The United States Navy deployed a low-yield submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) warhead which the Pentagon considers as a critical weapon to counter the threat posed by Russia’s smaller nuclear weapons. Under Secretary of Defence for Policy, John Rood said that the defence department identified the requirement to “modify a small number of submarine-launched ballistic missile warheads” to counter potential adversaries.
“Potential adversaries, like Russia, believe that employment of low-yield nuclear weapons will give them an advantage over the United States and its allies and partners,” said Rood in a statement.
“This supplemental capability strengthens deterrence and provides the United States a prompt, more survivable low-yield strategic weapon,” he added.
The Under Secretary also said that the weapon will not only support America’s commitment to extended deterrence but will also demonstrate ‘potential adversaries’ that there is no advantage to limited nuclear employment because the United States can credibly and decisively respond to any threat scenario.
The new warheads were first produced in February 2019 which was first invoked in the Nuclear Posture Review 2018 of the Trump government. During the review, experts had warned that the opponents could use smaller nuclear weapons against the US and its allies since the retaliation would be disproportionately more destructive.
The United States has also been trying to strengthen its position with the growing dominance of China in the Indian Ocean and South China sea. Recently, the US decided to provide Vietnam with another coast guard cutter to boost patrol in the disputed region. While announcing the decision, the US Defense Secretary had deplored China’s unilateral effort to assert illegitimate maritime claims in the region which threatens other nations to access natural resources.
In December last year, Former US President John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline officially christened a new aircraft carrier, named after his father, at Newport News Shipbuilding. In 1967, she had launched a carrier named John F. Kennedy (CV 67) that served through the Vietnam war and into post 9/11 era.
(with inputs from agencies)