The Heritage Foundation’s The Foundry reports on China’s Nuclear Capabilities saying, “As Presidents Hu Jintao and Barack Obama meet in Washington, DC, it is important to note that this is different from Cold War era summits, as the United States and China share far more common interests, including economic concerns, than the US and the USSR ever did.”
The Foundry then points out that China is modernizing its nuclear arsenal with new warheads and a new ballistic missile submarine (one), while the US does not have a modernization program for its nuclear arsenal.
However, what The Foundry doesn’t say tells a different story.
The US has 18 Ohio class nuclear-powered submarines. Fourteen of these so called out-dated submarines carries 24 (each carry multiple warheads) Trident II SLBMs (updated in the 1990s), and four are capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles with either conventional or nuclear warheads.
The oldest Ohio class submarine is thirty-five and the latest fourteen. Considering how well the US military cares for its operational equipment, I am sure they are well maintained.
In 2005 and 2006, the Department of Defense’s annual report on China’s military forces included a detailed table of China’s ballistic missiles. The table suggested that China had 250-296 launchers with 793-916 missiles of seven types. Of these, approximately 105 are thought to be armed with nuclear warheads. Source: FAS
In comparison, the Arms Control Association says, “The United States has approximately 500 operational tactical weapons, and approximately 2,645 inactive warheads (with a total of more than 5,000).”
In fact, France, Russia and the United Kingdom each have more nuclear weapons than China.
Why is the Heritage Foundation making a big deal of the fact that China has one ballistic missile submarine and is updating its nuclear arsenal with more modern equipment?
How much of a difference is there in the death and destruction caused by 105 nuclear bombs compared to 500?
Learn from experts why China is not a Threat
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