Russia Alarmed by US Deployment of Low-Yield Nukes

US Air Force test-launches new ICBM

Russian Deputy FM Sergey Ryabkov expressed “great concern” over the US decision to deploy W76-2 nuclear warheads on submarines, saying concerns were also fueled by “arguments previously voiced by the American side about the possible use of such a device.”

The Pentagon confirmed the deployment of the low-yield, submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead on Tuesday. Officials said it was needed to “deter” Russia.

Despite the nominal appeal to deterrence, US officials have often presented the low-yield nukes as more usable. This has fueled substantial concern that the US would introduce nukes with a lower threshold, and would make the use of nuclear weapons more common, and less unthinkable than they’ve been for decades.

This is just one aspect of the US nuclear policy that is concerning. The Air Force also announced Wednesday that they carried out a test-launch of the Minuteman III, fitted with a test re-entry vehicle, into the Pacific Ocean.

The test is part of an effort to modernize US nuclear-capable ICBMs. The test is part of a multi-billion dollar Pentagon program to develop advancements to the nuclear warhead being used by the ICBM. The test launch, of course, used an unarmed warhead.

Again, while the US is presenting this as routine military testing, it is impossible not to point out that the US routinely rails against other nations conducting any tests of this sort.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of