China Ballistic Missiles and Nuclear Arms Thread

Figaro

Junior Member
Registered Member
@plawolf, it's not just about the stock of warheads and delivery systems, it's about how many of them survive a first strike. Your example with 300 warheads destroying the US implies that all 300 survive the first strike and make it through the missile defenses. Optimistically, 90% would be destroyed or inoperable. 50% of those surviving would make it through the missile defenses. I don't think 15 warheads would destroy America.

China's defense budget is between $350 and $500 billion (in PPP, the only worthwhile way to calculate it) and growing like a weed. China ramping up its nuclear arsenal from 300 to 2000-3000 over a period of 10-15 years is comfortably achievable. Now that China has the delivery systems like the DF-41/JL-3/DF-5C to get the job done, it's exactly the right time to do it.
I'm pretty certain that China has at least 800 nuclear warheads currently ... they just cite the 300 number to give the misleading impression of "minimum deterrence." 300 is just not enough ... especially considering that a lot of the warheads are on older missiles like DF-5 or DF-31, which are less effective. Even 800 may not be fully adequate for a second strike. I remember a couple years ago when the "Underground Great Wall" was exposed, Western scientists immediately negated the possibility of such tunnels housing nuclear weapons ... something tells me they just want China to serve as the posterchild of nuclear arms control at a time when North Korea and Pakistan are ramping up their stockpiles.
 

AndrewS

Captain
Registered Member
@plawolf, it's not just about the stock of warheads and delivery systems, it's about how many of them survive a first strike. Your example with 300 warheads destroying the US implies that all 300 survive the first strike and make it through the missile defenses. Optimistically, 90% would be destroyed or inoperable. 50% of those surviving would make it through the missile defenses. I don't think 15 warheads would destroy America.

China's defense budget is between $350 and $500 billion (in PPP, the only worthwhile way to calculate it) and growing like a weed. China ramping up its nuclear arsenal from 300 to 2000-3000 over a period of 10-15 years is comfortably achievable. Now that China has the delivery systems like the DF-41/JL-3/DF-5C to get the job done, it's exactly the right time to do it.


The US and Russia both have about 1000 deployable strategic nukes, although they have thousands more in storage.

An increase in the Chinese nuclear arsenal from 300 to 1000 weapons would just mean parity.
But with enough delivery vehicles, that would be sufficient for a secure second strike capability.

So I think China deploying 2000-3000 nukes is excessive, as it would definitely trigger a counter-productive nuclear arms race.
 
Last edited:

AeroEngineer

Junior Member
The US and Russia both have about 1000 deployable strategic nukes, although they have thousands more in storage.

An increase in the Chinese nuclear arsenal from 300 to 1000 weapons would just mean parity.
But with enough delivery vehicles, that would be sufficient for a secure second strike capability.

So I think China deploying 2000-3000 nukes is excessive, as it would definitely trigger a counter-productive nuclear arms race.
I disagree.
 

AeroEngineer

Junior Member
@plawolf, it's not just about the stock of warheads and delivery systems, it's about how many of them survive a first strike. Your example with 300 warheads destroying the US implies that all 300 survive the first strike and make it through the missile defenses. Optimistically, 90% would be destroyed or inoperable. 50% of those surviving would make it through the missile defenses. I don't think 15 warheads would destroy America.

China's defense budget is between $350 and $500 billion (in PPP, the only worthwhile way to calculate it) and growing like a weed. China ramping up its nuclear arsenal from 300 to 2000-3000 over a period of 10-15 years is comfortably achievable. Now that China has the delivery systems like the DF-41/JL-3/DF-5C to get the job done, it's exactly the right time to do it.
I agree %100

At least 3000 warheads are needed to complete erase USA.
 

ZeEa5KPul

Junior Member
Registered Member
So I think China deploying 2000-3000 nukes is excessive, as it would definitely trigger a counter-productive nuclear arms race.
I think China should make it clear to everyone that these missiles are aimed solely at the US. In fact, it would be a good idea for China to state that it would not place nuclear warheads on SRBMs, MRBMs, or IRBMs - that only ICBMs would be equipped with nuclear warheads. China could also offer to mothball the bulk of this arsenal if the US departs from the Western Pacific.

This may well be insufficient. In that case, let the racers race.
 

Josh Luo

Junior Member
Registered Member
First off, I think it’s time to cool it with the borderline country bashing...

Tactical nukes are a weapon of last resort used when your systems are too short ranged, weak and/or inaccurate to fight back. It would be counterproductive for a nation which leads the world in missile development to stockpile such weapons. Far more devastating results than what tactical nukes could do can be accomplished by existing “anti-system” war using massed precision strike and electronic warfare.

There are quite a few levels of escalation between a single tactical nuke, or even a single strategical nuke and full nuclear exchange.

If a tactical warhead is used in a hypothetical conflict, China could either choose to ignore it and double down on conventional warfare - which is likely to cause more devastation than the enemy tactical nuke attack.

However, if many tactical warheads are used, another option would be to launch a single strategic nuke towards a 2nd tier enemy target. The Soviets believed a strategic nuclear strike against a single semi important target could force ceasefire through destruction.

Of course, there is a real risk that the enemy would respond by sending it’s own strategic nukes, but that is why China has developed extensive nuclear defenses in addition to it’s nuclear offense. If a handful of enemy strategic nukes are shot down, the whole world would likely hurry to make sure a ceasefire happens.

The end goal of the PLA nuclear doctrine seems to be the ability to send single, deescalating nuke strikes with impunity in order to ensure that conflicts are kept conventional, even against nuclear powers. If it could be achieved, it would represent a higher state than mutual assured destruction that forbids “hot” wars between nuclear powers, but it could also kickstart a new arms race.
This is very close my point. Thanks, Biscuits! My next question becomes what if that single, deescalation strike does not work? Then you run out of ammo, while your enemy could continue pounding you until you surrender. Thus, would arming to the teeth like the USA in the 1960s and the former USSR in the early 1980s the only way to persuade others of credible deterrence? Even if this question were an exaggeration, would China have to pursuit the ability to wage protracted nuclear wars in order to persuade others that its deterrence is credible?
 

Xsizor

Junior Member
Registered Member
DEJA VU?!
I think these discussions have been done a lot of times and bear no new useful or new conclusions. Every other comment section under every other article that discusses the nuclear weapon stockpiles of P5 turns out to be all these and some.
The US side has some hardliners who (despite their ever repetitive denials) are focused on ethno-culture-religion centric worldview. The ever numerous think tanks and their white papers openly send that message. Couple that with the country's overall Superpowerdom... It almost explains the events and situations that arose during the later 20th century. Not trying to country bash here. Not even implying that all woes are to be blamed on one particular entity.
Nuclear weapons remain the most visible and ultimate weapons to ever exist (debatable, I consider Biological and chemical weapons to be of greater potential). It is that singular almost monolithic technology that can start, end and prevent wars. China, motivated by the CPC (its not communist, its an authoritarian nationalist party--make no mistake) could contribute to another cold war or worse if they give in to their nationalist tendencies and decide that they've had enough hiding their strength and biding their time. Only this time, with a lot of countries around them (almost 10 countries) also partaking tensions and uncertainty that'd follow in this coming out ceremony. Countries like India, Pakistan, Japan, Iran have no dearth of nationalists in these days.
I think these discussions will not end until a blunder like the M. Vananu or Lillyhammer affair happens that blows the cover off of the most safely guarded secret that is the exact number of China's nuclear stockpile. Or another earthquake that'd cause a landslide exposing the tunnels like one happened a decade ago.
The US and Russian intelligence seems to know the exact number of these weapons. I'm pretty sure they would. As other members pointed out - China's secret isn't just China's alone. It must be of value to others too.
 

Biscuits

Junior Member
Registered Member
This is very close my point. Thanks, Biscuits! My next question becomes what if that single, deescalation strike does not work? Then you run out of ammo, while your enemy could continue pounding you until you surrender. Thus, would arming to the teeth like the USA in the 1960s and the former USSR in the early 1980s the only way to persuade others of credible deterrence? Even if this question were an exaggeration, would China have to pursuit the ability to wage protracted nuclear wars in order to persuade others that its deterrence is credible?
The idea is to use missile defense to make sure the enemy doesn’t get any return strikes in. If China launches 1 nuke, the other country hardly has justification to launch 1000 nukes, unless they are suicidal. They’ll have to launch 1, 2 or just a handful of nukes. When those nukes are shot down, it will be an extremely heavy morale blow, and it would also make the entire world come and mediate, because all outside nations would want to limit a nuclear conflict.

If full nuclear exchange started, they can not prevent at least some nukes from slipping through. But they also have massive hard bunker defenses for the vast majority of the country. After the enemies are completely razed, it’s possible to somehow rebuild over the ashes or reclaim the cities that were unharmed? There’s no doubt Beijing plans for such outlandish scenarios, however, those plans would be extremely classified.

Maybe in 50 yrs time when they declassify the 2010s documents, we will find out exactly what they want to do after a nuclear war.
 

Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
You can call it scare mongering or prescient analysis It doesn't matter but the China only has 200 warhead is ridiculous. Here is stratcom analysis
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


Stratcom: China Rapidly Building Up Nuclear Forces
Beijing doubled warhead arsenal and will double again in 10 years

VADM Dvid Kriete / Bill Gertz

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
- AUGUST 1, 2019 5:00 AM

OMAHA—China is aggressively building up nuclear warfighting forces as part of a larger effort to expand power over Asia and globally, according to senior officials of the U.S. Strategic Command.

Vice Admiral David Kriete, deputy commander of the command, said he is concerned by China's rapidly growing nuclear arsenal when combined with other alarming activities in the South China Sea and elsewhere.

"China is and has been for the last couple of decades on a very clear trajectory where they're increasing the numbers of nuclear weapons that they field, they're increasing the number of and diversity of the delivery systems," Kriete said in a press briefing.

"They are working on fielding a triad—ballistic missile submarines, strategic bombers, and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles."

In addition to a delivery system, Beijing is expanding its nuclear weapons production capabilities that will "allow them to continue on this trend or actually increase it in the future should they so choose," the three-star admiral said.


Regional missile systems that do not have the same range as strategic missiles are being fielded.

Kriete also questioned China's declared no-first-use policy, the statement that Chinese military forces would not be the first to use nuclear arms in a conflict.

"When it comes to the no-first-use policy, I have read about this no-first-use policy," he said. "Beyond that statement, they don't talk much about it, so I'm not exactly sure what it is."

Kriete said the nuclear buildup should be viewed within the context of China's regional and global expansion.

"China's leadership has made it clear in recent years that they have goals of becoming a regional power and exerting—economic and military—over the western Pacific at some point in the future," he said. "And then obtaining some level of global influence at some point after that."

Chinese military activities in the western Pacific are supporting those goals.

Also troubling are China's militarization of disputed islands in the South China Sea.

China has reclaimed some 3,200 acres of islands and last year was detected deploying anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles on them, along with electronic warfare capabilities.

Kriete said Stratcom is not focused on deterring regional conflicts with China but supports the Indo-Pacific Command in its efforts to do so.

"At the same time we'll work on that strategic deterrent effect vis a vis China as well as Russia and some other countries," he said.

China's buildup of nuclear forces includes several new mobile nuclear missiles, including the DF-41 that is being deployed with multiple warheads. New ballistic missile submarines are being deployed along with a new strategic bomber.

China is believed to have more than 200 warheads for strategic weapons. However, Chinese secrecy has prevented knowing the precise numbers of warheads, which could be as high as 1,500.

China also is nearing deployment of a hypersonic glide vehicle—a maneuvering ultra-high-speed missile that can defeat missile defenses.

The admiral stressed that the United States does not want a war with China or any other country but needs to be prepared to do so.

"We really want a peaceful coexistence in a lot of places around the world, and I think there are ways to achieve that," he said. "The strength that we show through our military force in the region and really domestically back home is an important part of that face that we show to China and other countries around the world."

Another official, Rear Adm. Michael Brookes, director of intelligence for the command, said China's nuclear forces modernization is a concern.

"China has long had a no-first-use policy, and yet they've doubled their nuclear arsenal in about the last decade, and they're on track to double it again in the next decade," Brookes said during a Stratcom conference on deterrence.

"It's a little bit concerning the breathtaking pace of change with regard to their arsenal," he said.


Combined with the nuclear buildup, Chinese leaders "appear to have a disinterest, at least at this time, to submit to any arms control regime."

The Trump administration has said it is seeking to include China in a three-way or bilateral arms control regime. Beijing's military has rejected entering into any negotiation on its nuclear forces over concerns that the talks would undermine its deterrent value.

Brookes said another concern regarding the Chinese nuclear buildup, as well as Russia's nuclear modernization, are worries about their buildup of cyber warfare, space warfare and electronic warfare capabilities that could impact U.S. nuclear deterrence.

These weapons "fan the flames of competition" and jeopardize "the U.S.'s ability for indications and warning and C2 [command and control] of our nuclear forces," Brookes said.

"That's viewed as somewhat destabilizing and inflammatory," the intelligence director said.

The Stratcom officials' comments reflect warnings issued in May by Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashely, who
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
by operating a test facility year round.

Ashely called the nuclear modernization "the most rapid expansion and diversification of its nuclear arsenal in China's history."

China's nuclear forces remain couched in secrecy. China operates large-scale underground nuclear storage and production facilities in a tunnel system dubbed the Great Underground Wall.

The system is estimated to include more than 3,000 miles of tunnels and underground plants.


On the topic of extending the New START arms treaty past its 2021 deadline, Kriete said Russia is building new strategic weapons and capabilities that are not covered by the treaty and that pose risks to deterrence.

Moscow has announced the development of a nuclear-powered cruise missile, hypersonic glide vehicles, and a nuclear-tipped underwater drone.

North Korea and Iran also are worried about their nuclear forces.

Stratcom is also assisting with the development of a new warfighting command, the Space Command, that will take over military space and defense responsibilities from Strategic Command. The new command could be stood up in the coming weeks, Kriete said.

Regarding U.S. nuclear forces modernization, Kriete said the military is moving ahead with a new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent—a nuclear missile to replace aging Minuteman III ICBMs.

Kriete said there are no current plans to deploy the new ICBM in a road-mobile launcher, but he did not rule out that mobile basing for U.S. strategic missiles could be used in the future.


This entry was posted in
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
and tagged
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
. Bookmark the
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
.
 
Top