Tuesday, February 8, 2011

US to inform Russia on British Trident missiles

To ensure signing of new agreement on strategic nuclear weapons, the U.S. promised to inform Russia on Trident missiles delivered to the UK, reported The Telegraph referring to WikiLeaks. 

According to The Telegraph, during negotiations on the new agreement Russia stipulated exact information about Britain's nuclear arsenal, in particular amount of Trident missiles which are made and maintained by the U.S. The British refused, and Washington promised to inform Moscow about serial numbers of missiles delivered to the UK. 

Britain tries to keep volumes of its nuclear arsenal in secret, reminds The Telegraph. In 2010 British Foreign Secretary William Hague declared that the country had "up to 160" nuclear warheads in inventory, although did not disclose number of missiles. 

Submarine-launched ballistic missiles Trident II make a hundred per cent of Britain's strategic nuclear forces. One Vanguard class submarine is capable to carry 16 Trident missiles armed with 128 warheads (yield of 475 kiloton each) or up to 224 warheads (yield of 100 kiloton each). British government previously stated that it was not about to scale up number of warheads more than 225. 

Treaty on strategic nuclear weapons was signed by Russian and American presidents in Apr 2010 in Prague. The document provides that the parties would reduce amount of nuclear warheads down to 1500-1675, and their delivery vehicles – down to 500-1100. The agreement was ratified late in 2010 by the two parliaments, and then approved by presidents of the both countries. Russia and the U.S. exchanged ratifications on Feb 5, and then the document was put in force for the 10-year period.
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