NBC Weapons: November 16, 2002


While China is generally seen as a major nuclear power, they apparently aren't. The best estimates of China's nuclear arsenal indicate some 400 weapons. About 250 of these are strategic, to be used on medium range bombers, about a hundred land based missiles (not all of them ICBMs) and a dozen on China's only ballistic missile sub (which is still a work in progress). Another 150 weapons are meant for tactical use. Most of these would be used by shorter range bombers, heavy artillery and some short range missiles. China has put more money into developing more modern weapons, and system to deliver them, than into weapons and delivery vehicles themselves. This means that China is not stuck with a large, expensive to maintain, arsenal of older weapons. This was the trap the Russians fell into when they engaged the U.S. in a nuclear arms race. 


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