The U.S. government recently released the outline of the 2022 “Nuclear Posture Review” report. Although the Biden administration did not include the “non-first use of nuclear weapons” promoted during the campaign period into its official policy, it also deleted the new ship-launched cruise missiles promoted during the Trump administration. plan.
Prior to 2013, the U.S. Navy had a nuclear-capable ship-launched, submarine-launched version of the Tomahawk cruise missile (UGM-109) that could be launched from a vertical launch system (VLS) on an Aegis or submarine, or from a submarine torpedo tube It is 6.25 meters long, 52 centimeters in diameter, and has a maximum range of 1,600 to 2,500 kilometers. It can carry a W80 nuclear warhead with an equivalent of about 100,000 tons.
During the Obama administration, the relationship between the United States and China and Russia was relatively relaxed, so the importance of tactical nuclear weapons gradually decreased, and the submarine-launched version of the UGM-109 was retired in 2013.
During the Trump administration, in response to the challenges of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in the Western Pacific, the 2018 Nuclear Posture Reveiw (NPR) announced that it would develop a new generation of ship/submarine-launched nuclear cruise missiles (Sea-Lunched Cruise Missile, SLCM). -N), to replace the retired Tomahawk cruise missile.
During the campaign period, President Biden proposed the policy of “no first use of nuclear weapons”, but this policy was criticized by the US military and many experts, who believed that such a commitment would greatly reduce the US strategic deterrence. Therefore, in the outline of this year’s evaluation report, Amendment to “Only in extreme circumstances, when the United States needs to protect its own or allied security and vital interests, consider the use of nuclear weapons.” Maintaining the flexibility of the U.S. military’s nuclear deterrence strategy.
However, the development of the new cruise missile launched by the Trump era was banned by Congress in 2021. The US military’s budget for 2023 recently did not plan any funding for this weapon, which is equivalent to announcing that the development plan has been cut in half. .
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) believes that because the political impact of nuclear cruise missiles is greater than the strategic effect, originally only nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and ballistic missile submarines were prone to protests from local residents when they entered foreign ports for supplies or visits. Existence will make all U.S. Aegis warships and attack submarines face the same political problems, but will reduce the flexibility of U.S. military operations and deployment.
The full version of the 2022 Nuclear Posture Review is expected to be released after the U.S. Congress has reviewed it.