first published on February 5, 2020 by Will
America’s newly developed nuclear warheads have recently deployed aboard at least one submarine, the Pentagon confirmed on Tuesday.
The deployment “strengthens deterrence and provides the United States a prompt, more survivable low-yield strategic weapon; supports our commitment to extended deterrence; and 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,” defense official John Rood said.
The W76-2 was designed for the Navy’s Trident ballistic missile with an intentionally lower yield than it’s predecessor, the W76-1. Russia has fielded a number of lower-yield nuclear weapons with the assumption that the US would be less likely to respond in a nuclear manner to a smaller nuke attack if the US has only massively powerful warheads at their disposal.
The development of this weapon was requested, designed, and produced under the Trump administration in response to the ongoing expansion of the Russian nuclear arsenal.
Critics of the weapon say there is no way for other nations to be sure if it is a low or high-yield warhead being launched, which could very easily trigger a mutually assured destruction scenario.