START Comes Into Force

February 2011

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the US and Russia has now come into force.  It limits each side to:

  • no more than 800 deployed nuclear warhead delivery systems (including bombers, missile launchers and nuclear submarines), a cut of about 50%;
  • 1,550 deployed warheads.

Just as importantly, it will allow each side to inspect the other’s nuclear arsenal, allowing each to verify how many warheads a missile carries.  The US will have to give Russia Information about the Trident missiles it supplies to the UK.

The treaty concerns only long-range weapons, but President Obama has said he hopes to hold talks with Russia on reducing shorter range weapons in the next year.  Russia has responded that such a meeting would be premature