Who has nuclear weapons and how many?

Russia is conducting a drill having 40 million people going to shelters built to survive a nuclear exchange with the United States. If one was expecting an actual nuclear exchange, that is exactly what you would do – except tell the people once they arrive that it is not a drill and to not come out until the war is over.

Even if Putin doesn’t really expect nuclear war, it will elicit a reaction that the situation is real. Putin has the support of around 80% of his people already. You see none of this preparation in the United States or Europe.

This story Considers the effect of a 20 megaton hydrogen bomb hitting a city.
Russia has none.

So who has how many nuclear weapons and how many?
World Inventory of Nuclear Weapons

Russia
United States

A few basic terms to understand these documents. A strategic weapon is a long range weapon used to directly attack your adversary. A non strategic nuclear weapon is a low yield weapon used primarily as a defensive weapon to stop the advance of the enemy in a conventional sense, blow up an airfield, a military base, etc. since the nuclear bombs leave behind radiation, the attacker can’t move through the territory they just bombed.

MIRV is “Multiple Independent Reentrant Vehicle”, which means one big rocket carrying multiple warheads that split apart near the target and explode individually. Many small weapons are more effective than one big one as force falls off based at least on the square of distance. Multiple weapons hitting a target from different directions what have blasts arriving from different directions at slightly different times. One of the arguments when negotiating treaties is whether a MIRVed missile is one per rocket or one per warhead.

Russian and the United States by far have most of the nuclear weapons in the world – about 92%.. How big each explosion would be is not straight forward. Some are deliberately variable yield, others may have deteriorated from not being maintained.

Based on the lists above:
– Russia has about 2,600 strategic warheads based on about 550 delivery vehicles
– United States has about 2000 warheads based on 788 delivery vehicles
– both sides have 1000s of warheads in storage that would not be available during the first exchange
– neither side has anything near a 20 megaton bomb
— largest Russian weapon is MIRVed SS18 ICBM, with 10 x 800 kilotons – 46 of them
— largest US Weapon is Sub launched Mk-5 MIRVed with 4 x 455 kilotons – 96 of them

Cruise missiles are the wildcard – they do not leave the atmosphere and return to avoid the friction and energy loss, so the ICBM can travel 10,000 miles… a B52 can do the same thing, but much slower. Cruise missiles are much shorter range and don’t carry as big a payload – but they fly low and could hit with little or no warning

We now return you to your regular programming speculating about whether Donald Trump paid taxes in 1996 and Kim Kardashian’s Jewelry

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2 Responses to Who has nuclear weapons and how many?

  1. Fred Stiening says:

    Snopes tells me it is only partly true. I’m so relieved. Russia practicing protecting its critical facilities and relocating its government in underground facilities might just be practice for a big snowstorm

  2. briand75 says:

    The Russia I know doesn’t care much for its people. They are cannon-fodder in the event of an attack on Mother Russia. I could bore us all with comparisons of U.S. nuclear subs and Russian nuclear subs and one couldn’t miss the same laissez-faire approach to its military population.

    The only drills would involve Putin and the top echelons of government making way to the underground safe houses to weather the nuclear attacks.

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