Pakistani Nuclear Forces, 2009

By Robert S. Norris, Hans M. Kristensen | September 1, 2009


Nuclear Notebook: How many nuclear bombs does Pakistan have?

Pakistan has an estimated arsenal of about 70-90 nuclear weapons and is busily enhancing its capabilities across the board. A new nuclear-capable ballistic missile is being readied for deployment, and two nuclear-capable cruise missiles are under development.Two new plutonium production reactors and a second chemical separation facility also are under construction.

It is exceedingly difficult to estimate precisely how many nuclear weapons Pakistan has produced, how many are deployed, and of what types. It is equally troublesome to guess what its future plans might be. In 1999, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency estimated that Pakistan had between 25 and 35 nuclear warheads and projected that it would have between 60 and 80 by 2020.1 Yet Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, formerly the CIA’s top official on weapons of mass destruction and the Energy Department’s director of intelligence and counterintelligence during the Bush administration, recently noted a more accelerated pace: “It took them roughly 10 years to double the number of nuclear weapons from roughly 50 to 100”…

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The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists and Robert S. Norris, a senior fellow with the FAS. The Nuclear Notebook column has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook column has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987.

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