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Nuclear Powers Advancing Weapon Systems: SIPRI

Nuclear Powers Advancing Weapon Systems: SIPRI

In 2023, nine nuclear-armed nations, including the US, Russia, France, China, India, and Pakistan, continued modernizing their nuclear arsenals and deploying new nuclear-capable weapon systems, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). China's nuclear arsenal notably increased from 410 warheads in January 2023 to 500 by January 2024 and is expected to keep growing.

SIPRI's analysis revealed that approximately 2,100 deployed warheads were maintained in a high state of operational alert on ballistic missiles, with nearly all belonging to Russia or the US. For the first time, China is believed to have placed some of its warheads on high operational alert as well.

The SIPRI report indicated that the nine nuclear-armed states—the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel—are continuously modernizing their nuclear arsenals. Several of these nations deployed new nuclear-armed or nuclear-capable weapon systems throughout 2023. As of January 2024, the global inventory of nuclear warheads was estimated at 12,121, with around 9,585 in military stockpiles ready for potential use. About 3,904 of these warheads were deployed with missiles and aircraft, an increase of 60 from January 2023, while the remainder were in central storage.

China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea are all advancing capabilities to deploy multiple warheads on ballistic missiles, a technology already possessed by Russia, France, the UK, the US, and now China. This capability could rapidly increase the number of deployed warheads and allow these countries to target more sites.

The report highlighted that Russia and the US together hold nearly 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons. While their military stockpiles remained relatively stable in 2023, Russia reportedly deployed around 36 more warheads with operational forces than in January 2023. Transparency regarding nuclear forces has diminished in both countries since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, heightening the debate around nuclear-sharing arrangements.

India's nuclear arsenal stood at 172 stored warheads as of January 2024, with Pakistan at 170. Both countries continued to develop new nuclear delivery systems in 2023. India slightly expanded its nuclear arsenal and is increasingly focusing on longer-range weapons capable of reaching targets in China. Depending on future strategic decisions, China could potentially have as many intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) as either Russia or the US by the decade's end. Despite its rapid expansion, China’s nuclear stockpile is still expected to remain significantly smaller than those of Russia or the US.

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Nuclear Powers Advancing Weapon Systems: SIPRI

Nuclear Powers Advancing Weapon Systems: SIPRI

In 2023, nine nuclear-armed nations, including the US, Russia, France, China, India, and Pakistan, continued modernizing their nuclear arsenals and deploying new nuclear-capable weapon systems, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). China's nuclear arsenal notably increased from 410 warheads in January 2023 to 500 by January 2024 and is expected to keep growing.

SIPRI's analysis revealed that approximately 2,100 deployed warheads were maintained in a high state of operational alert on ballistic missiles, with nearly all belonging to Russia or the US. For the first time, China is believed to have placed some of its warheads on high operational alert as well.

The SIPRI report indicated that the nine nuclear-armed states—the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel—are continuously modernizing their nuclear arsenals. Several of these nations deployed new nuclear-armed or nuclear-capable weapon systems throughout 2023. As of January 2024, the global inventory of nuclear warheads was estimated at 12,121, with around 9,585 in military stockpiles ready for potential use. About 3,904 of these warheads were deployed with missiles and aircraft, an increase of 60 from January 2023, while the remainder were in central storage.

China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea are all advancing capabilities to deploy multiple warheads on ballistic missiles, a technology already possessed by Russia, France, the UK, the US, and now China. This capability could rapidly increase the number of deployed warheads and allow these countries to target more sites.

The report highlighted that Russia and the US together hold nearly 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons. While their military stockpiles remained relatively stable in 2023, Russia reportedly deployed around 36 more warheads with operational forces than in January 2023. Transparency regarding nuclear forces has diminished in both countries since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, heightening the debate around nuclear-sharing arrangements.

India's nuclear arsenal stood at 172 stored warheads as of January 2024, with Pakistan at 170. Both countries continued to develop new nuclear delivery systems in 2023. India slightly expanded its nuclear arsenal and is increasingly focusing on longer-range weapons capable of reaching targets in China. Depending on future strategic decisions, China could potentially have as many intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) as either Russia or the US by the decade's end. Despite its rapid expansion, China’s nuclear stockpile is still expected to remain significantly smaller than those of Russia or the US.

 

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