Table of contents:
- History of Creation
- Confrontation with the Soviet Union
- Current state
- Modernization of strategic forces
In the history of mankind, the only use of the atomic bomb during the Second World War in the bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki proved the terrifying effectiveness of nuclear weapons. The United States, which became the first country to use it in hostilities, has long been planning massive nuclear strikes on the cities of the USSR. Fortunately, these plans were not realized. Now, after several decades of thaw, the country has again begun building up its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.
History of Creation
An international group of scientists led by the outstanding American physicist Robert Oppenheimer worked as part of the US nuclear weapons program "Project Manhattan". In total, three atomic bombs were created: plutonium "Thing" (exploded during testing) and "Fat Man" (dropped on Nagasaki), uranium "Fat Man" (dropped on Hiroshima).
First atomic bombs entered serviceAmerican army, weighed about 9 tons, it could only be delivered to the target by heavy bombers of the B-29 type. Already by the beginning of the 50s, more compact bombs appeared in the US nuclear arsenal, which could be equipped with front-line aircraft. In 1954, thermonuclear charges began to enter service. Later, charges for artillery shells, ballistic missiles and mines were developed and adopted by the ground forces. Gradually, the main strike force became the naval forces, armed with nuclear submarines with cruise ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.
Confrontation with the Soviet Union
Since 1949, when the USSR created its atomic bomb, a dizzying arms race began, putting the world on the brink of total destruction. Each country feared that the other would gain an advantage in either the quality or quantity of weapons of mass destruction.
Since 1945, the total yield of US nuclear weapons has grown many times over, peaking in 1960 when it reached 20,000 megatons, roughly equal to the yield of 1.36 million bombs dropped on Japanese Hiroshima. The country had the largest number of warheads in 1967 - about 32,000 were in service then. The weapons accumulated by the parties were enough to destroy humanity many times over.
In the next 20 years, the arsenal was reduced by about 30% after an agreement was reached with Moscow to reduce the level of nuclear confrontation. At the time of the collapsesocialist system, in 1989 the United States had 22.2 thousand charges.
According to the latest data, the US strategic forces are armed with 1,367 warheads located on 681 deployed strategic carriers, and 848 on other carriers. Under the START III treaty, a strategic bomber is equated to one such charge, regardless of how many bombs and nuclear missiles it carries.
The United States is armed with about 159 modern nuclear bombs for various purposes, some of which are located at air bases in European countries and Turkey. In 2018, tests of the B61-12 multifunctional nuclear bomb were completed, which will replace several previous modifications and will be able to target various targets.
The main delivery vehicles for US nuclear weapons are Minuteman ICBMs, strategic bombers, nuclear submarines and cruise missiles.
Modernization of strategic forces
In 2017, plans were announced to extensively modernize and improve the current combat status of US nuclear weapons, for which $1,242 billion will be allocated. Of these, 400 billion will be spent on modernization until 2046, and the rest on operation and combat capability. It is planned to modernize the main strike forces: nuclear submarines of the third generation "Ohio", ICBMs and cruise missiles with combat nuclear units andpromising long-range bomber B-21 Raider. Work will also be carried out to improve nuclear power plants.
Approximately $445 billion will be spent on industrial facilities and laboratories that develop and research to modernize US nuclear weapons, communications, control, command and early warning systems. The military department of the country justifies the costs by the need to counter the military threat from Russia.