China Ballistic Missiles and Nuclear Arms Thread


styx

Junior Member
Registered Member
A small yeld tactical nuke would be perfect to take out an american carrier with Anti ship ballistic missiles.
 
Not in the minds of supporters of First Use like Trump, Neocons, Pakistani Army, Force De Frappe, Kim Jong'un, and Russians. This is why both the Trump Administration and the Russians support the development of small yield tactical nukes in order to "escalate to -de-escalate." As much as I agree with you that nukes are meant to intimidate, there are lots of military guys and politicians out there still believing in starting a limited tactical nuclear war as a contest of will to force their enemies to back down. Trump and "his friend" the Little Rocket Man clearly believe in this extremely risky strategy.
Developing small tactical nukes to escalate to de-escalate is the definition of intimidation. You need to understand that concept. There is so far no evidence that anybody thinks that actually dropping a few nukes on another nuclear country will de-escalate instead of bring about MAD.

But also, your reply is no longer a true continuation of the conversation. Your original thesis in #2943 seems to be that China can't possibly have a large nuclear force because some foreigner's "analysis" said so and in #2945 which you quoted, I rebutted that. Your reply here does not continue that conversation in any real way and I no longer understand your point if you have one.
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
The problem with this argument is when nuclear exchange happened it will all be over in matter of minutes. There is no time to produced warhead It is not like WWII which is drawn out over 3 or 4 years.
The question is did you have inventory or not!
I don't think maintaining warhead is expensive A lot of people get confused between maintain warhead and maintaining warhead + missile .
Yeah missile is problematic if it liquid but solid fuel missile has long storage life not infinite but way better than liquid
Yes but that's what I mean by there is no indication that we are even close to a situation where it could be over in a matter of minutes. If relations and tensions really get there, there should be enough time to stockpile those inventories if the CCP responds to changing relations (it could be done right now with the recent escalation of trade war). Truth be told, we're not in a place where the US will launch a sudden first use strike against China yet. It will cripple all of China's neighbours and given the size they need to cover, they will pollute the entire world and be responsible for the worst disaster in recorded human history. Something they will not recover from politically. This is assuming China has no means to retaliate in a way that makes the US and half the world uninhabitable, which isn't even close to being true. Again thermonuclear weapons are not the only means of MAD.

As important as it is to follow Russia's method in guaranteeing MAD through nuclear means, there is a point past which further spending is sub-optimal. The calculus involves factoring in other weapons and the real numbers of Chinese missiles and warheads gives some hints at how effective these other weapons are. With fewer resources to spend on matching US, hedging MAD bets is the proper way to go. This is all ignoring the very real possibility that the US numbers are truly sub-optimal and are a result of lingering Cold-War policies that haven't been reviewed and amended effectively enough. This is true for so much of government.
 
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ZeEa5KPul

Junior Member
Registered Member
With fewer resources to spend on matching US, hedging MAD bets is the proper way to go.
False.

China's economy is already larger than the US's ($27 trillion vs. $20 trillion) and its growth momentum and potential are much greater. Write "China's economy is larger than America's" on a blackboard a hundred times like Bart Simpson if you need to - whatever you do, internalize that fact. This kind of "China's a poor country" thinking is going to send it into an abyss.
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
False.

China's economy is already larger than the US's ($27 trillion vs. $20 trillion) and its growth momentum and potential are much greater. Write "China's economy is larger than America's" on a blackboard a hundred times like Bart Simpson if you need to - whatever you do, internalize that fact. This kind of "China's a poor country" thinking is going to send it into an abyss.
Adjusted for purchasing power this is true but there are also FAR more mouths to feed and per capita is still lower. That was what I was referring to when I said fewer resources compared to the US. So it cannot be responsible for China to spend as much as the US in this domain particularly if the US levels of spending is unnecessary to achieve desired abilities.
 

ZeEa5KPul

Junior Member
Registered Member
Adjusted for purchasing power this is true but there are also FAR more mouths to feed and per capita is still lower.
China's long past the point of worrying about feeding its population. When the per capita GDP is $20,000, you're past that point. This poverty mentality is like a billionaire who grew up poor still pinching pennies and clipping coupons, it's silly, embarrassing, myopic, completely unnecessary, and worst of all wasting opportunities. There's no inordinate expense in China expanding its arsenal by a factor of ten, especially when the hard work of warhead miniaturization and missile design are already done, and there's a vast infrastructure in place - we're just talking marginal costs now, the sunk costs have already been paid. That's just the military side; China also has a vast and mature nuclear industry that can produce the necessary fissile material.

FFS, India has more than twice as much Pu stockpiled than China. What kind of world is this?

So it cannot be responsible for China to spend as much as the US in this domain particularly if the US levels of spending is unnecessary to achieve desired abilities.
Whether America's spending is optimal or not, the fact remains that it has thousands of warheads aimed at China. That must be countered. What's irresponsible is not countering it.
 

Viktor Jav

Senior Member
Registered Member
I find it really puzzling why some people refuse to believe that China doesn't/can't have warheads in the thousands. As if China having a nuclear arsenal commensurate with its stature blasphemes against their religion.
Because from China's nuclear posturing as well as it's own doctrine regarding nuclear weapons is anathema towards that assumption. This is not accounting towards the lack of any scientific journals or credible articles claim that number. This is not so much a matter of China's wealth and strength but more towards how China views the use of nuclear weapons. While alot of people likes to point towards the US and Russia's warheads numbering in the thousands, a good number of those warheads are of a tactical nature given both nation's first use policies. These warheads are smaller and less destructive, but are no less grave in the implications of their use. China has a no first use policy, and there is little if any indication that it has fielded any tactical nukes.

You raised the issue of China adopting MIRV on it's missiles, but the addition of MIRVS does not adduce or deduce towards the number of warheads that China is professed to have. In fact alot of nuclear watcher have predicted this move as being the most logical as it allows China to maintain a credible deterrence whilst not expanding the number of warheads it have.

And from a strategic stand point there is a good reason why China would have a smaller number of warheads and will actively try to portray that to the world. Ballistic missiles with conventional warheads form an important part of China's military, especially the SRBM and IRBM. If Beijing was to portray itself as having that many nukes it did lead other nations fearing that in the event of hostilities any missile being lobbed their way could potentially be a nuclear armed one, this in turn would lead to a nuclear race frenzy where everyone has a nuke and treats any nuclear capable platform as a paranoid threat,this would render one of China's greatest conventional weapons moot.. As unlogical as it might sound, that is the reality of the world as we are in right now.

At the end though, it is just as unlikely that China has a few as 250 warheads as some might claim. A more logical number given the current nuclear states in the world vis a vis population centers would put that number somewhere between 700-1000, just touching the magical thousand mark but still vastly below that of the US and Russia.
 
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ZeEa5KPul

Junior Member
Registered Member
While alot of people likes to point towards the US and Russia's warheads numbering in the thousands, a good number of those warheads are of a tactical nature given both nation's first use policies.
A one minute Google search puts the lie to that. America has 14 Ohio class SSBNs, each holds 24 Trident SLBMs, each SLBM has 8 MIRVs. 14 * 24 * 8 = 2688 warheads. I would consider that a good number of strategic weapons - something I'd like to see with the Type 09-VI.

This is not so much a matter of China's wealth and strength but more towards how China views the use of nuclear weapons.
I hold that it is all about wealth and power. China adopted its nuclear force posture because it was too poor and weak to adopt anything better, and it worked to deter the US and USSR because back then China wasn't worth destroying. Now it is has both wealth and power, and it very much is worth destroying.

I don't even advocate changing the doctrine. Continue NFU and minimal deterrence - just with thousands of warheads. This quasi-religious idea that China should continue its doctrine because that's what it always did is what I'm against.

Ballistic missiles with conventional warheads form an important part of China's military, especially the SRBM and IRBM. If Beijing was to portray itself as having that many nukes it did lead other nations fearing that in the event of hostilities any missile being lobbed their way could potentially be a nuclear armed one, this in turn would lead to a nuclear race frenzy where everyone has a nuke and treats any nuclear capable platform as a paranoid threat. As unlogical as it might sound, that is the reality of the world as we are in right now.
That's why I advocate keeping NFU. They'll keep believing China isn't going to lob nuclear weapons at them because China says it won't, that's what being powerful means. They'll believe it because they have no choice - believing it might mean possible annihilation, but not believing it means certain annihilation.

A more logical number given the current nuclear states in the world vis a vis population centers would put that number somewhere between 700-1000, just touching the magical thousand mark but still vastly below that of the US and Russia.
I don't think China does or should aim any nuclear weapons at Russia (and I hope that's reciprocated). As a Russian I would think you would welcome this. After all, the more nuclear missiles aimed at America the better, no?

I've been mulling an idea recently that I'd like to pick your brain about: Russia has around 180 tons of stockpiled plutonium (sufficient for around 40-50,000 bombs), how amenable would Russia be to selling some (say 10%) of its stockpile to China?
 

hkbc

Junior Member
A one minute Google search puts the lie to that. America has 14 Ohio class SSBNs, each holds 24 Trident SLBMs, each SLBM has 8 MIRVs. 14 * 24 * 8 = 2688 warheads. I would consider that a good number of strategic weapons - something I'd like to see with the Type 09-VI.
That's not how it works! The Trident D5s are loaded onto subs that go on patrol and unloaded from them when the subs need maintenance etc from a pool of missiles. The pool of missiles is shared between the UK and US who put their own warheads into the missiles. The missiles themselves need maintenance and have a shelf life in fact lockMart were given orders for additional missiles just last year!

The number of warheads is not simply a case of multiply by biggest number of everything! That's why doing one minute searches in wikipedia to generate "facts" is not the way to go!
 

Biscuits

Junior Member
Registered Member
The number of nukes is probably the one stat you can’t trust the government to provide truthfully. There’s too much vested interests.

China has researched for a long time to survive a nuclear war or even shrug it off. ABM efforts go back to even before the cultural revolution. For the Soviets, their nuclear doctrine was to use the threat of MAD to ensure peace, which means it was in their interest to say they have an extreme number of nukes. For China, the situation is reversed.

Shooting down 100 nukes might be possible, but if China freely talks about it’s arsenal and invites France, UK, NK and India to chase them in the number of warheads, it’s much more doubtful that 1000 nukes can be shot down. This would endanger China’s ability to guard itself against a nuclear attack.

As for exactly how many warheads there are, it’s hopelessly difficult to estimate it unless they slip up majorly. We do know that the Soviet Union knew a war would lead to MAD and actively avoided confrontation, which means at the very least enough nukes to destroy every large population center in the Soviet Union, probably a bit more because not every nuke would have been aimed at the Soviets even at the height of tensions.

The bunker, silo, missile defense and hardened tunnel network in China is absolutely massive, if not the largest in the world by far. All of that costs order of magnitudes more than the warheads to fill them out.
 

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