Chinese nuclear forces, 2013

By Hans M. Kristensen, Robert S. Norris | November 1, 2013

Nuclear Notebook: How many nuclear bombs does China have?

China has a nuclear weapons modernization program under way that involves upgrading its nuclear-capable land-, sea-, and air-based delivery vehicles. The size of the nuclear arsenal is increasing, though at a slow rate.

We estimate that China has approximately 250 warheads in its stockpile for delivery by nearly 150 land-based ballistic missiles, aircraft,1 and an emerging ballistic submarine fleet (see Table 1). Each missile in the Chinese arsenal is equipped to carry a single warhead, but warheads are not mated with missiles under normal circumstances, instead being kept separate in central storage facilities…

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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.

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine shows, nuclear threats are real, present, and dangerous

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