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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Central Warhead and Delivery Vehicle Limits of the New START Treaty

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation
April 8, 2010


Key Point: The Treaty reduces by about 30 percent the limit on the number of Russian nuclear weapons and helps us better track the remaining ones. At the same time, the United States retains the nuclear force level we need to protect ourselves, as validated by the Defense Department’s planners through rigorous analysis in the Nuclear Posture Review.

The principal U.S. objective in bilateral strategic arms control is to increase stability in the U.S.-Russian nuclear relationship at significantly lower levels of nuclear weapons. The New START Treaty sets aggregate limits which are 56% lower than the limit for deployed strategic nuclear delivery vehicles and 74% lower than the limit for deployed warheads established in the 1991 START Treaty, which expired in December 2009. The New START Treaty limit for deployed warheads will be 30% lower than the limit for deployed strategic warheads established under the 2002 Moscow Treaty, which the New START Treaty will supersede. The New START Treaty provides the United States the flexibility to determine for ourselves the structure of our strategic forces within the aggregate limits of the Treaty.

The Central Limits of the New START Treaty are:

Deployed Warheads:

All warheads emplaced on deployed ICBMs and SLBMs are counted under this limit

Deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments are each counted with one warhead


Deployed and Non-Deployed Launchers and Heavy Bombers:

Deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers

Deployed and non-deployed SLBM launchers

Deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments


Deployed Ballistic Missiles and Heavy Bombers:

Deployed ICBMs

Deployed SLBMs

Deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments

Timetable for Limitations: Limits begin to apply seven years from the date the Treaty enters into force
Duration of Agreement: Ten years with an option to extend, if both sides agree, by no more than five years

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