|As for its potency, a single D5 equipped with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles carrying nuclear warheads can destroy a small country such as North Korea. A handful of D5s could collapse the entire electrical grid, transportation network and information infrastructure of even the largest countries. And the Navy has hundreds of D5 missiles.|
When the goal is deterring aggression, the key metric of success isn't how many weapons a country possesses. It's how many weapons survive a surprise attack, because those are the weapons the enemy has to worry about. Possessing a secure retaliatory force is the sine qua non of effective deterrence.
|The U.S. maintains a "triad" of nuclear systems -- D5s on submarines, land-based ballistic missiles, and long-range bombers. A single Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine has two dozen missile tubes, and each of the D5s in those tubes carries at least several nuclear warheads that can be directed at separate targets. The missiles can carry up to 14 warheads. Each warhead has a yield of 100 or 475 kilotons, and can hit within 300 feet of intended targets. At those yields -- 5 to 25 times the explosive power of the weapon that leveled Hiroshima in 1945 -- the warheads carried by a D5 can destroy pretty much anything, including a hardened command bunker.|