China Ballistic Missiles and Nuclear Arms Thread


FairAndUnbiased

Junior Member
Registered Member
the 300 estimates remains the same since 1980s when Chinese GDP and technology advancement is like 100x less than now.
yep, my estimate of ~500 is a bare minimum estimate using only their sources. The 300x silos being built? Let's say they're half filled with DF41 at 4x each. That's another 600x plus 500x on existing, photographed assets.

they're using DF4 and dumb bomb estimates they admit are from the 1970s which is insane if you think about it.
 

Michaelsinodef

Junior Member
Registered Member
Actually I am quite sure that China already possess ~1,500 nukes. It's not hard and expensive to expand it, and China has all of them, just a matter of political decision and I am pretty sure it was decided in 2000s by Chinese leaderships

the 300 nukes estimates remains the same since 1980s when Chinese GDP and technology advancement is like 100x less than now.

Note that Chinese GDP in 1980 was $190B and now is about 100x bigger, the same case for technology advancement of China

Do you really think Chinese leaders are so dump to keep that number to please the US who have kept threatening China continuously?
The post above you from @FairAndUnbiased comes with a pretty good estimate for actual minimum amount.

Also while I have been throwing out the ~300 number, I have not claimed that it was a super accurate estimate (just what I have heard/read) and that it should only be thought of as a minimum (and from FairAndUnbiased a better more current estimate would be 500 as minimum nowadays).

With all of that said, I'm still doubting whether or not the leaders in China actually want a 1000+ arsenal, because they do cost money to both make, stock and maintain. An arsenal between 500 to 1000 should be perfectly fine, unless one day they want to be able to first strike the US (unlikely).
 

antiterror13

Brigadier
The post above you from @FairAndUnbiased comes with a pretty good estimate for actual minimum amount.

Also while I have been throwing out the ~300 number, I have not claimed that it was a super accurate estimate (just what I have heard/read) and that it should only be thought of as a minimum (and from FairAndUnbiased a better more current estimate would be 500 as minimum nowadays).

With all of that said, I'm still doubting whether or not the leaders in China actually want a 1000+ arsenal, because they do cost money to both make, stock and maintain. An arsenal between 500 to 1000 should be perfectly fine, unless one day they want to be able to first strike the US (unlikely).

you keep saying cost money .. do you know how much is it? or just the sake of saying without knowing the numbers? .... I'd bet it is miniscule compared to Chinese defence budget or even negligible to Chinese GDP

Note: Russia has much much lower GDP and defence budget than China .... and do you know what, Russia is quite comfortably having thousands of warhead and massive ICBM forces

Just for your reference, here is the cost in the US and in China would be significantly lower ... is it expensive according to you ... once the survival of the country is at stake ?

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The entry barrier to having nuke is not the cost but the technology
 
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OppositeDay

Junior Member
Registered Member
The supply of civilian nuclear engineers from Chinese universities outstrips the demand. Better to retrain and recruit them into PLARF than letting them waste their education and become just another brick in Jack Ma or Pony Ma’s empires.
 

ougoah

Colonel
Registered Member
The post above you from @FairAndUnbiased comes with a pretty good estimate for actual minimum amount.

Also while I have been throwing out the ~300 number, I have not claimed that it was a super accurate estimate (just what I have heard/read) and that it should only be thought of as a minimum (and from FairAndUnbiased a better more current estimate would be 500 as minimum nowadays).

With all of that said, I'm still doubting whether or not the leaders in China actually want a 1000+ arsenal, because they do cost money to both make, stock and maintain. An arsenal between 500 to 1000 should be perfectly fine, unless one day they want to be able to first strike the US (unlikely).

Like the earlier post you wrote about Russia joining a nuclear exchange, I think this is also off.

China wanting to perform first strike on US is suicidally stupid. It isn't going to happen even if China could perform first strike on the US and pull it off without suffering a single hit. Even if that were the case, they wouldn't. China owns so much of the US, if they kill the US, who is going to be paying dividends? China makes so much money from the US market who is there to replace lost income??

It is the US that desires a first strike on China and also why China is expanding nuclear forces and capabilities - US has been improving ABM for the last 50 years in numbers and capability. This is a threat to China's 1970s policy of minimal deterrence. The entire concept of minimal deterrence is dynamic and with improving US nuclear forces, China's minimal deterrence, even if such a posture is desirable by the CPC and kept around, is going to be changing with improving US nuclear forces and ABM. Hence more Chinese missiles, warheads, and better technology.

Your logic is inverted. China absolutely has the money, manpower, and resources to build not just a 1000+ warhead nuclear force but a 1000+ ICBM nuclear force. It is pocket change for China. It is less than pocket change for China and in return, it gets absolute nuclear security and even makes the US think three times before committing to even low level conventional confrontations, something they wouldn't think twice about if China's nuclear arsenal truly were a measly 500 warheads on roughly 400 ICBMs. The US has thousands of BMD missiles.

China's current nuclear arsenal that is photographed is roughly 400 ICBMs and roughly 500 warheads minimum. If Russia can afford to keep around more than three times as much, China sure can do a lot more and sure has already. The Chinese just wanted to wait until HGVs and newer generations of warheads were mature enough to refit everything and bring the new generations of nuclear forces onboard and produce them at a scale that has been justified.

Another problem with your post is the "they cost money"... and it's free for the US and Russia? Basically what you said is completely devoid of substance and yet still presented as an argument as to why China wouldn't have worked on building at least half as numerous an ICBM and nuclear force as the US.

"An arsenal between 500 to 1000 should be perfectly fine, unless one day they want to be able to first strike the US (unlikely)."

This is backwards. A country would need more nukes if they're aim is to guarantee a MAD in second strike. You can only lose nukes if you suffer a first strike, not gain any more. We've already established beyond any doubt that US nuclear forces are strong enough a deterrence no country on earth would even entertain the idea of performing a first strike on the US if they weren't suicidal. China isn't suicidal since it is running on 30% and already nearing the US. When it runs as effectively and efficiently as developed economies, China would be several times bigger than the US. Why be suicidal in such a position and invite nuclear attack? Again it is the US that has every plan and desire to perform nuclear first strike on China, NOT the other way around.

500 to 1000 warheads is NOT perfectly fine. If US performed a perfect first strike, it could take out most of those 500 to 1000 warheads, leaving China with only the SLBMs and some well hidden mobile ICBMs and underground tunnel missiles to perform secondary strike against a country with thousands of BMD missiles. Even with HGVs, this may not be enough for complete MAD.

So let's sum it up, China has all the resources and tech for 3000+ warheads and superior nuclear delivery for a cost that wouldn't be any greater than the cost for the US and Russia to hold onto the stockpiles they've been holding for decades. China has the need due to US threats and posturing. China has the money to do this and for the period 1950s to 2000s, China hasn't been spending the coin for such a massive inventory so money already saved. China has had numerous enrichment facilities that haven't stopped operating for decades and has the raw materials for enriched fuel. Put all that together. Believing China has 300 warheads is categorically false already. China has been comfortbale with only 500 warheads is highly unlikely considering the tensions with a country which holds 3000+ warheads and over 1000 ICBMs and SLBMs. China since 2000s have had the reasons, the means, the money, the raw materials, and the technology to have an equally sized nuclear arsenal with superior delivery in terms of HGV mounted ICBMs and whatnot. The least the CPC has done is get half way there with updated warheads and delivery technologies.
 

davidau

Junior Member
Registered Member
Like the earlier post you wrote about Russia joining a nuclear exchange, I think this is also off.

China wanting to perform first strike on US is suicidally stupid. It isn't going to happen even if China could perform first strike on the US and pull it off without suffering a single hit. Even if that were the case, they wouldn't. China owns so much of the US, if they kill the US, who is going to be paying dividends? China makes so much money from the US market who is there to replace lost income??

It is the US that desires a first strike on China and also why China is expanding nuclear forces and capabilities - US has been improving ABM for the last 50 years in numbers and capability. This is a threat to China's 1970s policy of minimal deterrence. The entire concept of minimal deterrence is dynamic and with improving US nuclear forces, China's minimal deterrence, even if such a posture is desirable by the CPC and kept around, is going to be changing with improving US nuclear forces and ABM. Hence more Chinese missiles, warheads, and better technology.

Your logic is inverted. China absolutely has the money, manpower, and resources to build not just a 1000+ warhead nuclear force but a 1000+ ICBM nuclear force. It is pocket change for China. It is less than pocket change for China and in return, it gets absolute nuclear security and even makes the US think three times before committing to even low level conventional confrontations, something they wouldn't think twice about if China's nuclear arsenal truly were a measly 500 warheads on roughly 400 ICBMs. The US has thousands of BMD missiles.

China's current nuclear arsenal that is photographed is roughly 400 ICBMs and roughly 500 warheads minimum. If Russia can afford to keep around more than three times as much, China sure can do a lot more and sure has already. The Chinese just wanted to wait until HGVs and newer generations of warheads were mature enough to refit everything and bring the new generations of nuclear forces onboard and produce them at a scale that has been justified.

Another problem with your post is the "they cost money"... and it's free for the US and Russia? Basically what you said is completely devoid of substance and yet still presented as an argument as to why China wouldn't have worked on building at least half as numerous an ICBM and nuclear force as the US.

"An arsenal between 500 to 1000 should be perfectly fine, unless one day they want to be able to first strike the US (unlikely)."

This is backwards. A country would need more nukes if they're aim is to guarantee a MAD in second strike. You can only lose nukes if you suffer a first strike, not gain any more. We've already established beyond any doubt that US nuclear forces are strong enough a deterrence no country on earth would even entertain the idea of performing a first strike on the US if they weren't suicidal. China isn't suicidal since it is running on 30% and already nearing the US. When it runs as effectively and efficiently as developed economies, China would be several times bigger than the US. Why be suicidal in such a position and invite nuclear attack? Again it is the US that has every plan and desire to perform nuclear first strike on China, NOT the other way around.

500 to 1000 warheads is NOT perfectly fine. If US performed a perfect first strike, it could take out most of those 500 to 1000 warheads, leaving China with only the SLBMs and some well hidden mobile ICBMs and underground tunnel missiles to perform secondary strike against a country with thousands of BMD missiles. Even with HGVs, this may not be enough for complete MAD.

So let's sum it up, China has all the resources and tech for 3000+ warheads and superior nuclear delivery for a cost that wouldn't be any greater than the cost for the US and Russia to hold onto the stockpiles they've been holding for decades. China has the need due to US threats and posturing. China has the money to do this and for the period 1950s to 2000s, China hasn't been spending the coin for such a massive inventory so money already saved. China has had numerous enrichment facilities that haven't stopped operating for decades and has the raw materials for enriched fuel. Put all that together. Believing China has 300 warheads is categorically false already. China has been comfortbale with only 500 warheads is highly unlikely considering the tensions with a country which holds 3000+ warheads and over 1000 ICBMs and SLBMs. China since 2000s have had the reasons, the means, the money, the raw materials, and the technology to have an equally sized nuclear arsenal with superior delivery in terms of HGV mounted ICBMs and whatnot. The least the CPC has done is get half way there with updated warheads and delivery technologies.
China is a modest country, by culture. You can only see the tip of an iceberg, if China let the world know, or guesstimated by the West, about the nuclear arsenal which could only be a fraction of what she really possesses.
 

escobar

Brigadier
maintenance is cheap compared to GDP and the cost of not maintaining that arsenal. But let's go with a bare minimum: Assuming their report is somewhat accurate, here's what I'd say the minimum arsenal actually is. This does not counting even a single 'new' 300x silos, and assumes they're all empty:

DF5A: 10x, 1x warhead each. 10x total. No change from their estimate.
DF5B: 10x, 5x warhead each, 50x total. No change from their estimate.
DF5C: 10x, 5x warhead each, 50x total. Replaces and recycles DF4, similar ratio as DF5A to B.
DF21L: 40x, 1x warhead each, 40x total. No change from their estimate.
DF26: 200x, 0.2x warhead each, 40x total. Replaces and recycles dumb bombs.
DF31s: 78x, 1x warhead each, 78x total. No change from their estimate.
DF41 (mobile): 24x, 4x warhead each, 96x total. 24x is from the estimated 2x TEL brigades in the report, pg. 445
DF41 (silo): 16x, 4x warhead each, 64x total.
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JL2: 72x, 1x warhead each, 72x total. No change from their estimate.

Total warheads: 500
Total intercontinental: 420

This is using their own sources as much as possible and is a minimum estimate. Essentially everything is backed by their own sources. I didn't do any guesswork here up except the following reasonable assumptions:

1. DF41 has 4x warheads each. See @Broccoli estimates above. This assumes no advance in design since the 90's.
2. DF41 is being actively deployed solely in the silos and TELs actively photographed and estimated from their sources.
3. DF5C has the exact same warhead numbers as DF5B, recycling DF4 materials at the same ratio as DF5A to DF5B.
4. DF26 uses official count of 200x, not their count of 100x, with same ratio as their estimate of 0.2x being non conventional.
5. DF4 and dumb bombs have been retired/recycled due to high maintenance cost and low capability, which they admit is likely.
DF-26 not intercontinental...
 

ougoah

Colonel
Registered Member
DF-26 not intercontinental...

He assumed 20% of the photographed inventory of DF-26 carry nuclear warheads. It was used as a way to count nuclear warhead assuming missiles have their own warheads rather than limited warheads being switched to different missiles according to range required for those warheads - highly unlikely if not downright impossible since there is not time to take warheads from IRBMs and MRBMs in case you need to instantly fire all your ICBMs and vice versa.
 

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