JavaScript Menu, DHTML Menu Powered By Milonic

25th Anniversary

Nuclear Proliferation

Middle East: Israel, Iran

South Asia: India, Pakistan

NE Asia: DPRK, ROC, Japan

Nuclear Forces

Nuclear Treaties

Non-Proliferation Treaty NPT

Fissile Material Limits

Comprehensive Test Ban CTBT


Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty SORT

Global Nuclear Disarmament


Preventing Weapons in Space

Space Weapon Systems


Missile Proliferation

Missile Tech Control Regime MTCR

Missile Defense Programs

Missile Defense Systems

Other WMD

Chemical Weapon Ban

Biological Weapon Ban

Radiological Weapons

Conventional Armaments

Arms Production & Trade

Arms Holdings & Forces

Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe CFE

Ban on Landmines

Small Arms & Light Weapons

Security Institutions

UN Disarmament Bodies

OSCE, Forum on Security

NATO, European Union EU


Peace-Building Tools

Cultures of Peace

Confidence-Building Defense

Global Action to Prevent War

International Negotiations

Nonviolent Action, Defense, Intervention, Conflict Resolution

Transparency, Confidence-Building Measures CBMs



Public Education




About IDDS



USA, Russia, UK, France, and China



The operational US nuclear arsenal has 6480 active strategic nuclear warheads. The US nuclear arsenal also contains an inactive stockpile of roughly 2700 strategic and non-strategic warheads; a strategic reserve of some 5000 plutonium pits plus 5000 thermonuclear secondaries; and 7000 pits from dismantled warheads.

The Nuclear Posture Review
The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) was a policy paper completed by the Bush administration at the end of 2001 set out planned reductions in US nuclear forces, to 14 Trident SSBNs, 500 Minuteman ICBMs, 76 B-52 bombers, and 21 B-2 bombers. This planned force will reduce its original warhead load to 3300 warheads by 2007 and 1700-2200 warheads by 2012Ñtotals that match the 2002 SORT limits.

The SORT Treaty
The US-Russian Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty (SORT), or the ÒMoscow TreatyÓ signed on 24 May 2002, commits the two parties to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear forces to 1700-2200 warheads by 31 December 2012. The treaty, however, does not call for the elimination of surplus warheads or any delivery system.

Current US nuclear forces
US strategic nuclear weapons are now deployed at seven bases. There are two bomber bases, two submarine ports, and three ICBM deployment areas. These numbers have dropped dramatically since the end of the Cold War, and are further constrained by START I, which entered into force 5 December 1994.

The USA fulfilled the final phase of cuts mandated by the START I by December 2001. The START II Treaty, on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, was superseded by SORT before it entered into force.

ICBMs and warheads
The fifty MX/Peacekeeper, and 500 warhead ICBM force began deactivation in October 2002, when the W87 warheads began to be removed. One missile will be withdrawn approximately every three weeks from the Warren Air Force Base, or before October 2005. At the end of 2003, 17 missiles were reduced, 29 remained on alert until individual retirement, and 100 warheads were removed. A single MX was test launched in 2003. The retired MX missiles are kept for possible use as space launch vehicles, target vehicles, or for redeployment. The W87 warheads are temporally stored until 2006, when some of them will be used to replace the W67 warhead (scheduled for retirement in 2009) on the Minuteman ICBM or possibly on the Trident D5s. Some of the Mark 21 RVs currently deployed on MX/PK may be redeployed on some Minuteman ICBMs. The MX silos are being retained.

Warren AFB hosts the 400th Missile Squadron, responsible for the operation of the MX/Peacekeeper missile. This squadron has the only MX/Peacekeeper missiles deployed in the United States. The five flights of ten missiles each are controlled by five LCCs. Each missile is armed with up to ten of the 300kt W87 nuclear MIRVs.

The Minuteman III force consists of 500 missiles deployed at three air force bases: 200 missiles at Malmstrom AFB in Montana; 150 at Minot AFB in North Dakota; and 150 at Warren AFB. (There are 107 missiles kept for spares, operational testing and evaluation, aging, and surveillance.) The Minuteman missiles at Malmstrom and Minot carry three warheads each; those at Warren have one W62 warhead each. All 500 missiles will be downloaded to single-warhead configuration by 2007.

The LGM-30G Minuteman III missile force continues to be modernized under a $6 bn, six-part plan to improve the weaponÕs accuracy and reliability and to extend its service life beyond 2020. In 2003, three Minuteman IIIs were flight-tested by the air force. The Minuteman missiles carry a total of 1200 warheads. To meet the START I warhead limits, some of the Minuteman missiles were downloaded to carry one reentry vehicle (RV), instead of three. US ICBMs are on a high alert state, but not targeted against any specific country. The missiles, however, can be assigned targets on short notice.

In 2002 the air force issued a new Mission Need Statement calling for the replacement of the Minuteman III to begin in 2020. Bids from contractors have been solicited by the air force for initial deployment of a new missile in 2018. The air force has a theoretical LGM-30H Minuteman IV program that could replace the Minuteman III.

The bulk of the force is comprised of Minuteman III ICBMs deployed from three USAF bases. Warren AFB near Cheyenne, Wyoming, hosts the 90th Space Wing. This wing has four operational squadrons, of which three command the Minuteman system. The fourth is the sole operator of the MX/Peacekeeper missile. Minuteman operations are performed by the 319th, 320th, and 321st Missile Squadrons. Each squadron has fifty missiles in five flights of ten missiles each. Each flight of ten missiles is controlled by a single Launch Control Facility (LCC) within the immediately vicinity of the surrounding missiles. Each LCC, although directly responsible for ten missiles, can control the other 40 missiles in the squadron. These 150 Minuteman III ICBMs carry three W62 (170kt) nuclear Mk12 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV), or three W78 (335kt) nuclear Mk 12A MIRVs.

Malmstrom AFB in Montana is the largest single operator of Minuteman ICBMs. The 341st Space Wing has four missile squadrons: the 10th, 12th, 490th, and 564th. Each operates fifty MMIII ICBMs in the same manner as does FE Warren. Malmstrom had previously operated Minuteman II missiles, but changes under START brought MMIIIs in to replace the older systems. January 1996 saw the first 50 MMIII emplaced in Montana.

Minot AFB in North Dakota is unique among strategic nuclear weapons sites in that it supports both ICBMs and heavy bombers. The 91st Space Wing controls three missile squadrons: the 740th, 741st and 742nd. Each operates fifty MMIII ICBMs in five flights of ten missiles.

The nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) fleet stands at 15 Ohio class submarines. Of the SSBNs, 5 boats each carry 24 Trident I (D4) missiles; and 10 each have 24 Trident II (D5) missiles. The Pentagon claims that submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) on day-to-day alert are not targeted against any specific country. The missiles, however, can be assigned targets on short notice.

The 120 declared deployed Trident I (D4) SLBMs have a range of 7360 km, and carry eight nuclear W76 100kt weapons in the Mk-4 MIRV. The 164 declared deployed Trident II (D5) SLBMs have a range over 7360 km, and carry either eight nuclear W76 100kt weapons in the Mk-4 MIRVs; or eight nuclear W88 475kt weapons in the Mk-5 MIRVs. The W76 will undergo a life-extension program that will change its modification designation to W76-1, with the first production units scheduled for delivery in 2007-2008. The navy will resume SLBM flight-testing in the Pacific in 2005, after a 12 year break from the Pacific Missile Range.

The United States will retain 14 SSBNs armed with the eight-warhead D5 SLBM in concert with START limits. There is also a plan to acquire new D5s over the coming decades to continue to equip the Trident boats, which have just had their service life extended to 44 years. There are still three Ohio-class SSBNs that need to have Trident I missiles replaced with Trident II missiles. The navy has bought a total of 408 D5s, while production has been extended through 2013 and the total number to be made increased from 390 to 540. To juxtapose the operability of the D5 with the extended service life of the Ohio-class SSBN through 2042, the existing missiles will be upgraded to a new D5LE variant. Of the 540 D5s, 336 will arm 14 SSBNs, including two sets for two SSBMs that could be in overhaul at any given time.

There are eight SSBNs home-ported at Naval Submarine Base, Bangor, Washington:, USS Michigan (SSBN 727), USS Florida (SSBN 728), USS Georgia (SSBN 729), USS Henry M Jackson (SSBN 730), USS Alabama (SSBN 731), USS Alaska (SSBN 732), USS Nevada (SSBN 733), and the drydocked USS Ohio (SSBN 726). Four Ohio-class submarines are scheduled for conversion over the next five years to conventional guided missile submarines (SSGN) with an additional capability to transport and support Navy special operations forces. Two former Ohio class Trident submarines, USS Ohio and USS Florida, were converted to carry Tomahawk or Tactical Tomahawk cruise missiles. The USS Ohio (SSBN 726) was moved to the Pacific in October 2002 for conversion, and will rejoin the fleet in 2007. In January 2003 the USS Florida became the first Ohio-class boat to successfully launch a cruise missile. The USS Michigan and USS Georgia will begin conversion in 2008.


The US long-range bomber force consists of 89 B-1s, 94 B-52H StratofortressÕ, and 21 B-2A Spirit. The USAF plans to reduce the number of B-52s from 94 to 76 and keep remaining aircraft in service perhaps until 2044. The twentyøfirst aircraft is being used for flight testing upgrades and will complete Block 30 modification in FY 2002. In 2003 the B-2Õs five-year Block 30 upgrade was completedÑa modernization effort that enabled the plane to carry both the B61 and B83 nuclear bombs and various conventional weapons. B-2 and B-52 bombers perform both nuclear and conventional missions. The 89 B-1 aircrafts have been converted to conventional roles and are not treaty-accountable weapons systems. The bombers are no longer maintained on high alert, although they can be returned to alert status within days.

It was revealed that a third strategic bomber, the B-1B, had been maintained as nuclear capable; the air force had described it as Òconventional onlyÓ in 2002. When the NPR ordered an end to the B-1BÕs nuclear capability, the deception came to an end. Of the original 100 B-1Bs, the air force limited them to 66 in October 2003. Studies for a new strategic bomber to replace the B-1B, B-2A, and B-52H began in 1998.

The 94 B-52H intercontinental bombers are based at two locationsÑMinot AFB in North Dakota, and Barksdale AFB in Louisiana. The 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB hosts the 23rd Bomb Squadron, the sole operator of B-52s at the base. The 23rd Bomb Squadron operates approximately 30 B-52H bombers. Barksdale AFB hosts the 2nd Bomb wing which has three bomber squadrons, the 11th, 20th and 96th. The 11th is the only B-52 training unit remaining, and the 20th and 96th are operational bomber squadrons. Barksdale hosts approximately 64 B-52Hs.

There are only two basic nuclear gravity bombs in the US strategic arsenal: the B61 and B83. The B-52 is equipped to carry both types in clips or on the common strategic rotary launcher. The bomber is also equipped to carry up to 20 air-launched cruise missiles (ALCM) or advanced cruise missiles (ACM). However, only about 400 of each weapon with the W80 nuclear warhead are actively deployed, while several thousand remain in reserve storage.

Significant parts of the force have been used up in continued conversion to conventional weapons. This process will continue with another 322 ALCMs slated for conversion. The USAF is now working to extend the service life of the ALCM and ACM to 2025. The W80-0 and W80-1 warheads will undergo life-extension programs substantial enough to change their modification designations. The W80-0 will become the W80-2, and are scheduled for delivery in 2006, and the W80-1 will become the W80-3, and the first production units will be available around 2008.

Whiteman AFB in Missouri is the sole operating base for the new stealth B-2 intercontinental bomber. The first B-2, ÒSpirit of Missouri,Ó arrived at Whiteman on 17 December 1993. The aircraft are operated by the 509th Bomb Wing and flown by two constituent squadrons. The 393rd Bomb Squadron operates most of the B-2 bombers for the Wing. The USAF declared the Wing had reached its Initial Operational Capability on 1 April 1997. The 325th Bomb Squadron, newly reconstituted, now operates a small handful of the B-2s. There are currently about 17 aircraft at Whiteman AFB. Due to different configurations of the aircraft arriving over the years, various B-2 bombers are fitted to carry different nuclear weapons. The initial batch of 16 aircraft can deliver the one megaton B83 nuclear bomb, while newer aircraft can also carry the B61 nuclear bomb. The B61, although older in original design, has been updated with the B61 Mod 11, a deep penetration weapon for bunker-busting.

US Nuclear Forces

1 April 2003

Type Model Laun-chers First Depl. Wh Config.: No. x yield (kt) Wh No: Act/Spares
LGM-30G Minuteman III          
  Mk-12 150 1970 1 W62 x 170 150
  Mk-12 50 1970 3 W62 x 170* 150/15
  Mk-12A 300 1979 3 W78 x 335* 900/20
LGM-118A Peacekeeper   40 1986 10 W87 x 300* 400/50
ICBM Total   540     1600/85
UGM-96A Trident I C4   96 1979 6W76x100* 576
UGM-133A Trident II D5   288      
  Mk-4   1992 8 W76 x 100* 1920/156
  Mk-5   1990 8 W88 x 475* 384/16
SLBM Total   384     2880/172
B-52 Stratofortress   94/56 1961 ALCM/W80-1 x 150 430/20
        ACM/W80-1 x 150 430/20
B-2 Spirit   21/16 1994 B61-7,-11, B83-1 800/45
Bomber Total   115/72     1660/85
Tomahawk SLCM   325 1984 1 W80 x 5-150 320
B61-3,-4,-10 bombs   n/a 1979 0.3-170 800/40
Non-Strategic Total   325     1120/40
GRAND TOTAL***         7650/382

* MIRVed warheads.
** The first number in the SLBM category is the number of launch tubes, and the second reflects the number of submarines.
*** The ÒinactiveÓ stockpile contains an estimated 2700 additional warheads.
Further InformationSecretary of Defense, Annual Report to the President and the Congress, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 2002.
NRDC Nuclear Notebook, ÒUS Nuclear Forces 2003,Ó Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (May/June 2003).
START I Aggregate Numbers of Strategic Offensive Arms (5 December 2001):
US Navy Fact File: Fleet Ballistic Missile SubmarinesøSSBN:
Excerpts from the Nuclear Posture Review:


Russia currently has about 3814 strategic nuclear warheads in its operational arsenalÑroughly one third of the 10,089 nuclear warheads it had in 1992. Since then Russia has fully implemented the START I reductions. The Duma ratified START II on 14 April 2000; but without US ratification START II never entered into force. Russia renounced the treaty in 2002 following the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, ending RussiaÕs START II commitment to eliminate all MIRVed ICBMs and heavy ICBMs and reduce the number of deployed SLBMs. The new US-Russian strategic offensive arms reduction treaty, the SORT Treaty, signed by Presidents Bush and Putin on 24 May 2002, places a ceiling between 1700 and 2200 on deployed strategic warheads on each side. The treaty does not commit either side to the elimination of the warheads taken off active deployment, however, nor to the elimination of any delivery vehicle.

The financial situation in Russia is expected to lead to a dramatic decline in RussiaÕs operational arsenal in future years even in the absence of START II or other treaty commitments. The US Senate ratified the Moscow Treaty on 6 March 2003 by a vote of 95ø0; the Russian Duma ratified it on 14 May 2003 by a vote of 294ø134.


The Russian Federation retains a massive series of ICBM launch complexes stretched across the country. The 19 ICBM facilities are controlled and operated by the Raketnyye Voyska Strategicheskogo Naznacheniya/RVSN, meaning rocket forces of strategic designation, or Strategic Rocket Forces. The Russian ICBM arsenal includes: RD-20/SS-18, RS-19/SS-19, RS-22/SS-24, RS 12M/SS-25, and RS-12M2/SS-27s. Commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces, Colonel General Nikolay Solostov announced on 10 December 2004 that by 2008 or 2009 all heavy old class missiles will be decommissioned. This suggests that the Russia plans to retire its fleet of liquid-fueled ICBMs in favor of solid-propellant rockets like the RS-12M2/SS-27.

After the elimination of Aleysk ICBM base, there are 120 RD-20/SS-18 launchers at three bases: Dombarovskiy/52, Uzhur/46, and Kartaly/22. Whether Russia will eliminate all of these missiles by 2007, as it had committed to do under START II, remains to be seen.
The 130 RS-19/SS-19s are deployed at the KozelÕsk and Tatishchevo bases. Under START II, the RS-19/SS-19 was to be downgraded to a single warhead missile from its current six-warhead MIRVed configuration. This is now uncertain. However, Russia did test fire two of these missiles in down-loaded configurations in 2001.

There are currently 15 rail-mobile RS-22/SS-24s with 10 550 kt MIRVed warheads. Ten silo-based SS-4s were retired in 2000 and the destruction of the silos was completed in 2001. The mobile versions of the RS-22/SS-24s are stationed on trains at three bases: Kostroma, Krasnoyarsk, and Tatishchevo. RussianøUS withdrawal from START II will affect their scheduled retirement.

There are 300 road-mobile RS-12M/SS-25s deployed at eight bases across Russia. The SS-25s, single warhead ICBMs with a yield of 550 kt, are deployed at Kansk, Nizhny Tagil, Novosibirsk, Teykovo, Yoshkar Ola, YurÕya, and Irkutsk. Russia test fired three SS-25s in 2001.
The newest ICBM in the Strategic Rocket Forces is the RS-12M2/SS-27 Topol-M. The Topol-M was deployed in 1998 and completed its tenth test-firing on 9 February 2000 by hitting its target 8000 km away. The Topol-M is a replacement for the SS-18 and other ICBMs that are being phased out. Currently, the Topol-M carries a single nuclear warhead. Russia has said that it may fit the Topol-M with MIRVs if the United States deploys an ABM system. In 1998, Russia had planned to deploy 20ø30 new Topol-Ms each year initially and to increase the rate to 30ø40 later. Russia is nowhere near achieving this target and is not considered likely to field more than 50ø60 of these missiles by 2005.


The Russian Strategic fleet consists of 12 operational SSBNs: six Delta III class and six Delta IV class SSBNs. The Delta I and Delta II classes, along with the RSM-40/SS-N-8 SLBMs deployed on them, have been retired. In 2004, the two remaining active Typhoon class submarines, which carried the RSM-52/SS-N-20, were also retired. The Russian Navy now deploys only RSM-50/SS-N-18 and RSM-54/SS-N-23 SLBMs.

There are 96 RSM-50/SS-N-18 SLBMs in the fleet, each carrying 3 500 kt MIRVed warheads, with a range of 6500 km. The SS-N-18s are all deployed on Delta III class SSBNs at three bases: YagelÕNaya, OlenÕya, and Ribachy.

The RSM-54/SS-N-23, with 4 100 kt MIRVed warheads, is deployed only on Delta II class SSBNs based at YagelÕNaya and OlenÕya. There are 96 SS-N-23 missiles with a range of 8300 km.


The Russian long-range bomber force consists of 64 Tu-95 Bear bombers and 14 Tu-160s Blackjacks. The Tu-95s carry ALCMs, while the Tu-160s carry ALCMs or SRAMs. Tu-95s were produced continually from 1956 until 1994. Most Russian ALCMs are deployed on Bears. Bear H16 bombers, each with six Kh-55 long-range cruise missiles, are all being modified to the Bear H6 configuration with eight Kh-101 ALCMs, which increase the stand-off range from 2,400 to 3,000 km. After the upgrade of two more Bear H16s, the Tu-95 fleet currently has equal numbers of H16s and H6s.

The Tu-160 Blackjack bomber first flew in 1981 and joined the Tu-95s in the strategic aviation force in 1984. The Tu-160 is a supersonic, swept wing bomber with a maximum speed of Mach 2.05 and a maximum range of 12,300 km. Tu-160 production stopped in 1992; and then, after a 12-year hiatus in production, a new Tu-160 was delivered to the Russian Air Force in late April or early May 2000. The Tu-160 fleet was reduced to 14 after one was destroyed during a training flight on 18 September 2003. The Tupolev Aviation Company is working on plans for a replacement for the Tu-95 and Tu-160, to enter service after 2010.

The Bears and Blackjacks are deployed from five air force bases. The active Tu-95 fleet operates out of three bases: Ukrainka AB (25 H6s, 15 H16s), Engels AB (5 H6s, 13 H16s), and Dyagilevo AB (2 H6s, 4 H16s). There are seven Tu-95s at Dolon AB that have been selected for disassembly. Zhukovskiy AB is the home to seven test-bed versions of the Bear; and Blackjacks no longer fly out of this base. The Dyaglievo AB retired five of its Bears. Ukrainka AB has 40 Bears. The active fleet of Tu-160s flies exclusively out of Engels AB (14). In December 2004, the Air Force announced that it would be receiving two additional Blackjacks within the next year.


The worldÕs only longstanding ABM system is deployed around Moscow with 100 nuclear warheads. There are 32 ABM-1 Galosh missiles at two deployment areas. Each area has 16 above-ground launch tubes and radars.

An improved ABM system with phased-array radars, became operational near Moscow in the mid-1980s. The new system includes both endo- and exo- atmospheric interceptor missiles. The SH-04 is a long-range exo-atmospheric missile with a megaton-class nuclear warhead. The SH-08 is a short-range endo-atmospheric missile with a medium-yield nuclear warhead.

Russiab Nuclear Forces 2004

Type NATO name Launchers/SSBNS First depl. Wh Config.: No. x yield, kt Wh Number:
RS-20 SS-18 Satan 100 1979 10x550/750 1000
RS-19 SS-19 Stiletto 130 1979 6x550 780
RS-22 SS-24M1 Scalpel 15 1987 10x550 150
RS-12M/ SS-25 Sickle 300 1985 1x550 300
RS-12M2 Topol-M SS-27 40 1998 1x550 40
ICBM Total   585     2270
RSM-50 SS-N-18 Stingray 96/13 1978 3x500 288
RSM-54 SS-N-23 Skiff 96/7 1986 4x100 384
SLBM Total   192/20     672
Tu-95 MS6 Bear H6 32 1984 6 AS-15A 192
        or bombs  
Tu-95 Bear H16 32 1984 16 As-15A or bombs 512
Tu-160 Blackjack 14 1987 ** 168
Bomber Total   78     872
GRAND TOTAL   855     ~3814

Further Information
Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces, Russian Strategic Forces Project:
START I Aggregate Numbers of Strategic Offensive Arms/5 December 2001:
Robert S Norris and Hans M Kristensen, ÒNRDC: Nuclear Notebook, Russian Nuclear Forces, 2004,Ó Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (July/August 2004):
Robert S Norris, William M Arkin, Hans M Kristensen, and Joshua Handler, ÒNRDC: Nuclear Notebook, Russian Nuclear Forces, 2002,ÓBulletin of Atomic Scientists (July/August 2002):
International Institute for Strategic Studies, Military Balance 2003-2004 (London: Oxford University Press, 2003).
SIPRI Yearbook 1995ø2003, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996ø2004.


The operational British arsenal consists of about 200 nuclear warheads. After the RAF ended its nuclear mission and withdrew its WE-177 bombs from service in 1998, the Royal NavyÕs Vanguard SSBN and Trident SLBM system is the UKÕs sole nuclear weapon system.


In early 1982, the UK negotiated purchase of Trident II D5 SLBMs from the United States. The Vanguard class SSBNs were designed to house and launch Trident D5 SLBMs and were based in part on the design of the US Ohio class SSBN. HMS Vanguard (S28), the first in the class, entered service in December 1994, with HMS Victorious (S29) entering service in December 1995. HMS Vigilant (S30) became operational on 5 December 1997. The final boat, HMS Vengeance (S31), was commissioned at the Barrow-in-Furness shipyard on 27 November 1999 and entered service on 12 February 2001.

All British strategic missile submarines are homeported at Clyde Naval Base. The 1st Submarine Squadron provides squadron and operational support to the four Vanguard SSBNs. RN Armament Depot, Coulport, is responsible for storage, maintenance and handling of the Trident SLBM and warheads at the facility on the shores of Loch Long, 10 km from the main Clyde Naval Base. However, the US Navy at the Strategic Weapons Facility in Kings Bay, Georgia, will service the missiles.

The warheads are of British design (although they may be based on the US W-76 warhead carried by Trident I C-4 and Trident II D-5 missiles). They are carried in RVs similar to the US Mk4. The warheads were designed by the Atomic Weapons Establishment (Aldermaston) and built at the two nuclear weapons facilities at Aldermaston and Burghfield. Further, Britain has two main plutonium and tritium production sites at Calder Hall and Chapelcross, each with 4 nuclear reactors.

Each Vanguard class sub can carry 192 warheads; but there are currently no more than 48 warheads deployed on any one Vanguard, because of the Aldermaston facilityÕs inability to produce the full complement of warheads. The submarines have 16 missile tubes capable of firing Trident D5 missiles along with 4 torpedo tubes capable of firing Spearfish torpedoes.

In January 1995, Vanguard SSBNs took on the added role of providing Òsub-strategicÓ coverage, with some missiles carrying only a single warhead. The Royal Navy earlier said that the reserve SSBN may be armed with 11 missiles with 8 warheads each, 4 missiles with 1 warhead each, plus an ÒActive Inert MissileÓ during non-operational trials, for a total of 92 warheads. The actual deployment, however, is believed to be just about half that, with no more than 48 deployed at a time. The Royal Navy has confirmed that with the operational deployment of Vengeance, the submarines on patrol would only carry up to 48 warheads. This would amount to an average of three warheads per missile, except that about four missiles will carry a single warhead, leaving the other 12 to carry a mix of 3 and 4 re-entry vehicles. This would give a total warhead count of 144. However, the RN will be sharing the D-5 warheads amongst the submarines, switching from one sub to the next for operational patrols. Missiles will remain in the launch tubes for 5ø10 years, with only the warhead sections being swapped in a pool of no more than 200 warheads. One submarine is expected to be on patrol at all times. In 2003, Rolls Royce began building long-life reactor cores for Vanguard class submarines, designed to operate for the service life of the vessel without refueling.

Type Missile/ Sub class Launchers First depl. Warhead type x yield, kt Wh No.
UGM?133A Trident II D5/ Vanguard 64 1994 1-3 x 100-120 kt 200

Further Information
Robert S Norris, William M Arkin, Hans M Kristensen, and Joshua Handler,
ÒNRDC: Nuclear Notebook, British Nuclear Forces, 2001,ÓBulletin of
Atomic Scientists
(November/December 2001):
Ministry of Defense, Royal Navy, ÒSubmarine Service:Ó
United Kingdom Nuclear Forces Guide, Federation of American Scientists:
ÒTable of British Nuclear Forces, 2002,Ó Archive of Nuclear Data, Natural
Resource Defense Council:<
ÒUnited Kingdom Nuclear Forces Guide,Ó
Randall Forsberg, ed., Arms Control Reporter1995-2004, Cambridge: MIT
Press, 1995ø2004.
Commodore Stephen Saunders, JaneÕs Fighting Ships 1995ø2003, Surrey:
JaneÕs Information Group, 1995ø2003.
SIPRI Yearbook 1995ø2003, New York: Oxford University Press, 1995ø2004.


The operational French arsenal has about 450 nuclear warheads. Since the deactivation of the land-based S3D IRBMs in 1996, SSBNs and ground- and carrier-based aircraft have comprised FranceÕs nuclear forces.

SSBNs and SLBMs.

France deploys four SSBNs from the Ile Longue base at Brest, making up the Force Oceanique Strategique. All SSBN operations are concentrated at Brest except communication facilities, which are at Rosnay (Indre). The SSBN fleet carries the MSBS (Mer-Sol-Balistique-Strategique) SLBM.

The older part of the SSBN fleet comprises what was formerly known as the Le Redoubtable class. When the lead boat was decommissioned in 1991, the class was renamed the LÕInflexible and fitted with the M4 SLBM. The second boat, Le Tonnant, was retired in 1999. The two remaining SSBNs of this class are the LÕIndomptable (S 613), commissioned in 1976, and the LÕInflexible (S 615), commissioned in 1985. LÕIndomptable will be retired at the end of 2004, LÕInflexible in 2010. LÕInflexible carries 16 M4 SLBMs with 6 MRVed TN 70/71 warheads. In 2001 LÕIndomptable was fitted with 16 M45/TN 75 SLBMS replacing M4s. The fourth generation SLBM, the M4B with an improved TN 71 warhead, has a range of up to 6000 km and can target European Russia from the port of Brest. M4B warheads, which may have partial independent targeting, are thought to have been designed to penetrate the Moscow ABM system. The entire system will be phased out in 2010, however, when the last of four Le Triomphant-class boats becomes operational and the LÕInflexible is retired.

The first two Le Triomphant class SSBNs have initially been armed with 16 M45 SLBMs, each carrying six TN75 warheads. The lead boat, Le Triomphant (S 616), was commissioned in March 1997. Le T�m�raire (S 617) was commissioned in December 1999. The two final boats, Le Vigilant (S 618) and the S 619, are to be commissioned in November 2004 and 2010, respectively.

The SSBNs are sent to sea with a diverse set of targets on computer disks. The TN 75 warhead on the 11,000 km-range M45 is a 110 kt device in a MRV package that also carries advanced penetration aids. A new SLBM now under development, the M51, will carry up to six warheads and have a range of 8,000ø10,000 km. The M51 is scheduled for flight tests in 2005.

Bomber Aircraf
The primary nuclear weapon carried by French strategic bombers is a medium-range air-to-surface missile, the ASMP (Air-Sol Moyenne Portee) with 300 kt TN 81 warheads and a range of 80ø250 km. Currently, France has an estimated 60 ASMP missiles in its stockpile. Targets are pre-loaded into the missiles, but final guidance information is downloaded just prior to launch.

Presently two types of French military aircraft are capable of delivering the ASMP: the land-based Air Force Mirage 2000N (nucleaire) and the carrier-based naval Super Etendard. The Force Aerienne Strategique operates 60 Mirage 2000Ns in three squadrons. The EC 1/4 Dauphine and EC 2/4 La Fayette squadrons are both located at Luxeuilare; the EC 3/4 Limousin squadron is based at Istres. Each aircraft carries one ASMP, and a total of 50 ASMPs are believed to be deployed. The Rafale D, the next generation French fighter-bomber, will replace the Mirage 2000N later in the decade.

The Super Etendard is a carrier-based nuclear-capable aircraft. The 24 Super Etendards, for which 10 ASMPs have been allocated, by the De Gaulle until it gets the nuclear-capable Rafale F3 aircraft in 2007. The De Gaulle was commissioned in May 2001 and carries 20 Super Etendards. A missile with an extended range of 500km, the ASMP+, is under development and expected to enter service in 2007.


Type SSBN/ Squadron Launchers First Depl. Warhead Name Warhead Configuration Wh No.
MSBS M4A/B LÕInflexible 16 1985 TN 70/71 6 x 150 kt 192
MSBS M45 LÕIndomptable 48 1976 TN 75 6 x 110 kt 192
  Le Triomphant   1997      
  Le T�m�raire   1999      
SLBM Total   64     (All MRVed) 384
Bomber Aircraft            
Mirage 2000N EC 1, EC2, EC3 60 1988 TN 81 ASMPx 300 kt 50
Super Etendard 11F, 17F 24 1978 TN 81 ASMPx 300 kt 10
Bomber Total   84       60
GRAND TOTAL           444

Further Information
Commodore Stephen Saunders, JaneÕs Fighting Ships 1995ø2003, Surrey:
JaneÕs Information Group, 1995ø2003.
Robert S Norris, William M Arkin, Hans M Kristensen, and Joshua Handler,
ÒNRDC: Nuclear Notebook, French nuclear forces, 2001,ÓBulletin of
Atomic Scientists (July/August 2001):
ÒTable of French Nuclear Forces, 2002,Ó Archive of Nuclear Data, Natural Resource Defense Council:
Randall Forsberg, ed., Arms Control Reporter1995-2004, Cambridge: MIT
Press, 1995ø2004.
International Institute for Strategic Studies, Military Balance 2003-2004 (London: Oxford University Press, 2003).
ÒFranceÑ Nuclear Forces Guide,Ó
SIPRI Yearbook 1995ø2003, New York: Oxford University Press, 1995ø2004.


There are estimated to be 400 nuclear warheads in the operational Chinese arsenal. Of these, 20 or 30 are deployed on ICBMs and that another 200ø250 are deployed (or are available to be deployed) on aircraft, missiles, and submarines with regional range. The 100ø150 remaining nuclear warheads are believed to be kept in reserve. Some may be planned for ÒtacticalÓ uses, for example, on shorter-range combat aircraft.

Nuclear weapons in China are under the control of the Central Military Commission, headed by the president. Other members of the commission are generals from the PeopleÕs Liberation Army (PLA), who may also serve on the Politburo of the Communist Party.

Land-based intercontinental nuclear forces
China maintains a small force of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The Dong Feng-5 (DF-5) liquid-fueled missile, first deployed in 1981, has a range of 13,000 km and carries a single multi-megaton warhead. Twenty are believed to be deployed in central China, southwest of Beijing. Unlike ChinaÕs earlier long-range missiles, which were stored in caves and moved out for launch, the DF-5 can be launched directly from vertical silos, but only after a two-hour fueling process. In order to increase the survivability of the DF-5s, dummy silos are placed near the real silos. Warheads are stored away from the missiles. The DF-5Õs range gives it coverage of all of Asia and Europe, and most of the United States.

The DF-5s are based around three locations. The 401 Brigade at Luoning is the headquarters unit for one of the three launch units, and is controlled by the Second Artillery Corps 80304 Unit. This site may have up to eight missiles. The Xuanhua launch unit is subordinate to the Second Artillery Corps in the Beijing Military Region. The 405 Brigade at Tongda is subordinate to the Second Artillery Corps 80305 Unit. Older DF-5s are being replaced with longer-range DF-5As, an upgrade that may be completed around 2005.

Two additional long-range ballistic missiles are in development: the 8,000 km DF-31 (CSS-X-9) and the 12,000 km DF-31A ÒNew ICBMÓ (replacing the program formerly known as the DF-41), designed to replace the existing liquid-fueled missiles. Both missiles are expected to be solid-fueled and based on mobile launchers. The DF-31 has undergone three known flight tests, in August 1999, November 2000, and December 2000. China is gradually retiring its DF-3A medium-range ballistic missiles after more than 30 years in service.


ChinaÕs sea-based nuclear forces are currently limited to one Xia Type 092 nuclear-powered SSBN, which is no longer deployed. The Xia has a history of reactor and acoustic problems. It could carry 12 Julang-1 (JL-1) SLBMs with a single 200-300 kt warhead and a range of 1,700 km. Due to its technical limitations, the Type 092 was never deployed outside regional waters
China is reported to have started construction of the first of a new class of SSBN, the Type 094, at the Huludao Shipyard. However, commissioning could take many years, given ChinaÕs previous troubled experience with nuclear-powered submarines. The Type 094 is expected to carry 16 JL-2 missiles. The JL-2 missile is based on the second and third stages of the DF-31. The first at-sea launch of the JL-2 took place in mid-January 2001, most likely from ChinaÕs single Golf-class missile test submarine. A successful undersea launch of the missile took place in October 2001.

Regional nuclear forces

China also deploys three nuclear-armed weapons in the intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) and medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) categories. These missiles are capable of posing threats to countries in Asia, such as India or Japan, but represent a lesser threat to Russia, and are only a threat to the United States through the vulnerability of US military bases in Japan and South Korea.

The oldest nuclear missile deployed by China is the semi-mobile 2800 km-range DF-3A (CSS-2), first deployed in 1971. The estimated less than 40 liquid-fueled DF-3s still in service today are being phased out in favor of the DF-15 (see below) and DF-21. DF-3s were followed by the liquid-fueled DF-4 (CSS-3), which has a maximum range of 4750 km. About 20 DF-4s remain in service in fixed launch sights. Chinese regional ballistic missile capabilities advanced greatly with the introduction of the DF-21 (CSS-5), the first solid-fueled medium-range missile. The solid-fuel design provides China with a faster launch time, because the lengthy and potentially dangerous fueling procedure of the earlier Dong Feng models has been eliminated.

First deployed in 1986, the 48 operational DF-21s have a range of 1800 km and are carried on mobile launchers. The DF-21 is the basis for the JL-1 SLBM. The DF-21s are probably operated by the following units and based at the following locations: 402 Brigade at Chuxiong; 406 Brigade at Tonghua; 407 Brigade at Lianxiwang; 408 Brigade at Jianshui; and 409 Brigade at Datong.

The older liquid-fuel missiles carry single warheads with yields estimated at 3.3 MT. The newer solid-fuel missiles have single warheads with maximum yields of a few hundred kilotons each.

The Chinese bomber force is based on locally produced versions of Soviet aircraft first deployed in the 1950s. With the retirement of the H-5/Il-28 from the nuclear role, the H-6/Tu-16 remains the only nuclear-capable bomber in the Chinese inventory. First entering service with the Soviet Air Force in 1955, the H-6/Tu-16 was produced in China starting in the 1960s. The H-6/Tu-16 is capable of carrying one-to-three nuclear bombs over a combat radius of 1800 km to 3100 km. About 120 PeopleÕs Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) H-6s are believed to be capable of nuclear missions. Datong, Golmond, and two other unidentified PLAAF bases host the nuclear H-6/Tu-16. Another 20 H-6s are under the control of the PeopleÕs Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and do not perform nuclear missions. There is no indication of a replacement for the H-6 in the near future.

Short-range, low-yield nuclear weapons

The PLAAF has 20-40 Q-5 Fantan attack aircraft that it uses in the nuclear role. Initially deployed in China in 1970, the Q-5 is a substantially upgraded version of the MiG-19 initially deployed in the Soviet Union in 1954 and later produced by China under the designation J-6. The Q-5 can carry a single free-fall nuclear bomb over a combat radius of 400 km. The very short range of the Q-5 limits its battlefield effectiveness, even with conventional armament.

Two types of short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) entered service with ChinaÕs Second Artillery forces beginning around 1995: the DF-11 (CSS-7; export version M-11), with a range of 300 km, and the DF-15 (CSS-6; export version M-9), with a range of 600 km. (The ÔDFÕ designations are used for missiles in service in China; alternative ÔMÕ designations, in these two cases the M-11 (300 km) and M-9 (600 km), are used for export versions.) As of 2001, several hundred DF-11s and -15s are believed to have been deployed, mostly opposite Taiwan. In theory both missiles could be fitted with small nuclear devices. In practice, those in service today are believed to be equipped solely with conventional warheads.


Type NATO Name No. First Depl Range km Warhead x yield kt Wh Num
Bomber Aircraft *            
Hong-6 B-6 100 1965 3100 1-3 x bomb 100
Qian-5 A-5 30 1970 400 1 x bomb 30
Land-based Missiles            
DF-3A CSS-2 40 1971 2800 1 x 3.3 Mt 40
DF-4 CSS-3 20 1980 4750 1 x 3.3 Mt 20
DF-5A CSS-4 20 1981 13,000 1 x 4-5 Mt 20
DF-21A CSS-5 48 1985 1800 1 x 200-300 kt 48
J-1 CSS-NX-3 12 1986 1700 1 x 200-300 kt 12
Tactical Weapons**           120
GRAND TOTAL           ~390

* Nuclear-capable bombers only.
** No short-range missiles or rockets are known to be nuclear armed. Further InformationRobert Norris and Hans M Kristensen, ÒNuclear Notebook,Ó Bulletin of the
Atomic Scientists
(November/December 2003):
Harold Brown, et al., ÒChinese Military Power,Ó Council on Foreign Relations,
2003: 49.
Randall Forsberg, ed., Arms Control Reporter1995-2004, Cambridge: MIT
Press, 1995ø2004.
ÒChinaÑ Nuclear Forces Guide,Ó
Commodore Stephen Saunders, JaneÕs Fighting Ships 1995ø2003, Surrey:
JaneÕs Information Group, 1995ø2003.
Paul Jackson, JaneÕs All the WorldÕs Aircraft1995ø2003, Surrey:
JaneÕs Information Group, 1995ø2003.
SIPRI Yearbook 1995ø2003, New York: Oxford University Press, 1995ø2004.

2005 IDDS, 675 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge MA 02139, USA