(TELESUR) – The United States announced on Tuesday the deployment, for the first time, of a low-powered nuclear weapon on board a submarine, with the intention of dissuading Russia from using similar weapons.
In this context, marked by the alarm of a large-scale conflict between the U.S. and Iran, the U.S. Navy deployed the W76-2 nuclear warhead on a submarine-launched ballistic missile.
The W76-2 has an estimated explosive yield of five kilotons, compared to the yield of 455 kilotons and 90 kilotons of nuclear warheads already deployed on U.S. submarines.
“Potential adversaries like Russia believe that the use of low-powered nuclear weapons will give them an advantage over the United States and its allies and partners,”, said a statement from Pentagon number two, John Rood, confirming information released by a group of experts from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).
For the experts at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the W76-2 warhead, which has an estimated power of five kilotons – three times less than the 15 kilotonnes of the Hiroshima bomb-, is “a dangerous weapon based on poor strategic thinking”.
Critics fear that after decades of nuclear disarmament to deter their deployment, the likelihood of their use may now increase.
If a U.S. submarine is forced to launch a missile with a reduced nuclear charge, the enemy will have no way of knowing the power of the weapon headed toward it, which will pose a problem: the enemy could foresee the worst and respond with a high-powered nuclear weapon, they explain.