China Ballistic Missiles and Nuclear Arms Thread


VIP Professional
A thought about JL-2 missile numbers. Recent newsbits suggested that the additional two 094 subs that were built have been commissioned. For a total of 6 boats right now. They may not all be actually ready for active service yet, but that's beside the point right now.

How many missiles could there be for those 6 boats, once they do get ready for active service? We have the example of UK/France, which maintain missile numbers for 3 subs, out of the 4 they have. And we have the claim by H. Kristensen about US nuke forces, deploying missiles to 12 out of 14 subs that the US has. So a ratio between 1 in 4 and 1 in 7 is also plausible for Chinese subs.

In practice, that'd suggest that out of 6 094 subs, at the very least 4, but more likely 5 of those would actually have missiles deployed to them. Kristensen also mentions that even though 240 Trident missiles are deployed on those 12 US subs, there are in total 448 Trident missiles in the inventory. He mentions about half of those are for spares and test flights. It is unclear whether that inventory also includes the 30 something tridents that the UK uses. The UK does source their tridents from the same resource pool as the US, as missiles get maintained together and the missiles UK gets are basically leased missiles - they get a right to A missile but after maintenance the missile they get may not be the same missile they had before.

Anyway, even IF the UK Tridents are part of that number, it'd suggest US maintains some 420 SLBMs for a fleet of subs numbering 14 vessels, with total theoretical launch cells numbering 336 missiles. That's 25% more than theoretical capacity and 45% more than the usual capacity if 12 subs are available.

Now, those percentages may not apply to China. Certainly, UK and France use fewer missiles than they have room for. And even in the case of the US, the Trident stock may be there just because they had missiles left over since they retired other classes of subs, besides Ohio class.

When it comes to Minuteman ICBMs for example, 400 missiles out of stock of 450 are actually deployed. So 11% more could be deployed, in theory.

With all that - I would wager that with the current/upcoming 6 boat strong fleet of 094 subs - China likely has deployed 48-60 JL-2 subs and may have in total 60-72 JL-2 missiles overall in its inventory.