Russia's tactical nuclear weapons. Part II: Technical issues and policy recommendations


  • Arbman Gunnar
  • Thornton Charles

Publish date: 2005-01-01

Report number: FOI-R--1588--SE

Pages: 78

Written in: English


This is the second part in a series of two reports on Russia´s tactical nuclear weapons (TNW). Part II starts with a description of likely missions of Soviet TNWs during the Cold War era, followed by recent evidence on how Russia contemplates the use of its present nuclear weapons including command and control. The safety of Russia´s TNWs is discussed together with the issue of possible pre-delegation of release authority of TNWs in a time of crisis. Aspects on TNW warhead manufacturing and refurbishment are given and safety problems related to nuclear warhead storage sites and transportation are discussed. The report concludes that while there is a severe lack of transparency on TNW issues in Russia, its TNW warheads are probably more secure than analysts in the West commonly assert. It ends with a proposal that Russia would nevertheless do well to consolidate its tactical warheads into a smaller set of storage facilities in order to mitigate security as well as command and control concerns.