Could Donald Trump buy a nuclear submarine?

USA equips submarine with new nuclear weapon

The US has equipped a submarine with a new long-range missile with a relatively small nuclear warhead. The use of the W76-2 warhead was a response to Russian tests of similar weapons, said John Rood, Secretary of State at the US Department of Defense. It is "a fast, less lethal strategic weapon with low explosive power" that "increases deterrence".

The use of small, low-explosive nuclear warheads is of international concern. According to experts, the enormous explosive power of nuclear weapons alone has had a deterrent effect in the past few decades. Critics fear that weapons with lower explosive power will induce nuclear powers to give up their restraint and that the danger of nuclear war will increase.

Responsive submarine in the Atlantic

"Potential opponents like Russia" shouldn't think that they would have an advantage by using warheads with relatively low explosive power, said Rood. The US is able to "react credibly and decisively to any threat scenario".

The W76-2 warhead has an estimated five kilotons of explosive force, according to scientists from the Federation of American Scientists. The explosive force of the nuclear warheads previously used on US underwater boats, however, is 455 and 90 kilotons, reported William Arkin and Hans Kristensen on the association's website. According to them, the new weapon is in use on the "USS Tennessee", which patrols the Atlantic.

sam / qu (afp, rtr)