World & Indian History

The Reality Of Nuclear Free World : A Hoax?

There are nine countries in the world-the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, India, China, Pakistan, Israel, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea-possessed approximately 12075 nuclear weapons. 

There are currently 9440 atomic warheads among the above-mentioned stockpile of devastating weapons that are potentially in use. 

The number of nuclear warheads was supposed to be reduced by a significant number as a result of the Russia-US treaty on measures for the further reduction limitation of strategic offensive arms (New-START), but numbers are increasing at a significant rate as some countries increase their arsenal based on their national security dilemma.

United States Nuclear Force -  

The United States possesses approximately 5550 warheads-Approximately 1744 of these consisting of about 1644 strategic and roughly 100 non-strategic(tactical) warheads. The US is also keeping 1964 warheads in reserve for contingency and future use. Around 1720 warheads have been retired and awaiting dismantlement. 

Estimated are based on publicly available information regarding nuclear arsenal. In US history, the country declassified its entire nuclear stockpile size in front of the world for the first time in 2010. The policy was reversed again during Donald J. Trump's presidency, but it was reinstated by the current Joe Baiden administration.

As the United States holds the world's second-largest nuclear arsenal it divided its arsenal deployment under the strategic nuclear force. US offensive strategic nuclear forces include heavy bomber aircraft, land-based intercontinental ballistic missile systems, and ballistic missile submarines(SSBNs). 

The US has the world's largest bomber fleet along with an airforce strike group. As of 2022, the United States Air Force operates a fleet of 152 heavy bombers-45 B-1Bs, 20 B-2As, and 87 B-52Hs. 

Among the above-mentioned bombers, B-2A is specialized in delivering B61-7, B61-11, and B83-1 gravity bombs. B-52H can deliver the AGM-86B/W80-1 nuclear air-launched cruise missile. These bombers can deliver weapons deep into enemy territory primarily Russia on short notice. 

The US air force is now trying to retire B-2 bombers because these bombers are very expensive to buy and maintain. B-2 will be replaced by the newly developed Northman Gruman B-21 Raider. B-21 Raider would eventually be able to conduct uncrewed operations in the near future when it will be inducted with the air force in near future. 

B-21 will be capable of delivering different types of nuclear weapons: the B61-12 guided nuclear gravity bomb and is also designed to be delivered from shorter-range non-strategic aircraft and long-range standoff weapon (LRSO)ALCM.

Apart from its massive air force it also possesses a long list of long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles with canister-based systems and silo systems. These missiles are part of ground-based strategic deterrence. The US has 450 silos across its 3 missile wings, with the 50 empty silos kept in a state of readiness for reloading with stored missiles if necessary. 

The US navy is also very powerful with cutting-edge warships: strategic bombers, cruisers, and ballistic missile submarines(SSBNs). Among the SSBNs, the Onio class can carry 20 Trident II D5 SLBMs, and it carries 2 basic warhead types: the 455 kt W88. The US has at least 14 SSBNs each can carry 20 nuclear warheads. It makes grand total of 280 nuclear warheads which are in the sea and part of the second strike group and part of the nuclear triad. 

Russian Nuclear Force 

Russia has the world's largest nuclear arsenal, with a total of 6255 nuclear weapons. Among them 4477 are active nuclear arsenal: about 2565 of these were offensive strategic warheads, of which roughly 1588 were deployed on land and sea-based ballistic missiles and at bomber bases. Russia also possesses approximately 1912 non-strategic nuclear warheads. The active number stands at 4477 because 1500 warheads have been retired and awaiting to be dismantled by force. 

Like the USA, Russia also has a strategic nuclear force that consists of Bombers and strike groups, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, and ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). 

Russian bombers were basically developed during the cold war era. These bombers are still in service and they will remain for Russians at least for 2 more decades. Now, Russia is developing a stealthy bomber PAK-DA to counter Northman Gruman B-21 Raider. 

Russia has a formidable bomber squad consisting of Tupolev-95MS6/16/M, Tupolev-22M3, and supersonic Tupolev-160/M/M2. The renowned MIG-31K is a very important aircraft for Russia because Russia modified it with hypersonic Avengrad missiles. The fighter aircraft are also in the line to deliver nuclear warheads: Su-34/24M/57 are the formidable ones.    

Russia also has a large arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles, including the RS-20 (SS-18 Satan) and RS-18 (SS-19Mod4). The country deployed its nuclear-capable Iskander missile in the heart of Europe, in the Leningrad oblast. Russian ICBMs are the most advanced weapons ever developed, with a maximum warhead capacity of 1185 warheads.

Russia completed its nuclear triad during the cold war period that's why its ballistic missile submarine force is also large and advanced in comparison to the United States. They possessed the world's largest submarine, the Belgorod. These ballistic missile submarines are equipped with Kaliber submarine-launched cruise missiles, also known as the 3M-14(SS-N-30A), which is a significant new addition to the navy's stock of weapons. Russia also has some dedicated cruise missile submarines (SSGN), including the new Yasen/M or Project 885/M SSGN. 

France Nuclear Force 

France became a nuclear power on 13th February 1960, when they conducted their first test in the Sahara desert. It has a yield of 60-70 kilotons. It later moved its nuclear tests to the South Pacific. 

Since then France has developed about 290 nuclear warheads. Frace also has a nuclear triad which consists of ICBMs, ballistic missile submarines, and airforce. 

France's nuclear strike core consists of 48 submarine-launched ballistic missiles and 50 air-launched cruise missiles. France equipped its Rafael BF-3 with 40 nuclear missiles, and its carrier-based Rafael MF-3 holds 10 nuclear warheads. Their sea-based missiles hold the key because most of their nuclear assets are at sea in ballistic missile submarines. M51.2 is the prime ballistic missile it has and it is being upgraded to M51.3, it will be operational in 2025. 

In April 2021 France conducted a successful test launch of the M51.3 from the missile testing facility near Biscarosse in South-West France. 

British Nuclear Force 

The United Kingdom is the only nuclear-armed state that operates only a single type of nuclear weapon. The country's nuclear deterrent is entirely sea-based. The UK doesn't have any land and air nuclear assets. 

They possess 225 nuclear warheads but they are increasing their number out of fear that has been generated by Russia after their Ukraine invasion. Their nuclear assets are based on ballastic missile submarines: Vanguard class submarines. The UK is also developing new submarines for its navy, the Dreadnought Class Submarine which is expected to come into service by 2028 but has been delayed until early 2030. The cost of the Dreadnought Programme is $14.3 billion of which $2.6 billion has already been spent.

The UK is now operating Trident missiles from these submarines, and will later induct new missiles developed in collaboration with the US. The new missile will be Trident II D5, popularly known as Holbrook. 

China's Nuclear force 

China is a mystery to the world because it never disclosed its nuclear stockpile number. Unofficially China has 350 nuclear warheads but they are increasing it to 1000 by 2030. 

They also have triads like the USA and Russia. China's bombers H-6K/6N/20 are equipped with nuclear warheads. It also has a long list of Dongfang series ICBMs (DF4-41). China's nuclear testing facility is in the country's northwestern Lop-Nor region.  

India's Nuclear Force 

India became a nuclear state after its 1974 Smiling Buddha test which was conducted in Rajasthan's Pokhran. The number of nuclear warheads is not officially known to anyone because the real number has never been disclosed by the government of India. 

India's nuclear triad is one of the best among all the Asian nuclear power because India holds a supersonic Brahmos missile system which India has already integrated into the army, navy, and airforce. 

India doesn't have any formidable bomber aircraft although it has inducted its nuclear warhead in Mirage 2000H, Jaguar, and Su-30 MKI. India's land base missile systems are one of the best in the world and totally indigenous. It operates land-based Pralay, and entire series of Agni starting from Agni-I to Agni-V, and Agni-Prime. 

India also has submarine-based K-4/15 and Dhanush missiles which India inducted in its ballastic missile submarines. 

 Pakistan, Israel, and North Korean Nuclear force

Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea have 165,90,20 nuclear arsenals respectively. The history of Pakistan's nuclear bomb is quite fascinating and full of controversy, as is the history of Israel and North Korea.

Israel never declared itself as a nuclear state because of the state's geography. 

According to the US department of defense, Pakistan and North Korea constantly developing their nuclear weapons. They are planning to reach 300 and 100 respectively. 

These nuclear power states are constantly increasing their nuclear capability and number of nuclear warheads. Isn't it a hoax after promising the world to reduce the number? These powers are not only increasing the number they are also developing their delivery system to make it more efficient and lethal knowing the consequences of all possible negative effects if anything goes wrong. The UN has tried to stop these inevitable but they were unable to check the growth of the nuclear arsenal. Some countries, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, are still attempting to acquire nuclear weapons.