9. Thirty-two accidents which qualify as a “Broken Arrow”.
A Broken Arrow is an accident involving a nuclear weapon, including an incident involving a delivery vehicle such as an airplane, missile, ship, submarine, or other method of launching the weapon. There have been 32 known incidents which qualify as a Broken Arrow, and possibly others which occurred during classified military operations which have yet to be released to the public (the number includes accidents which occurred to Soviet and Russian operations). There have been at least six American nuclear warheads or bombs which have been lost, and not known to have been recovered. Some of them remain irrecoverable, such as any nuclear torpedoes or submarine launched missiles on USS Scorpion when it was lost. The US Navy did not and does not confirm the presence or absence of nuclear weapons aboard its ships during deployment, and does not comment on submarines operations at all.
The US Navy has funded operations to monitor the wreckage of its two lost nuclear submarines, Thresher and Scorpion, in part to ensure no radioactive leakage from their reactors, leading to speculation that the Navy wanted to determine with certainty that the nuclear weapons carried remain with the wreckage. Several Soviet submarines were lost at sea during the Cold War which carried nuclear weapons. One of them, a Golf class submarine lost about 750 miles from Oahu, was partially raised by a secret CIA operation using the purpose built vessel Glomar Explorer. The Soviets had previously confirmed that the submarine carried three nuclear missiles and several nuclear torpedoes, and while the United States recovered the remains of Soviet sailors, which they buried with military honors in a recorded ceremony, later giving the recording to the Soviets, the Navy and CIA never confirmed whether any of the nuclear warheads were recovered.