major additions to the stockpile: submarine-launched nuclear-tipped cruise missiles (SLCMs), a type of weapon which the US retired in 2010 under Obama; and a low-yield submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) warhead for existing Trident missiles.
Beyond submarine-launched platforms…
John Hyten, chief of US Strategic Command, February 16, Washington DC: “It’s important to know that the NPR, when it talks about the sea-launched cruise missile, does not say ‘submarine-launched cruise missile…”
“We want to look at a number of options — everything from surface DDG 1000s [Zumwalt destroyers] to submarines, different types of submarines… that’s what the president’s budget has requested of us, to go look at those platforms, and we’re going to walk down that path.”
Reports via the Los Alamos Study Group
F-35 modifications as platform for next gen nuclear warfare:
Forward-based war planning / NATO – Israel / Designed for “Hardened -Targets – Underground Bunkerbusters”
More from the Trump Nuclear Posture
Escalation, Proliferation, Nuclear Arms Budget Ramped Up
Via Report of Nuclear Watch, New Mexico / February 26, 2018
Funding for the world’s first nuclear smart bomb, the B61-12, is increased from $611.9 million to $794 million, with a First Production Unit scheduled for March 2020. As part of the escalating Cold War II arms race, its main mission is to be forward deployed in NATO countries against Russia.
Trump’s recently released Nuclear Posture Review proposed quick development of a low-yield sub-launched Trident missile warhead.
The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review states that the United States will modify a small quantity of existing SLBM [submarine launched ballistic missiles] warheads to provide a low-yield option in the near-term.
As the Nuclear Weapons Council translates policy into military requirements, the Administration will work with Congress for appropriate authorizations and appropriations to develop options that support the modification.