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Federation of American Scientists Issues Updated Nuclear Notebook for Russia

March 8, 2024 (EIRNS)—The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) released a new nuclear notebook on Russian strategic forces, which is an update of similar reports from previous years. According to the FAS summary of the 50-page document published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “The total number of (Russian) nuclear warheads are now estimated to include 4,380 stockpiled warheads for operational forces, as well as an additional 1,200 retired warheads awaiting dismantlement, for a total inventory of 5,580 warheads.”

“Despite modernization of Russian nuclear forces and warnings about an increase of especially shorter-range non-strategic warheads, we do not yet see such an increase as far as open sources indicate,” it says. “For now, the number of non-strategic warheads appears to be relatively stable with slight fluctuations.” The FAS estimate the stockpile of non-strategic warheads is lower than last year’s, but this, they say, is because of better information, not because there’s been an effort by Russia to reduce its size. “Our new estimate of roughly 1,558 non-strategic warheads is well within the range of 1,000-2,000 warheads estimated by the U.S. Intelligence Community for the past several years,” the summary says.

Otherwise, their analysis includes the following findings (among others):

• Russian nuclear force modernization, intended to replace Soviet-era missiles, aircrafts, and submarines with new systems, continues at a steady pace.

• Modernization of road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles is essentially complete with focus shifting to modernizing silo-based missiles.

• New strategic and non-strategic submarines continue to replace Soviet-era models but with enhanced nuclear weapon systems.

• Upgrades and some reproduction of Soviet-era strategic bombers continue with new long-range cruise missiles.