US president Donald Trump. (Getty Images)
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Image
  • US President Donald Trump boasted to Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward that he built a secret new nuclear weapon, Woodward revealed in his new book "Rage," a copy of which was obtained by media outlets.
  • "I have built a nuclear — a weapons system that nobody's ever had in this country before," Trump reportedly said during a conversation about past tensions with North Korea that nearly brought the two countries to war.
  • Trump likes to boast about US military might and has talked several times this year about what he calls the development of a new "super duper missile," which is reportedly the hypersonic glide vehicle being developed for future hypersonic weaponry.
  • It's difficult to know for sure to what Trump may have been referring. One theory is that the weapon in question is the low-yield D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile armed with the W76-2 warhead.
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US President Donald Trump bragged to a Bob Woodward about a secret nuclear weapon, the veteran Washington Post reporter revealed in his new book "Rage," an advanced copy of which was obtained by a couple of media outlets.

Tensions between the US and North Korea brought the two countries to the brink of war in 2017 and had former US Secretary of Defense James Mattis sleeping in his clothes and praying at a local cathedral on the regular, according to the book.

During later discussions of those heightened tensions, Trump told Woodward: "I have built a nuclear — a weapons system that nobody's ever had in this country before."

"We have stuff that you haven't even seen or heard about," he continued. "We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before. There's nobody — what we have is incredible."

Anonymous sources, who were "surprised" by the American president's disclosure, confirmed the existence of what The Washington Post called "a secret new weapons system." Sources confirmed the weapon existed but did not reveal any additional details.

Reports on Woodward's book did not clarify when the reporter's conversation with the president took place, but one theory is that the weapon in question is the low-yield D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile armed with the W76-2 warhead.

The Trump administration started looking at the development of low-yield nuclear weapons in 2017, and the new warhead was first announced in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.

The Federation of American Scientists first reported the weapon's deployment aboard the ballistic missile submarine USS Tennessee in January 2020, and then the Pentagon confirmed its deployment in early February.

It's difficult to know for sure to what Trump may have been referring.

The US president regularly boasts about American military might. On more than one occasion this year, he bragged about what he called the "super duper missile."

"We're building incredible military equipment at a level that nobody has ever seen before. We have no choice with the adversaries we have out there," he said in May.

"We have — I call it, the 'super duper missile,'" Trump said, explaining that he "heard the other night, 17 times faster than what they have right now. You've heard Russia has five times and China's working on five or six times. We have one 17 times, and it's just gotten the go-ahead."

In June, Trump claimed that the weapon could strike a target 1,600 kilometres away, hitting within 35 centimetres of center point.

It turned out he had inaccurately presented some of the information surrounding the new weapon, which was not as mysterious as thought.

Toward the end of March, the US military successfully carried out a flight test of a glide body for future hypersonic weaponry.

"What he was referring to, really, was the recent flight test that we've performed in March where we flew 17 times the speed of sound," a senior defense official told CNN in July.