Fact Sheet

Nuclear Disarmament Germany

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Nuclear Disarmament Germany

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Arsenal and Missile Types

NATO Non-Nuclear Weapon State
Sharing US Nuclear Weapons

Estimate Arsenal Size

  • 10-20 U.S. non-strategic gravity B-61 warheads at the Büchel Air Base
  • Reliable documents indicate that an estimated 130 U.S. nuclear weapons at the Ramstein Air Base were removed between 2001 and 2005.

Weapons System

  • Non-strategic warheads: B-61-3, B-61-4
  • Delivery Aircraft: German PA-200 Tornados; purchasing 35 F-35 aircraft from the U.S.

Capabilities and Developments


  • The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is currently modernizing the non-strategic warheads deployed in Europe. NNSA is refurbishing and replacing components of the aging B-61-3 and B-61-4 warheads, converting them into the updated B61-12 model. Under NNSA’s B61-12 Life Extension Plan, the updated warheads will enter full production in 2020 and be deployed by 2024.
  • The US started transporting B61-12 warheads to Europe in December 2022.

Destructive Power

  • B-61-3: maximum yield of 170 kilotons
  • B-61-4: 45 kilotons

Commitments and Policies

Nuclear Weapons Policies

  • In the 2018 Brussels Summit, NATO reaffirmed that the fundamental purpose of NATO’s nuclear forces is deterrence, and that as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance.
  • Germany is a member of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), a group of non-nuclear weapon states dedicated to disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful nuclear activities as outlined in the NPT and the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
  • Germany, as a NATO country that hosts U.S. nuclear weapons, does not support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). It believes U.S. nuclear weapons are vital to Germany’s security.
  • Germany reaffirmed its support for nuclear deterrence after the Ukraine War.

Treaty Commitments

  • State party to the NPT and PTBT. Signed and ratified the CTBT.

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Non-nuclear weapon state (NNWS)
Non-nuclear weapon state (NNWS): Under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), NNWS are states that had not detonated a nuclear device prior to 1 January 1967, and who agree in joining the NPT to refrain from pursuing nuclear weapons (that is, all state parties to the NPT other than the United States, the Soviet Union/Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China).
Non-strategic nuclear weapons
Non-strategic nuclear weapons: See entry for Tactical nuclear weapons
The positioning of military forces – conventional and/or nuclear – in conjunction with military planning.
Kiloton: A term used to quantify the energy of a nuclear explosion that is equivalent to the explosion of 1,000 tons of trinitrotoluene (TNT) conventional explosive.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a military alliance that was formed in 1949 to help deter the Soviet Union from attacking Europe. The Alliance is based on the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed in Washington on 4 April 1949. The treaty originally created an alliance of 10 European and two North American independent states, but today NATO has 28 members who have committed to maintaining and developing their defense capabilities, to consulting on issues of mutual security concern, and to the principle of collective self-defense. NATO is also engaged in out-of-area security operations, most notably in Afghanistan, where Alliance forces operate alongside other non-NATO countries as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). For additional information, see NATO.
Nonproliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI)
Nonproliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI): Founded by Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates in September 2010, the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) is a ministerial-level group of states within the framework of the Nonproliferation Treaty focused on practical steps that will forward the consensus outcomes of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
Nonproliferation: Measures to prevent the spread of biological, chemical, and/or nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. See entry for Proliferation.
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
The NPT: Signed in 1968, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the most widely adhered-to international security agreement. The “three pillars” of the NPT are nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Article VI of the NPT commits states possessing nuclear weapons to negotiate in good faith toward halting the arms race and the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The Treaty stipulates that non-nuclear-weapon states will not seek to acquire nuclear weapons, and will accept International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on their nuclear activities, while nuclear weapon states commit not to transfer nuclear weapons to other states. All states have a right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and should assist one another in its development. The NPT provides for conferences of member states to review treaty implementation at five-year intervals. Initially of a 25-year duration, the NPT was extended indefinitely in 1995. For additional information, see the NPT.
Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT)
The PTBT: Also known as the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT), the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water prohibits nuclear weapons tests "or any other nuclear explosion" in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water. While the treaty does not ban tests underground, it does prohibit nuclear explosions in this environment if they cause "radioactive debris to be present outside the territorial limits of the State under whose jurisdiction or control" the explosions were conducted. The treaty is of unlimited duration. For additional information, see the PTBT.
Ratification: The implementation of the formal process established by a country to legally bind its government to a treaty, such as approval by a parliament. In the United States, treaty ratification requires approval by the president after he or she has received the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate. Following ratification, a country submits the requisite legal instrument to the treaty’s depository governments Procedures to ratify a treaty follow its signature.

See entries for Entry into force and Signature.
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)
The CTBT: Opened for signature in 1996 at the UN General Assembly, the CTBT prohibits all nuclear testing if it enters into force. The treaty establishes the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) to ensure the implementation of its provisions and verify compliance through a global monitoring system upon entry into force. Pending the treaty’s entry into force, the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO is charged with establishing the International Monitoring System (IMS) and promoting treaty ratifications. CTBT entry into force is contingent on ratification by 44 Annex II states. For additional information, see the CTBT.


  1. Hans M. Kristensen, “Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons, Special Report No 3,” Federation of American Scientists, May 2012, www.fas.org.
  2. Hans M. Kristensen, “Status of U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe 2010,” Federation of American Scientists, 12 February 2010, www.fas.org.
  3. “Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons,” Report by Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy Amy F. Woolf, Congressional Research Service, 23 February 2015, www.fas.org.
  4. Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen, “Worldwide Deployments of Nuclear Weapons 2009,” Nuclear Notebook, Natural Resources Defense Council, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 2009, pp 86-98, https://thebulletin.metapress.com.
  5. United States Government Accountability Office, NNSA Has a New Approach to Managing the B-61-12 Life Extension, but a Constrained Schedule and Other Risks Remain, GAO-16-218, February 2016, pp. 10-25, www.gao.gov.
  6. Hans M. Kristensen, “U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe,” Natural Resources Defense Council, February 2005, p. 9, www.nrdc.org.
  7. “NATO Summit Guide, Brussels 2018,” NATO, 11 July 2018, www.nato.int.
  8. “NPDI Statement for 2015 NPT Review Conference,” Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 27 April 2015, www.un.org.
  9. “Positions on the treaty,” International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, 7 July 2017, www.icanw.org.
  10. Inventory of International Nonproliferation Organizations & Regimes, www.nonproliferation.org; Reaching Critical Will, accessed 29 June 2015, www.reachingcriticalwill.org.
  11. “B61-12: New US Nuclear Warheads Coming to Europe in December,” International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, December 22, 2022, www.icanw.org.
  12. Federal Foreign Office, “Security for the Freedom of Our Lives,” Newsroom, Federal Foreign Office, March 18, 2022, www.auswaertiges-amt.de.
  13. Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, “Fact Sheet: United States Non-strategic Nuclear Weapons,” November 2023, https://armscontrolcenter.org.
  14. Moritz Kutt, “Germany’s nuclear weapons policy and the war: Money for nukes, words for disarmament,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 27 October 2022, https://thebulletin.org.


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