The US has been planning to use nuclear weapons for decades, but the Obama administration has not been fully transparent about what the US plans to do with its arsenal.
Now, as the country prepares for its first test of the new weapon, we are learning about its design and how it will work.
What we know so far: The US nuclear weapons programme The US is the only country in the world that has an atomic bomb.
It has deployed it over more than 60 times.
It possesses two deployed nuclear bombs, two submarine-launched ballistic missiles, a cluster bomb and a cluster of land-based bombs, which can each carry up to two nuclear warheads.
The US government has not released its plan for what the country’s next step will be, but experts say the nuclear force could be a deterrent against China.
In order to test the new weapons, the US is using a nuclear test site on a mountain in Colorado.
A number of tests have taken place at the site since 2006, and the first test took place in January this year.
The facility is located in Sandia National Laboratories, a military research centre in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
US officials say it is capable of generating up to 2,400 kilotons of TNT.
The nuclear weapons are manufactured by a company called Advanced Advanced Energy Technology and are made of high-strength aluminum and steel.
It is also capable of producing large amounts of plutonium, a nuclear waste that is often used to build nuclear weapons.
The weapons are also designed to be self-destructive.
US military officials said in 2016 that the facility was capable of “several hundred megatons of energy”, but a separate analysis by the Nuclear Threat Initiative said that it could only generate 1,000 kiloton of energy.
A small amount of plutonium is injected into the weapon to produce a fission reaction.
After the reaction, the plutonium is separated and recycled into safer waste, which is then used to make plutonium fuel rods for the next bomb.
The military believes that by 2021, the new US weapons will have produced enough plutonium to make 100 nuclear weapons, but that estimate is based on assumptions.
The weapon is also designed for an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, which the US has not launched yet.
In 2016, a US-Russian treaty was signed in Kazakhstan to allow for the production of an inter-continental ballistic weapon.
But this treaty does not include a guarantee of the weapons being deployed within the next two decades, or even beyond.
There is no agreement yet between the US and Russia about how long the US military will remain the only nation with the weapons.
A nuclear weapon is a highly destructive weapon that can reach an altitude of more than six kilometres, but only a few warheads can be deployed in a single launch.
The Pentagon’s latest strategic assessment said that “nuclear-capable ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles] could be deployed at any time during the 2040s or 2050s to provide strategic deterrence, deter nuclear proliferation, and provide an enduring deterrent”.
It added that the US would have the capability to deploy the weapons within “30 to 60 years” and would use them “within the United States”.
A nuclear warhead can weigh about 10,000 kilograms.
The number of warheads is currently limited to four.
The most powerful weapons are the two submarine versions of the nuclear weapon, the submarine-based ballistic missile (SSBM), which can carry up 20 warheads and has a range of more and more than 300 kilometres.
The intercontinental missile (ICBM), meanwhile, can carry four nuclear warheads and a range that is closer to 250 kilometres.
A missile can be launched from a submarine, but it needs to be able to carry an additional nuclear warkit in order to be launched.
There are currently no plans to use an ICBM as a nuclear weapon.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has previously said that the country plans to “be able to get it within five to 10 years”, but the US nuclear arsenal has never been officially named.
In August 2017, President Donald Trump called the nuclear arms race a “disaster” and said that US leaders should not use it as a reason to pursue a nuclear arms control deal with the Soviet Union.
The president also suggested that the United Nations should consider a nuclear weapons ban.
The Obama administration, however, has not made the nuclear weapons issue a major issue in its policy towards China, and has not threatened retaliation against Beijing over its growing nuclear ambitions.
The United States and Russia have signed a number of treaties that prohibit the development and use of nuclear weapons and other advanced weapons technologies.
A new agreement on the future of the US-Russia Strategic and Economic Dialogue, a two-way dialogue between Washington and Moscow, was signed at the White House in April 2017.
This treaty, known as the START treaty, is aimed at reducing the nuclear threat posed by China.
The treaty stipulates that the two countries will begin to establish the Joint Strategic Plan on Strategic and