The British government announced on Tuesday that it is increasing the number of warheads in its nuclear stockpile, which will be the first time since the end of the Cold War that the UK has added to its arsenal.
A report from the British government said the UK will be raising the cap of its arsenal to 260 Trident nuclear warheads, up from 180. In 2010, the UK decided to reduce the stockpile from 225 to 180.
“In recognition of the evolving security environment, including the developing range of technological and doctrinal threats … the UK will move to an overall nuclear weapon stockpile of no more than 260 warheads,” the report says.
The UK’s arsenal peaked at about 500 warheads in the 1970s and had been decreasing in size ever since. The decision to increase its arsenal reflects the current tension between NATO countries and other nuclear-armed states, including Russia and China.
The increase was announced in a report that outlined what the UK’s foreign policy will focus on. The report identified Russia as the top threat to Britain but also calls for more focus on China. It says the rise of China is “the most significant geostrategic factor of the 2020s.”