SALT II was a series of talks between United States and Soviet negotiators which sought to end the manufacturing of strategic nuclear weapons. It was a continuation of the SALT I talks and was led by representatives from both countries. SALT II was the first nuclear arms treaty which assumed real reductions in strategic forces to 2,250 of all categories of delivery vehicles on both sides.
SALT II helped the United States to discourage the Soviets from arming their third generation ICBMs of SS-17, SS-19 and SS-18 types. In the late 1970s the USSR's missile design bureaus had developed experimental versions of these missiles equipped with anywhere from 10 to 38 warheads each. Additionally, the Soviets secretly agreed to reduce Tu-22M production to thirty aircraft per year and not to give them an intercontinental range. It was particularly important for the United States to limit Soviet efforts in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) rearmament area.
The SALT II Treaty banned new missile programs so both sides were forced to limit their new strategic missile types development. However, the United States preserved their most essential programs like Trident and cruise missiles, which President Carter wished to use as his main defensive weapon as they were too slow to have first strike capability. In return, the USSR could exclusively retain 308 of its so-called "heavy ICBM" launchers of the SS-18 type.