New Start Treaty

Context: Russia and USA are open to talks on a new arms control deal to replace the New START treaty after it expires in 2026. Both extended the New START treaty when it was due to expire in February 2021. 

About the New START treaty 

  • New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation with the formal name of Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. It was signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague and, after ratification entered into force on 5 February 2011. It is expected to last at least until 2021.
  • New START replaced the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), which was due to expire in December 2012. Its name is a follow-up to the START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, the proposed START II treaty, which never entered into force, and the START III treaty, for which negotiations were never concluded.

Key provisions 

  • Missile, bomber and launcher limits
    • Deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers assigned to nuclear missions are limited to 700.  
    • SORT did not cover launchers 
    • It does not limit the number of non-deployed ICBMs and SLBMs, but it does monitor them and provides continuous information on their locations and on-site inspections to confirm that they are not added to the deployed force.  
  • Force structure
    • It limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers. 
    • It envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance. 
  • Warheads
    • Limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads 
  •  Delivery vehicles and launchers:  
    • Each deployed ICBM, SLBM, and nuclear-capable bomber is counted as one delivery vehicle against the 700 limits.  
    • Each deployed and non-deployed missile launcher or bomber is counted as one launcher against the 800 limits.  
    • Non-deployed missiles are monitored but not limited in number. 


  • If the New START treaty expires without being replaced with a solid deal, it will negatively impact global security and stability, primarily in the area of arms control. 

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