Strategic Nuclear Weapons after START

  • Michael M. May
Part of the Issues in International Security book series (IIS)


The Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) negotiations, which have been under way since 1982, have resulted in the United States and the Soviet Union agreeing on major issues regarding the final form of a START treaty. In the START negotiations some kinds of strategic weapons, such as bombs and cruise missiles, are not fully counted or are outside the count so that the total of strategic warheads will be substantially higher than 6,000. Thus, a bomber carrying only gravity bombs and short-range missiles will count as one warhead, even though it may carry as many as twenty weapons. A U.S. bomber carrying long-range cruise missiles will be considered to carry ten warheads even though it will carry up to twenty missiles. Sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs) will be outside the total of 6,000, and SLCMs with ranges over 600 kilometers will be subject to a politically binding limit of 880.


Nuclear Weapon Ballistic Missile Current Force Cruise Missile Alert Rate 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Michael M. May, George F. Bing, and John D. Steinbruner, “Strategic Arsenals after START,” International Security (Summer 1988), pp. 90–133.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael M. May
    • 1
  1. 1.Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryLivermoreUSA

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