Lessons from Dr. Strangelove: The Risks of Deploying Low-Yield Nukes on Submarines | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Lessons from Dr. Strangelove: The Risks of Deploying Low-Yield Nukes on Submarines

In the early part of 2020, the USS Tennessee ballistic missile submarine quietly set out to sea in the Atlantic Ocean on a historic deterrent patrol. In the past, this submarine could launch ballistic missiles armed with the W76-1 warhead (a 90 kiloton yield) or the W88 warhead (a 455 kiloton yield). Now the Ohio-class submarines carry at least one W76-2 warhead with a yield of about five to eight kilotons.

The low-yield nuclear warhead allegedly provides the U.S. with a needed capability for deterring the potential use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia, a prospect considered more likely under its current nuclear doctrine. Proponents claim these new weapons are prompt, useable, and capable of circumventing Russia’s air defenses.

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