Nuclear Notebook: How many nuclear weapons does India have?
India continues to modernize its nuclear arsenal with development of several new nuclear weapon systems. We estimate India currently operates seven nuclear-capable systems: two aircraft, four land-based ballistic missiles, and one sea-based ballistic missile. At least four more systems are in development. The development program is in a dynamic phase, with long-range land- and sea-based missiles emerging for possible deployment within the next decade.
India is estimated to have produced approximately 600 kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium (International Panel on Fissile Materials 2015), sufficient for 150–200 nuclear warheads; however, not all the material has been converted into nuclear warheads. Based on available information about its nuclear-capable delivery force structure and strategy, we estimate that India has produced 120–130 nuclear warheads (Table 1). It will need more warheads to arm the new missiles it is currently developing. In addition to the Dhruva plutonium production reactor near Mumbai, India reportedly is building two new plutonium production reactors (International Panel on Fissile Materials 2015). The unsafeguarded Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor under construction at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research near Kalpakkam could potentially increase India’s plutonium production capacity significantly in the future, although the reactor is continuing to experience delays…
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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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Issue: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Volume 73 Issue 4
Keywords: China, India, Nuclear Notebook, Pakistan, ballistic missile submarines, ballistic missiles, delivery systems, fighter-bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons, plutonium
Topics: Nuclear Notebook, Nuclear Weapons