According to an official State Department report, Russia has 1,643 nuclear missiles ready to launch – one more than the US.
The US report is based on official figures exchanged between the two countries as part of the New START disarmament treaty, and includes missiles deployed before September 1. The numbers show a significant increase from March, when data showed that Washington had a capacity of 1,585 payloads, and Moscow 1,512.
The current figures are in violation of the New START treaty, signed in 2010 by Barack Obama and then-President Dmitry Medvedev, during the short-lived reset in relations between the two states, which prescribe a limit of 1,550 deployed warheads.
Overall, the authoritative Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation believes Moscow has more than 8,000 warheads, and Washington over 7,000, although not all of them can be allocated to efficient delivery systems.
Russia recently announced a planned overhaul of its entire nuclear arsenal by 2020, as part of a wider rearmament program that has been budgeted at $700 billion.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently boasted that the supersonic missiles, which can rapidly change their trajectory, cannot be shot down by any missile defense system in the world, however sophisticated.
Russia has also invested in mobile Yars systems, and there are plans to revive the nuclear missile trains common in Soviet times.
Russia’s deployed nuclear capacity overtakes US for first time since 2000