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former IAEA Director-General

Country Profiles

Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: The United States

April 2014

Updated: November 2016

This profile summarizes the major arms control agreements, regimes, initiatives, and practices that the United States subscribes to and those that it does not. It also describes the major weapons programs, policies, and holdings of the United States, as well as its proliferation record. This profile is one of a series focused on the arms control record and status of key states, all of which are available on the Arms Control Association’s website at http://www.armscontrol.org.

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

 

Signed

Ratified

Biological Weapons Convention

1972

1975

Chemical Weapons Convention

1993

1997

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

-The Senate rejected the accord Oct. 13, 1999. [1]

1996

- - -

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)

-Recognized as one of five nuclear-weapon states.

1968

1970

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

-Party to two of the five protocols.[2]

1982

1995

Outer Space Treaty

1967

1967

Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty

1990

1992

Ottawa Mine Ban Convention

-Stockpiles some 10.4 million antipersonnel landmines. [3]

- - -

- - -

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)

1980

1982

CPPNM 2005 Amendment [4]

- - -

- - -

International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism

2005

- - -

 


 

Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Australia Group: Member.

Missile Technology Control Regime: Member.

Nuclear Suppliers Group: Member.

Wassenaar Arrangement: Member.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol: Signed in 1998, entered into force in January 2009.

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism: Co-founder with Russia.

Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation: Participant.

Proliferation Security Initiative: Founder.

UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1673: The United States has filed reports on its activities to fulfill the resolutions and volunteered to provide assistance to other states.

Major Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

Biological Weapons:

In the early 1970s, the United States destroyed its entire stockpile of biological weapons, which had been developed between 1943 and 1969. In recent years, the United States has steeply increased funding for biodefense programs, which some independent analysts argue could also lend themselves to offensive weapons research and development. [5]

In 2001, the Bush administration opposed and killed an effort dating back to 1995 to augment the Biological Weapons Convention with a legally binding verification protocol. U.S. officials said the protocol would be too burdensome on legitimate governments and private biodefense programs, while at the same time failing to deter cheaters. The Obama administration has not changed this basic position.

Chemical Weapons:

Behind Russia, the United States declared the second-largest stockpile of chemical agents. In October 2010, the United States announced that it had destroyed 24,488 tons of chemical materials, representing 80% of its original stockpile. On January 21, 2011 the United States completed the destruction of the Deseret Chemical Depot’s chemical weapons stockpile, hitting the milestone of destroying 90% of its stockpile. [6] However, due to environmental concerns requiring that materials at certain facilities be neutralized rather than incinerated, the United States does not expect to complete destruction until 2021, nine years after the Chemical Weapons Convention deadline. The December 1, 2011 meeting of the states party to this treaty reaffirmed the April 2012 deadline, but did not specify that countries that failed to meet it would be in violation of the pact. [7]

Conventional Weapons Trade:

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been the world’s preeminent conventional arms seller. A 2009 Congressional Research Service study reported that, over the previous eight years, the United States agreed to $166.3 billion in global arms sales. This is more than double that of the second-largest exporter, Russia, which agreed to arms sales worth $74 billion over the same time period. [8] In 2010, the United States again ranked first, and made $21.3 billion in worldwide transfer agreements. [9]

The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview:

In May 2010, for the first time, the U.S. government revealed the size of its active nuclear stockpile. It announced that as of September 2009, the United States possessed 5,113 active nuclear warheads, including tactical, strategic, and non-deployed weapons. The U.S. government updated the size of the stockpile prior to the 2015 NPT Review Conference, declaring an arsenal of 4,717 active nuclear warheads as of September 30, 2014. According to the March 2015 New START declaration, the United States has 1,597 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 785 intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine launched ballistic missiles, and strategic bombers.Thousands of additional warheads have been retired and await dismantlement. As of 2016, the United States has a total of 7,100 nuclear warheads. According to the September 2016 New START declaration, the United States has 1,367 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 681 ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers. In May 2016 the Defense Department announced that as of September 2016, 2015 the United States possessed 4,571 active and inactive nuclear warheads].  Under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the US will reduce its deployed warheads to 1550 by 2018.

Delivery Systems

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles

The United States Air Force fields approximately 450 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). The Minuteman III has a range of over 6,000 miles. Each missile is equipped with either a 300 kt W87 warhead, or a 335 kt W78 warhead. In the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, the Obama administration announced its plans to “de-MIRV” the existing missiles, removing the second and third warhead deployed on some of the Minuteman IIIs. Under New START, the United States will reduced to 400 deployed ICBMs.

Submarines

The U.S. Navy currently has 14 Ohio-class submarines, two of which are undergoing overhaul of their nuclear reactors at any given time. The remaining 12 are available for deployment, with seven submarines based out of Bangor, Washington and five in Kings Bay, Georgia. The submarines have 24 missile tubes for the Trident II SLBMs, but under New START, only 20 will be operational. The Ohio-class submarines have a life-span of 42 years. The Department of Defense is currently developing a new ballistic missile submarine to enter into service as the Ohio-class submarines retire.

All Ohio-class subs carry the Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The Trident II was first deployed in 1990.  The Trident II missile holds up to eight warheads, and carries the W88, a 475 kt warhead, and the 100 kt W76 warhead. The U.S. fields a total of 288 Trident II missiles with about 1,152 warheads, which will drop to 240 missiles and about 1,100 warheads under New START. A life extension program is expected to continue the Trident II’s deployment into 2042.[10] The Trident II will soon be the only MIRV’d strategic missile remaining in the nuclear arsenal.[11]

Strategic Bombers

The United States Air Force currently operates 76 B-52H Stratofortress bombers, and 18 B-2A Spirit bombers that can be armed with either nuclear or conventional weapons, making them dual-capable. The Air Force will deploy 60 nuclear-capable bombers under New START.

The B-2 is capable of carrying sixteen gravity bombs. The B-52H is capable of carrying eight gravity bombs, or twenty cruise missiles. Unlike ICBM’s or SLBM’s, strategic bombers can be visibly forward deployed as an extended deterrent.[12] In addition to strategic bombers, the U.S. also employs several fighter-bombers that serve in a dual-capable role. Historically the F-16 Fighting Falcon was the cornerstone of this aspect of nuclear deterrence, carrying the B-61 gravity bomb. However, the new stealth F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, will replace the F-16 as the U.S. Air Force’s primary nuclear capable fighter-bomber.[13] The Air Force is seeking 80 to 100 new bombers for the mid-2020’s. [14]

Nuclear Doctrine
In the 2010 NPR, the United States announced that it “will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations.” It reserved the right to make any adjustments to this assurance “that may be warranted by the evolution and proliferation of the biological weapons threat.” It was not prepared to make a declaration that the “sole purpose” of its nuclear weapons was to deter a nuclear attack, but added that it would “work to establish conditions under which such a policy could be safely adopted.”

The United States has conducted 1,030 total nuclear tests, which is more than any other state—indeed, it’s more than all other states combined. The first test occurred July 16, 1945, and the most recent test took place Sept. 23, 1992.

The United States is the only nation to have used nuclear weapons against another country, dropping two bombs (one apiece) on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

In President Barack Obama’s April 2009 speech in Prague, he declared that it was the policy of the United States “to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Fissile Material

The United States has publicly declared that it no longer produces fissile material for weapons purposes. The United States halted the production of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) for weapons in 1964 and ceased plutonium separation for weapons in 1992. As of 2011, U.S. fissile stockpiles for weapons total about 38 declared metric tons of plutonium and 260 declared metric tons of HEU. [15] Under an agreement finalized in 2000 with Russia, the United States is committed to disposing of 34 metric tons of excess weapons-grade plutonium. The project was delayed for several years, but in April 2010 the United States and Russia signed a protocol that amended and updated the 2000 agreement. Both countries now aim to begin actual disposition in 2018.

In April 2010, the United States hosted the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC. Participants included 47 countries, 38 of which were represented at the head of state or head of government level, and the heads of the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the European Union. At the summit, the participants unanimously adopted the goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear material in the next four years. The United States also attended the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, on March 26-27, 2012. Washington will host a fourth summit in 2016.


Proliferation Record

A close relationship exists between the U.S. and British nuclear weapons programs, including U.S. supply of the Trident SLBM to the United Kingdom.

The United States is also the only nation known to station its nuclear weapons in other countries. Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey all host U.S. tactical nuclear gravity bombs as part of NATO nuclear sharing agreements. These estimated 200 weapons remain under U.S. custody during peacetime, but some could be released to U.S. allies for delivery in times of war.


Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

In 2002, the United States and Russia concluded the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT). Under SORT, the two countries agreed to reduce their operationally deployed strategic nuclear forces to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by Dec. 31, 2012. However, the treaty expires that same day, freeing up both countries to expand their arsenals afterwards if they so choose. In February 2009, the U.S. government completed its reductions to 2,200 strategic deployed weapons, meeting the upper limit under SORT over three years early.

In addition, SORT did not include verification measures. Instead, it relied on the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty’s (START) verification regime, which provided for the United States and Russia to exchange information, visit, and monitor each other’s nuclear weapons complexes. START expired in December 2009.

In April 2010, the United States and Russia signed a successor to the original START accord. The new treaty, known as New START, requires that both sides reduce their arsenals to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear weapons on no more than 700 ICMBs, SLMBs, and bombers within seven years of the treaty’s entry into force. In addition, it restores many of the verification measures from the original START accord. The treaty went into force on February 5, 2011. As of September 2012, the U.S. had 1,722 deployed strategic nuclear warheads. [16]

The United States is party to the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, but not to the 1999 Adapted CFE Treaty. The United States has led NATO in demanding that Russia withdraw its remaining military forces from Georgia and Moldova as a condition for ratification of the Adapted Treaty, which would replace the original treaty’s bloc and regional arms limits with national weapon ceilings.

The United States is also party to another European security instrument, the Open Skies Treaty, which facilitates unarmed reconnaissance flights over the territories of all states-parties.

The United States has signed and ratified protocols stating its intent to respect and not threaten the use of nuclear weapons against states-parties to the Latin American nuclear-weapon free zone treaty. It has signed but not ratified similar protocols to the African and South Pacific zones. It has not signed the protocols for the Central Asian or Southeast Asian zones.

The United States has been a leading proponent of negotiating a fissile material cutoff treaty at the 65-member Conference on Disarmament (CD). During the Bush administration, however, the United States dropped its support for seeking an “effectively verifiable” cutoff, claiming that a verification regime would be time-consuming to negotiate, costly to implement, and ultimately imperfect, potentially impinging on the national security interests of law-abiding states while not deterring determined cheaters. This contributed to the deadlock at the CD, which was unable to agree on an agenda throughout the entirety of the Bush administration’s tenure. In 2009, the Obama administration affirmed its support for a verifiable fissile material cutoff treaty. This was reiterated in a joint statement with the President of the Russian Federation Vladamir Putin on June 18, 2012. However, countries such as Pakistan have prevented negotiations on such a treaty from making progress, and as of this writing the stalemate at the CD continues.

Within the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), the United States has joined with many other countries to promote new restrictions on the use of anti-vehicle mines, but that effort has been blocked by China, Pakistan, and Russia. The United States announced in June 2007 that it was dropping its opposition to negotiations by CCW states on restricting cluster munitions. But the United States said it has no position on the potential outcome of the negotiations except that an agreement should “protect civilians while taking into account security requirements.” The United States declined to join a Norwegian-led effort outside the CCW to negotiate a treaty to ban cluster munitions that “cause unacceptable harm to civilians.”

In 2009, the United States declared its support for an arms trade treaty “that contains the highest possible, legally binding standards for the international transfer of conventional weapons.” [17] Thomas Countryman, the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation reaffirmed the Obama administration’s support for an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on April 16, 2012 when he said that “this agreement would be an important addition to global security and stability.” [18] Talks at the United Nations to create an ATT are being held in July 2012.

Although the United States has elected not to join the Ottawa Mine Ban Convention, the United States is not known to have used antipersonnel landmines since the 1991 Persian Gulf War. In 2004, the United States announced that it would phase out the use of any type of mine lacking self-destruct or self-deactivation features. Washington has also led the world in financial contributions to global demining efforts.

In July 2005, the United States launched an initiative with India to repeal most U.S. and multilateral civilian nuclear trade restrictions on India. In 2006, the U.S. Congress amended its own domestic legislation to allow nuclear trade with India to proceed. The two governments later concluded a “123 Agreement,” which was approved by Congress and signed into law in October 2008. The previous month, India received a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group. In 2011 the United States introduced a “Food for Thought” paper on the possibility of allowing India to join the NSG. However, the United States and India are still overcoming roadblocks to implement the 2008 agreement. The United States led a 2003 invasion of Iraq citing its alleged pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. No evidence has been discovered to support these allegations.


ENDNOTES

1. The Senate could vote on the treaty again. The George W. Bush administration did not support the treaty. Since taking office, President Obama has repeatedly pledged to secure the Senate’s advice and consent on the treaty, but no action has been taken thus far.

2. The United States has not ratified Protocol III on Incendiary Weapons, Protocol IV on Blinding Lasers, and Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War. It also has not approved an amendment that extends the convention’s application beyond just interstate conflicts to intrastate conflicts.

3. International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Landmine Monitor Report 2006, July 2006, 1,236 pp.

4. This legislation is currently waiting for Senate approval

5. Roffey, Roger, Hart, John, and Kuhlau, Frida, “Crucial Guidance: A Code of Conduct for Biodefense Scientists,” Arms Control Today, September 2006, p. 17.

6. U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, Army Agency Completes Mission to Destroy Chemical Weapons, January 23, 2012.

7. Horner, Daniel. “Accord Reached on CWC’s 2012 Deadline.” Arms Control Today, January/February 2012, p. 38.

8. Grimmett, Richard F., Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2002-2009, Congressional Research Service, September 10, 2010, 84 pp.

9. Grimmett, Richard F., Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2003-2010, Congressional Research Service, September 22, 2011, 89 pp.

10. Missile Threat, "UGM-133 Trident D-5." Last modified 10 20, 2012. Accessed June 3, 2013. http://missilethreat.com/missiles/ugm-133-trident-d-5/.

11. Designation-Systems.net, "Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles: UGM-133." Last modified January 18, 2008. Accessed June 3, 2013. http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/m-133.html.

12. Department of Defense, Nuclear Posture Review Report, April 2010.  June 2013, 72pp.

13. Kristense, Hans. "Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons."Federation of American Scientists. Special Report No 3, May 2012, 86pp. http://www.fas.org/_docs/Non_Strategic_Nuclear_Weapons.pdf (accessed June 3, 2013).

14. Reed, John. DoDBuzz, "AFA: New bomber program 'underwa'y." Last modified February 24, 2012. Accessed June 3, 2013. http://www.dodbuzz.com/2012/02/24/afa-new-bomber-program-underway/.

15. International Panel on Fissile Materials, Global Fissile Material Report, 2011, January 2011, 49pp.

16. "U.S. Lowers Nuclear Deployments Under Treaty," Global Security Newswire, June 4, 2012,http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/us-slashes-nuclear-deployments-under-new-start/

17. Clinton, Hillary Rodham, “U.S. Support for an Arms Trade Treaty,” U.S. Department of State, October 14, 2009, http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2009a/10/130573.htm.

18. Countryman, Thomas, “Positions for the United States in the Upcoming Arms Trade Treaty Conference,” U.S. Department of State, April 16, 2012,  http://www.state.gov/t/isn/rls/rm/188002.htm

Country Profiles

Fact Sheet Categories:

Posted: April 1, 2014

Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: Russia

March 2017

Updated: March 2017

This profile summarizes the major arms control agreements, regimes, initiatives, and practices that Russia subscribes to and those that it does not. It also describes the major weapons programs, policies, and holdings of Russia, as well as its proliferation record. This profile is one of a series focused on the arms control record and status of key states, all of which are available here.

Contents

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

  • The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview
  • Delivery Systems
  • Nuclear Doctrine
  • Fissile Material
  • Proliferation Record

Biological Weapons

Chemical Weapons

Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

  • New START
  • Nuclear Reduction Beyond New START
  • Conference on Disarmament (CD)
  • Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
  • Nuclear Security Summits
  • Syrian Chemical Weapons
  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)


Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

Signed

Ratified

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

1968

1970

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

1996

2000

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)

1980

1983

CPPNM 2005 Amendment

---

2008

Chemical Weapons Convention

1993

1997

Biological Weapons Convention

1972

1975

International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism

2005

2007


Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Group

Status

Australia Group

Not a member, but Russia claims to adhere to the group’s rules and control list

Missile Technology Control Regime

Member

Nuclear Suppliers Group

Member

Wassenaar Arrangement

Member

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol

Signed in 2000, entered into force in 2007

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism

Co-founder with the United States

Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation

Participant

Proliferation Security Initiative

Participant

UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1673

Russia has filed reports on its activities to fulfill the resolutions and volunteered to provide assistance to other states


Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview

According to the September 2016 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) data exchange, Russia has 1,796 strategic warheads deployed on 508 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and strategic bombers. Under New START, Russia is required to reduce its deployed treaty accountable warheads to 1,550 by 2018. As of 2017, the Federation of American Scientists estimated that Russia possesses a nuclear arsenal consisting of a total of 7,000 warheads, including approximately 700 strategic warheads in reserve, roughly 2,000 tactical warheads, and approximately 2,510 warheads that have been retired and are awaiting dismantlement.

Delivery Systems

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM)

  • As of 2016, Russia’s estimated 316 ICBMs, which carry approximately 1,076 warheads, include the:
    • RS-12M - three variants: ninety RS-12M (Topol [SS-25 Sickle]), eighteen mobile RS-12M1 (Topol-M [SS-27 Mod 1]), and sixty silo RS-12M2 (Topol-M [SS-27 Mod 1]); each carries a single 800 kt warhead, 10,500-11,000 km range.
    • RS-24 Yars (SS-27 Mod 2) - mobile and silo versions, 70 mobile missiles and 12 silo missiles, each carries four 100kt MIRV warheads, 10,500 km range.
    • RS-18 (SS-19 Stiletto) – 20 missiles, each carries six 400 kt multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), 10,000 km range.
    • RS-20V (SS-18 Satan) – 46 missiles, each carries ten 500-800 kt MIRV warheads, 10,200-16,000 km range.
    • RS-26 Rubezh - development in progress. A successful May 2012 test displayed an operational range of 5,800 km. It is unknown whether the Rubezh will carry a single warhead or MIRVs.
    • RS-28 (SS-30 Sarmat) - dubbed the “Son of Satan” or “Satan 2”, Russia is currently developing the RS-28 to replace the RS-20V by the end of the decade, with deployment expected to occur in the early 2020s. It is reportedly being developed by the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau, also known as the State Rocket Center (SRC) Makayev. The Sarmat is expected to be equipped with 10 MIRVs, though some sources list an exaggerated 15 MIRVs.
    • Barguzin - Russian defense officials have indicated that a rail-based version of the SS-27 Mod 2 (intended to revive and upstage the former Soviet nuclear trains), called the Barguzin, is in the early stages of design development. Russia successfully completed an ejection test in November 2016 and expects to that nuclear trains will enter into service between 2018 and 2020 and that they will remain in service until 2040.  
  • All of Russia’s ICBMs were developed and entered service from the 1980’s to the 1990’s with the exception of the RS-24 which entered service in 2010 and RS-26 and Rs-28 which are still under development.
  • While the number of Russian ICBMs is set to fall below 300 by the early 2020s, Russia is currently modernizing its land-based missiles and plans to increase the share of missiles equipped with multiple warheads.  

Submarines and Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBM)

Submarines:

  • Russia is capable of delivering up to 768 warheads through 6 Delta IV submarines, 3 Delta III submarines (only two of which were operational as of 2016—the other was undergoing overhaul), and 3 of the new Borey-class submarines (Russia is developing five upgraded Borey-A class submarines to be delivered by the mid-2020s to replace ageing Delta III and IV submarines).
    • Delta IV - part of Russia’s Northern Fleet, armed with 16 RSM-54 Sineva (SS-N-23 Skiff) missiles, reportedly upgraded to carry the new R-29RMU2 Layner missiles (a modified Sineva missile).The Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau was contracted to develop the R-29RMU2.
    • Delta III - part of Russia’s Pacific Fleet, armed with 16 RSM-50 Volna (SS-N-18 Stingray) missiles.
    • Borey class and Borey-A class –armed with 16 RSM-56 Bulava missiles.

Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBM):

  • Russia’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles include the RSM-50, RSM-54, RSM-56, and reportedly the R-29RMU2.
    • RSM-50 - deployed in 1978, equipped with three 50kt MIRVs, 6,500 km range, inventory includes 32 deployed RSM-50 missiles with 96 warheads.
    • RSM-54 - deployed in 2007, equipped with four 100 kt MIRVs, 8,000 km range, inventory includes 96 deployed RSM-54 missiles with 384 warheads.
    • RSM-56 (Bulava) - deployed in 2014, equipped with six 100 kt MIRVs, 8,000+ km range, inventory includes 48 deployed RSM-56 missiles with 288 warheads. Since its inaugural test in 2004, the Bulava missile has a long record of failed launches, the most recent being in 2016.  
    • R-29RMU2- several sources claim it entered service in 2014, some have speculated that the missile can be equipped with up to 10 warheads, however, other estimates put the number at 4 warheads.

Strategic Bombers

  • The Russian Air Force currently operates a total of 60-70 long-range bombers: approximately 25 Tu-95 MS6 (Bear-H6) long-range bombers, 30 Tu-95 MS16 (Bear-H16) long-range bombers, and 13 Tu-160 (Blackjack) supersonic long-range bombers.
  • All three aircraft are categorized as strategic heavy bombers and are limited by the New START Treaty. Only 50 of the bombers are believed to be deployed with an estimated carrying capacity of 616 cruise missiles and an unspecified number of gravity bombs.
  • The estimated 68 strategic bombers do not all regularly carry nuclear payloads but have the capacity to deliver up to 786 cruise missiles in total.
  • The specific carry capacity of each bomber is as follows: 
    • Tu-95 MS6 - capable of carrying 6 nuclear Kh-55 (AS-15A) strategic cruise missiles. An estimated 84 AS-15A missiles are deployed as of 2017.
    • Tu-95 MS16 - capable of carrying up to 16 nuclear Kh-55 (AS-15A) strategic cruise missiles. An estimated 400 AS-15A missiles are deployed as of 2017.
    • Tu-160 – capable of carrying up to 12 Kh-55 (AS-15B) cruise missiles or 12 Kh-15 (AS-16) short range attack missiles. An estimated 132 AS-15B missiles are deployed as of 2017.
    • All three bombers can be equipped with gravity bombs.
  • The Russian Air Force also operates a multipurpose medium-range supersonic bomber, the Tu-22M, which is considered a tactical nuclear delivery platform for various types of cruise missiles and is not limited by New START.
  • Russia has begun studying designs for a next-generation of strategic bombers meant to replace the entire fleet of Tu-95’s, Tu-160’s, and Tu-22M’s. The new bomber program is expected to develop a prototype by the early 2020’s.

Nuclear Doctrine

Under Russia’s standing Military Doctrine, most recently updated in December 2014, “The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and (or) its allies, as well as in response to aggression against the Russian Federation that utilizes conventional weapons that threatens the very existence of the state.”

NATO and U.S. officials have expressed concern over Russian nuclear doctrine, particularly as it pertains to the limited use of nuclear weapons. Defense Department officials have said that Russian doctrine includes a so-called “escalate to de-escalate” strategy, which envisions the limited first use of nuclear weapons to attempt to end a large-scale conventional conflict on terms favorable to Russia. However, some experts have called into question whether “escalate to de-escalate” is part of Russian doctrine. 

Fissile Material

Russia has publicly declared that it no longer produces fissile material (highly enriched uranium [HEU] and plutonium) for weapons purposes.

Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)

  • The Kremlin announced a halt to HEU production for weapons in 1989 and the cessation of plutonium production for weapons in 1994.
  • At the end of 2015, Russia’s HEU stockpile was estimated at 679 metric tons, with a margin of error of 120 metric tons (making it, absent the margin of error, the largest HEU stockpile). Approximately 20 metric tons are designated for civilian use, the second largest stockpile of civilian HEU after the United States.
  • Russia concluded a joint program in 2013, the U.S.-Russia Highly Enriched Uranium Purchase Agreement, in which Moscow downblended 500 metric tons of its excess weapons grade HEU into a reactor fuel unsuitable for bombs that it then sold to the United States as light water reactor fuel.
  • A second U.S. funded program, the Material Conversion and Consolidation project (MCC), blended down 16.8 metric tons of HEU by the end of 2014.

Plutonium

  • In April 2010, Russia closed its last plutonium production facility, although it has not discounted a return to producing separated plutonium for fast-breeder reactors in the future.
  • The weapon-grade plutonium stockpile is, as of 2016, estimated at 181 metric tons, with an 8 metric ton margin of error.
    • The weapons-grade stockpile is estimated at 128 ± 8 metric tons.
    • 53 metric tons are declared for civilian use.
  • Russia committed to disposing of 34 metric tons of excess plutonium under a 2000 agreement with the United States entitled the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA).
    • The project was delayed for several years, but in April 2010 the two nations signed a protocol that amended and updated the 2000 agreement, with the goal of beginning disposition in 2018.
    • However, in October 2016, Russia, citing the U.S. failure to meet its obligations under the agreement, suspended its implementation of the deal and conditioned the resumption of implementation on the lifting of all U.S. sanctions against Russia and a restructuring of NATO’s forces. Russia contends that U.S. plans to abandon the conversion of plutonium into mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel in favor of a cheaper and faster downblending method does not meet the terms of the deal because this alternative method would not change the composition of the plutonium from weapons-grade to reactor-grade.  

Proliferation Record

  • The United States and independent analysts have long cited Russia as a key supplier of nuclear and missile-related goods and technology to a variety of countries, including states of proliferation concern such as Iran and Syria.
    • In response, the United States has often levied sanctions on Russian entities believed to be involved in such proliferation activities.
    • Beginning in the mid-2000s, the number and frequency of Russian entities placed under U.S. proliferation sanctions declined, possibly as a result of an increasing Russian commitment to controlling sensitive exports; however, that number has greatly increased since 2014.
  • Russia remains a source of illicit sensitive technology pertaining to missile proliferation.
  • The vast former Soviet biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons complexes, including their former scientists, have also been seen as a potential source of arms, materials, and knowledge for other regimes or non-state actors.
    • The United States and other countries have pursued programs dedicated to mitigating this potential threat by helping Russia and other Soviet states secure or destroy facilities, materials, and weapon systems, and gainfully employ former scientists in non-arms related work.
    • However, there has been a significant decline in U.S.-Russian nonproliferation cooperation since 2013, despite continued cooperation in cleaning out weapon-grade material from third countries such as Poland in 2016.
  • After suspending the PMDA, Russia likewise suspended its participation in a 2013 cooperative agreement on nuclear and energy related research and terminated a third agreement from 2010 on exploring options for converting research reactors from weapons-usable fuel.

Biological Weapons

  • The Soviet Union maintained an extensive offensive germ weapons program, including research into plague, anthrax, smallpox, tularemia, glanders, and hemorrhagic fever.
  • The United States has repeatedly voiced concern over the status of Russia’s inherited Soviet germ warfare program. However, in 2011, Russia maintained that it is in compliance with the BWC.
  • Nonetheless, the State Department in April 2016 maintained that Russia’s annual BWC confidence-building measures submissions since 1992 have “not satisfactorily documented whether this program [the inherited Soviet offensive biological research and development program] was completely destroyed or diverted to peaceful purposes in accordance with Article II of the BWC.” 
  • The lack of transparency surrounding this program prevents the U.S. from reaching more concrete conclusions.

Chemical Weapons

  • Upon entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on Dec. 5, 1997, Russia declared that it possessed approximately 40,000 metric tons of chemical agents, the largest amount in the world at the time. A dispute lingers over whether Russia has fully declared all of its chemical weapons-related facilities and past production.
  • In August 2016, Russia declared that it had destroyed 94 percent of its stockpile and would destroy the rest by the end of 2017. 
  • The State Department stated in 2016 that it “cannot certify that Russia has met its obligations under the Convention: for declaration of its CWPFs [chemical weapons production facilities]; its CW development facilities; or its CW stockpiles.”
  • Russia has destroyed all of its Category 2 and 3 chemical weapons.

Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
The 1987 INF Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union requires the United States and Russia to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. The treaty resulted in the United States and the Soviet Union destroying a total of 2,692 short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missiles by the treaty’s implementation deadline of June 1, 1991.

However, in July 2014 the U.S. State Department officially assessed Russia to be in violation of the agreement citing Russian production and testing of an illegal ground-launched cruise missile. The State Department reiterated this conclusion in 2015 and 2016.

For its part, Russia has raised concerns about U.S. compliance with the treaty. 

New START
In April 2010, the United States and Russia signed a successor to the original START accord. The new treaty, known as New START, entered into force on Feb. 5, 2011 and requires that both sides reduce their arsenals to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear weapons on no more than 700 ICMBs, SLBMs, and bombers by 2018. In addition, the treaty contains rigorous monitoring and verification provisions to ensure compliance with the agreement.

Nuclear Reduction Beyond New START
In February 2013, President Obama announced that the United States intended to engage with Russia to further reduce deployed strategic warheads by one-third below the New START limit to around 1,100 to 1,000 deployed warheads. However, there has been little progress toward achieving such reductions due to the deterioration of U.S.-Russia relations in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Russia’s insistence that other issues, such as limits on U.S. missile defenses, be part of negotiations on further reductions.

Conference on Disarmament (CD)
Established in 1979 as a multilateral disarmament negotiating forum by the international community, Russia has been a regular and active participant in the CD. Russia, along with China, has attached significant priority in the CD to negotiating an agreement on the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS). However, the United States and other countries have opposed this initiative. In keeping with its official stance in support of a ban on the production of fissile material for weapons purposes, Russia submitted a draft program of work to the CD in March 2016 calling for the establishment of a working group to recommend “effective measures to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices.” In 2016, Russia also proposed that the CD should negotiate a new convention, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Chemical Terrorism, in order to fill several gaps it claims exist in the CWC.

Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
The Russian government has signed and ratified protocols stating its intent to respect and not threaten the use of nuclear weapons against states-parties to the Latin America and South Pacific nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties. In 2011 Russia signed and ratified Protocol I and II for the African zone. In 2014, it ratified the protocols for the Central Asian zone but has yet to ratify the protocols for the Southeast Asian zone.

Nuclear Security Summits
Russian participation in Nuclear Security Summits includes the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington, DC, the 2012 NSS in Seoul, and the 2014 NSS in The Hague. Russia did not participate in the most recent NSS, held in Washington, DC in 2016. The Russian boycott of the 2016 NSS came amid continued souring of U.S.-Russian relations. At the time, Moscow declared, “We do not see added value coming out of these meetings.”

Syrian Chemical Weapons
In September 2013, in the aftermath of the large-scale use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, Russia reached an agreement with the United States to account, inspect, control, and eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons. Cooperation was contingent upon a United States pledge not to conduct a military strike on the country. By July 2014, Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile had been successfully removed from the country and flagged for destruction following a broad multilateral operation. However, concerns have been raised about the accuracy of Syria’s declaration.

In September 2014 the Organisation for the Prohibition of chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed that chlorine gas was being used in Syria. The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Mar. 6, 2015 condemning the use of chlorine gas in Syria. Russia has officially supported the UN resolution but maintained that only the OPCW can determine violations of the CWC and that it did not accept the use of sanctions under Chapter VII of the charter against Syria without confirming the use of chemical weapons. In August 2016, the third report of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism was released, finding that the Syrian government was responsible for chemical weapons attacks.  

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Russia took part in the negotiation of the July 2015 JCPOA, which limits and rolls back Iran’s nuclear program. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the accord "will favorably affect the general situation in the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf." Russia backed the JCPOA on the grounds of supporting nonproliferation especially since its borders fall well within the range of Iranian ballistic missiles. Furthermore, Russia stands to accrue significant economic gains in Iran with the lifting of nonproliferation sanctions. For example, in 2016 Russia concluded the delivery of an S-300 air defense missile system worth $800 million to Iran in a deal that had been suspended since 2010. In response to threats arising from the Trump administration to discontinue the JCPOA, Vladimir Voronkov, Russia’s ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, stated in January 2017 that it is “necessary to do everything possible to avoid damage” to the nuclear deal.

 

 

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Posted: April 1, 2014

Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: Iran

October 2015

Updated: October 2015

This profile details which major arms control agreements, regimes, initiatives, and practices that Iran subscribes to and those that it does not. It also describes the major weapons programs, policies, and holdings of Iran, as well as its proliferation record. This profile is one of a series focused on the arms control record and status of key states, all of which are available on the Arms Control Association’s Website at http://www.armscontrol.org.

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

 

Signed

Ratified

Biological Weapons Convention

1972

1973

Chemical Weapons Convention

1993

1997

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

1996

- - -

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)

1968

1970

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

- - -

- - -

Outer Space Treaty

1967

- - -

Ottawa Mine Ban Convention

- - -

- - -

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)*

- - -

- - -

CPPNM 2005 Amendment*

- - -

- - -

International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism

- - -

- - -

*Participated as observer


Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Australia Group: Not a member.

Missile Technology Control Regime: Not a member.

Nuclear Suppliers Group: Not a member.

Wassenaar Arrangement: Not a member.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol: Signed an additional protocol on Dec. 18, 2003. Iran submitted an initial declaration consistent with the protocol in 2004 and abided by the protocol for a brief period despite the fact that it has not entered into force. But in February 2006 Iran ended its voluntary implementation in response to adoption of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors resolution referring Tehran to the UN Security Council. As part of the July 2015 nuclear deal reached between Iran and the six countries known as the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States), Iran will implement its Additional Protocol and ratify it within eight years. Implemention of the additional protocol will likely begin formally in early 2016. 

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism: Not a participant.

Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation: Not a participant.

Proliferation Security Initiative: Not a participant.

UN Security Council Resolution 1540: Iran has filed the requested reports on its activities to fulfill the resolution.


Major Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

Biological Weapons:
The United States maintains that Iran’s biotechnology infrastructure gives it the ability to produce at least small quantities of biological weapons agents for offensive purposes. According to a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency report, Iran has previously conducted offensive biological weapons agent research and development and continues to seek dual-use biotechnology, which may support legitimate biotechnology activities, an offensive biological weapons program, or both. [1] U.S. officials have accused Iran of “probably” pursuing an offensive biological weapons capability in violation of the Biological Weapons Convention. [2] Iran denies that allegation.

Chemical Weapons:
Having suffered chemical weapon attacks during its eight-year war with Iraq, Iranian officials frequently speak about the dangers such arms pose. The United States, however, has sanctioned companies for providing dual-use chemicals to Iran.  An unclassified U.S. intelligence report says that “Iran maintains the capability to produce chemical warfare agents” as well as the ability “of weaponizing [chemical weapons] agents in a variety of delivery systems.” [3] Although an option exists for states-parties to request a challenge inspection of alleged weapons sites under the terms of the Chemical Weapons Convention, no state-party, including the United States, has called for such an inspection in Iran.

Missiles:

  • Ballistic Missiles: Iran is the only country not in possession of nuclear weapons to have produced or flight-tested ballistic missiles with ranges exceeding 2,000 kilometers. The Iranian missile program is largely based on North Korean and Russian designs and has benefited from Chinese technical assistance. With around 1,000 short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, Iran has one of the largest deployed ballistic missile forces in the Middle East.[4] Its most sophisticated deployed ballistic missile is the liquid-fueled Shahab-3. Based on the North Korean Nodong missile, the Shahab-3 has a range of about 1,300 kilometers. Variations of the Shahab-3, including the Ghadr-1, are reported to have a range of almost 2,000 kilometers. Iran also tested a more-precise version of the Shahab-3, the Emad, in September 2015. Iran has consistently said its emphasis the accuracy of its medium-range systems, rather than a focus on longer rangers. Iran has made progress in developing and testing solid-fueled missile technologies, which could significantly increase the mobility of Iran’s missile force. Iran first tested a two-stage solid fuel-propelled missile, the Sajjil-2, which has a reported range of roughly 2,000 kilometers, in 2007. It conducted several more tests through February 2011. If Iran attempts to develop a nuclear bomb, it will most likely use the Sejjil as a delivery vehicle.[5] Recent reports, however, indicate that sanctions are preventing Iran from developing the capacity to domestically produce solid-fueled motors.  This may also account for Iran's not having recently tested the Sejjil II.[6] In addition, a 2013 report by a UN panel of experts charged with overseeing the implementation of sanctions on Iran noted that the Sejjil II has not been sighted in over a year. Iran has also developed a two-stage, liquid-fueled, space launch vehicle (SLV), the Safir. Between February 2009 and February 2012 Iran successfully launched four satellites into space using the Safir SLV. It is believed that Iran is also developing a larger space launch vehicle, the Simorgh, which has yet to be tested.  A 2009 report by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) assessed that the Safir "can serve as a test bed for long-range ballistic missile technologies" and could serve as an IRBM if converted to a ballistic missile.
  • Cruise Missiles: Iran has acquired a variety of anti-ship cruise missiles, both through foreign sources and domestic production. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko confirmed in 2005 that Iran illegally procured six Kh-55 cruise missiles from Ukraine four years earlier. The Kh-55 is an air-launched nuclear-capable cruise missile with a range of up to 3,000 kilometers. China has also provided Iran with cruise missiles and technology.  A 2011 report from the Director of National Intelligence stated that despite export control legislation, Chinese firms and individuals continued to supply Iran with missile technology.[7] Iranian made missiles include the Nasr-1, claimed to be capable of destroying warships and military targets up to 3,000 tons. Iranian officials have also announced the large scale production and deployment of short-range cruise missiles including Zafar and Qader missiles. With a range of about 300 kilometers and capable of carrying a 1,000 kg warhead, the Khalid Farzh is Iran's most advanced missile.

Nuclear Weapons:
During the latter half of 2002, the IAEA began investigating two secret Iranian nuclear facilities, a heavy-water production plant near Arak and a gas centrifuge uranium-enrichment facility near Natanz. Since that time, the agency has discovered a series of clandestine nuclear activities, some of which violated Iran’s safeguards agreement with the agency. Much of Iran’s uranium-enrichment program is based on equipment and designs acquired through former Pakistani nuclear official A.Q. Khan’s secret supply network.

After the revelations of Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom launched negotiations with Iran to address international concerns about the intent and scope of its nuclear program. These negotiations collapsed in 2005. Subsequently, the IAEA Board of Governors declared Iran in noncompliance with its safeguards obligations and referred the matter to the UN Security Council. In 2006, China, Russia, and the United States joined the three European countries in diplomatic efforts to address Iran’s nuclear program. The six-country bloc is generally known as the P5+1, comprising the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany.

Since 2006, the Security Council has adopted a number of resolutions calling on Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment-related activities and cooperate fully with the IAEA investigation. In response to Iran’s refusal to comply with these demands, the council has introduced four rounds of sanctions targeting Iranian entities and individuals believed to be involved in Iran’s proliferation-related activities.

It relies on a variant of Pakistan's P-1 centrifuge, which is known to be crash-prone and unreliable. Iran has been developing more advanced designs capable of enriching uranium three times faster, but its efforts have been hampered by sanctions that prevent Iran from importing the necessary materials that it cannot produce domestically, such as a high-quality carbon fiber. In February 2013, the IAEA reported that Iran had begun installing IR-2M centrifgues at its Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz. Experts assess that when operational, these machines will be 3-4 times more efficient that the IR-1 models. Other advanced centrifuges are undergoing testing. In September 2009, the revelation of Fordow, a secret nuclear facility under construction near Qom, deepened international suspicions about Iran’s uranium enrichment activities. Iran has also refused to provide the IAEA with timely design information and access to nuclear facilities and persons or discuss outstanding concerns regarding a potential military dimension to its nuclear program.

In an unclassified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released Dec. 3, 2007, the U.S. intelligence community concluded with “high confidence” that Iran had “halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003” and expressed “moderate confidence” that the program had not been restarted.[8] The 2007 NIE defined “nuclear weapons program” as weapons design and weaponization activities, as well as covert uranium conversion and enrichment work. Since that time, Western intelligence agencies have reportedly assessed that Iran has resumed research related to weaponization, but has still not restarted all of the weapons-related activities shelved in 2003. An update of the 2007 NIE finished in 2011 appears to have maintained many of its core conclusions. Iran has consistently rejected allegations that it is pursuing nuclear weapons.

In October of 2009, Russia, France and the United States negotiated a draft agreement with Iran to transfer a portion of Iran’s low-enriched uranium (LEU) out of the country in exchange for fuel for a rector that produces medical isotopes. Widely referred to as the fuel swap deal, the agreement fell through when Iran tried to amend the terms of the LEU transfer. During 2010 Iran scaled-up a portion of its uranium enrichment from 4 percent to 20 percent, the level required for the medical reactor fuel. An effort by Brazil and Turkey to mediate a similar arrangement in May of 2010 was met with skepticism by the United States, Russia, and France who expressed doubts over the terms of the announcement as well as its timing. The P5+1 group has continued its diplomatic efforts, meeting with Iran on four separate occasions in 2012. These negotaitions did not produce any significant agreements. The proposals from 2012 served as the basis for the 2013 talks, which took place in February and April in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Talks were supsended for the Iranian elections after no progress was made during the April meetings.

On June 14, 2013 Hassan Rouhani was elected president of Iran. A former nuclear negotiator, he asserted that Iran will maintain its nuclear program, but Tehran is willing to be more transparent.

On September 26, 2013 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the P5+1 foreign ministers met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who presented the P5+1 with a new proposal that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry described as “very different in the vision” of possibilities for the future. Zarif and Kerry then met for a bilateral exchange after the larger group meeting.

Zarif said he and Kerry agreed to move “first, on the parameters of the end game.” Zarif says Iran and the P5+1 will think about the order of steps that need to be implemented to “address the immediate concerns of [the] two sides” and move toward finalizing a deal within a year. The following day, President Barack Obama called Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, marking the highest level contact between the U.S. and Iran since 1979. While President Obama said that there will be significant obstacles to overcome, but he believes a comprehensive resolution can be reached.

The parties met again on October 15-16 in Geneva. U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman said that the Oct. 15-16 talks were more substantive and candid than any of the past rounds of negotiations with Iran. Iran presented its proposal during these talks. The proposal lays out a path forward based on a broad framework that outlines the end-state of a deal and a first phase that addresses some of the most urgent proliferation concerns of both sides.

Iran and P5+1 continued negotiations November 7-10, 2013 in Geneva. During this round, Secretary Kerry joined the talks on the second day in anticipation of a deal being reached. The other P5+1 foreign ministers also flew to Geneva. No agreement was announced when the negotiations ended, but Kerry said that significant progress was made and the sides narrowed the areas of differences.

Talks resumed in Geneva on November 20. Again, the Foreign Ministers flew in to join the negotiations, and on November 24, the parties announced that they reached an agreement. The agreement spelled out steps for each side to take in a first-phase six month deal, and laid out the parameters for a final agreement. The full text of the November 24, 2013 deal, the Joint Plan of Action, is available here.

Amongst other provisions, in the first-phase deal, Iran committed to halt uranium enrichment to 20 percent, blend down to 3.5 percent half of its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent and oxidize the remaining half, halt construction at the Arak Reactor, and committed not to install further centrifuges, or operate its advanced centrifuges. Iran's nuclear facilities would also be subject to more stringent monitoring by the IAEA.

In return, Iran would receive limited sanctions relief from petrochemical, precious metals, and automotive sanctions, and approximately $4.2 billion in oil money held up in other countries. The money would be paid out over the course of the six months.

After three rounds of technical meetings to discuss the details of implementation, the parties announced on Jan. 12 that the six month timeframe for the initial deal would begin on Jan. 20. The IAEA issued a report on Jan. 20 which found that Iran halted 20 percent enrichment and adhering to other provisions in the agreement. On the same day, the United States and the European Union issued statements confirming the suspension of sanctions outlined in the agreement.

For more information on the proposals, see ACA's factsheet "History of Official Proposals on the Iranian Nuclear Issue," available here.

Implementation of the interim deal continued through July 14, 2015, when the parties arrived at a comprehensive agreement. Under that deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran would recieve sanctions relief in return for limitin uranium enrichment to reactor grade levels, about 3.67 percent, for 15 years and operate only 5,060 centrifuges for 10 years. Iran also agreed to transform the Fordow facility to a research purpose and modify the Arak reactor so that its spent fuel contains less weapons-grade plutonium.

Iran also agreed to more stringent inspections, application of its additional protocol, and agreed to cooperate with the IAEA's investigation into the past military dimensions of its nuclear program.

For more details on the deal, click here.  

Nuclear Capabilities

Under the July 2015 nuclear deal, it would take Iran over 12 months to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one bomb for well over a decade. That timeframe is a combination of the limits on Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium, less than 300 kg of uranium enriched to 3.67 percent for 15 years, and its centrifuge restrictions, 5,060 IR-1s. Given that Iran's enrichment facility, Natanz, will be under continual surveillance, any move by Iran will be quickly detected. 

In May 2011, Iran’s first nuclear power reactor at its Bushehr plant began operations. This light-water reactor does not produce weapon-grade plutonium, but its operation does raise concerns regarding Iran’s growing nuclear capabilities. Russia provides fuel for the reactor and takes back the spent fuel. The safety and security of the reactor will also be upgrade under the July 2015 nuclear deal with the P5+1. 

Conventional Weapons Trade:
In a September 2011 arms trade report, the U.S. Congressional Research Service reported that Iranian weapons purchases have largely focused on air defense systems, presumably to protect their territory and nuclear sites from possible U.S. or Israeli air attack. In September of 2010, Russia announced that it was canceling the 2007 sale of the S-300 air defense missile systems. This decision followed the introduction of the UN arms embargo in Security Council Resolution 1929. Even though the S-300 system was not covered by UN Security Council sanctions in 1929, Russia was under pressure to cancel the sale as part of an effort by the international community to push Iran to negotiate over its nuclear program. In April 2016, after implementation of the July 2015 nuclear deal began, Moscow announced it would complete the sale and shipped initial components to Iran. Iranian news outlets reported that Russia completed the shipment in October 2016. 

Iran is still prohibited from importing heavy arms through 2020 without Security Council approval under Resolution 2231. However, the S-300 system is not covered by that resolution. That prohibition could be lifted earlier if the IAEA reaches a rigorous finding on peaceful nature Iran's nuclear activities known as the Broader Conclusion. 


Proliferation Record

In 2000, Iran exported rockets and several ballistic missile components to Libya. It also has been accused of violating a Security Council resolution barring arms transfers to the anti-Israel militia Hezbollah operating in Lebanon. A 2007 UN Security Council resolution bars Iran from selling conventional arms and prohibits any country from importing arms from Iran. Iran has been a major supplier of weapons to the Syrian government according to a 2012 report by a designated panel of experts to the UN Security Council. The report describes three illegal transfers that took place in the prior year, two of which were to Syria and the third to Taliban members in Afghanistan. Illegal transfers to Syria included "assault rifles, machineguns, explosives, detonators, 60mm and 120mm mortar shells and other items."

While a number of Secuirty Council sanctions were lifted under the nuclear deal, Resolution 2231 still prohibits Iran from transfering arms or related materials outside its terrority without prior approval. In a July 2015 report on implementation of resolution 2231, the UN Secretary General said it was reviewing information provided by the United States about an interdiction by the US Navy of a shipment of weaponry from Iran likely bound for Yemen. 


Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

Iran was one of the first states to formally call for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, joining with Egypt to propose the goal to the UN General Assembly in 1974.

During the 1996 Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference, Iran proposed an amendment to the convention to expressly prohibit the use of biological weapons.

Beginning in 1999, Iran sponsored a UN General Assembly resolution establishing an intermittent panel of governmental experts to consider the issue of missiles “in all its aspects.” The panel, which held three sessions in 2001-2002, 2004, and 2007-2008, has explored several topics, including missile proliferation, missile defenses, and confidence-building measures. Meanwhile, Iran has elected not to participate in the voluntary Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, which calls upon states to provide pre-launch notifications of their missiles and to annually report on their missile holdings.

At the 2012 Conference on Disarmament, Iran said that it was not opposed to negotiations of a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT), but that it should not infringe on any state's right to use fissile material for peaceful purposes or naval propulsion.

 

 


ENDNOTES

1. Central Intelligence Agency, Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, 1 January-31 December 2004, http://www.dni.gov/reports/2004_unclass_report_to_NIC_DO_16Nov04.pdf.

2. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation John C. Rood’s presentation to the Sixth Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference, November 20, 2006, http://geneva.usmission.gov/Press2006/2011Rood.html.

3. Central Intelligence Agency, Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions http://www.dni.gov/reports/2009_721_Report.pdf.

4. Department of Defense, Unclassified Report on Military Power of Iran April 2010, http://www.fas.org/man/eprint/dod_iran_2010.pdf.

5. Crail, Peter, "Progress Seen in Iranian Missile Test," Arms Control Today, June 2009, http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2009_6/IranMissile

6. International Institute for Strategic Studies "Iran sanctions halt long-range ballistic-missile development," July 2012, http://www.iiss.org/publications/strategic-comments/past-issues/volume-18-2012/july/iran-sanctions-halt-long-range-ballistic-missile-development/.

7. Director of National Intelligence, Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, 1 January Through 31 December 2011, February 2012, http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/wmd-acq2011.pdf.

8. National Intelligence Estimate, “Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities,” November 2007, http://www.fas.org/irp/dni/iran120307.pdf.

 

http://www.dni.gov/reports/2011_report_to_congress_wmd.pdf
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Posted: January 21, 2014

Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: Syria

October 2013

Updated: October 2013

This profile summarizes the major arms control agreements, regimes, initiatives, and practices that Syria subscribes to and those that it does not. It also describes the major weapons programs, policies, and holdings of Syria, as well as its proliferation record. This profile is one of a series focused on the arms control record and status of key states, all of which are available on the Arms Control Association’s website at http://www.armscontrol.org.

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

 

 

Signed

Ratified

Geneva Protocol 1925 1968

Biological Weapons Convention

1972

- - -

Chemical Weapons Convention

- - -

2013*

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

- - -

- - -

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)

1968

1969

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

- - -

- - -

Outer Space Treaty

- - -

1968

Ottawa Mine Ban Convention

- - -

- - -

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)

- - -

- - -

CPPNM 2005 Amendment

- - -

- - -

International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism

2005

- - -

*Syria sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary General on September 12, 2013, which said that Assad signed a presidential decree allowing Syria's accession to the CWC. Normally, the treaty enters into force 30 days after the deposit of the instrument of ratification, but Syria indicated in the letter that it would begin implementation of the treaty's obligations immediately.

Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Australia Group: Not a member.

Missile Technology Control Regime: Not a member.

Nuclear Suppliers Group: Not a member.

Wassenaar Arrangement: Not a member.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol: Syria has not negotiated such an agreement.

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism: Not a participant.

Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation: Not a participant.

Proliferation Security Initiative: Not a participant.

UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1673: Syria has filed reports on its activities to fulfill the resolutions.

 

Major Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

Biological Weapons: Syria signed the Biological Weapons Convention in 1972, but has not ratified the treaty. In July 2012, a spokesman for the Syrian Foreign Ministry confirmed that the country possesses biological warfare materials, but little is known about the extent of the arsenal. The U.S. Director of National Intelligence annual report on the acquisition of materials related to WMD production in 2011 confirms that the country’s biotechnical infrastructure could support the development of biological weapons.[1]

Chemical Weapons: Until September 12, 2013, Syria was one of five countries that had neither signed nor ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC.) Under growing pressure from the international community after the use of chemical weapons against opposition forces on multiple occasions in 2013 and the threat of a U.S. military strike, Assad passed a presidential decree allowing the country to accede to the CWC. Two countries, Israel and Myanmar, have signed but not completed ratification. However, in 1968, Syria ratified the 1925 Geneval Protocol, which prohibits the use "of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices" in war.

Syria is believed to possess hundreds of tons of mustard gas, blister agents, and nerve agents, which could include sarin and the agent VX. In July 2012, the Syrian government publically acknowledged the existence of its chemical stockpile for the first time. The spokesman said Syria would only use such weapons in the event of foreign intervention in the armed conflict between the government and domestic opposition forces. According to a 2011 report to Congress, on the acquisition of technology relating to WMDs, the National Director of Intelligence said that Syria has had a chemical weapons program for many years and its stockpile is deliverable by “aerial bombs, ballistic missiles, and artillery rockets.”[2] It is dependent, however, on foreign sources for key elements of its program.

On March 21, 2013, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon announced that the United Nations would begin an investigation into alleged uses of chemical weapons at the request of the Syrian authorities. He requested the full cooperation of all parties involved and said that any party responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable.

In an April 25, 2013 letter from the White House to Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), said that the nerve agent sarin may have been used “on a small scale” in Syria but that the United States cannot confirm “how exposure occurred and under what conditions” because the “chain of custody” for the evidence, which included “physiological samples,” is “not clear.” Further investigation is needed, the letter said.

On June 13, the White House released a statement saying that the United States government had high confidence that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against opposition forces on several occasions. Samples from multiple sources within Syria indicated exposure to the nerve agent sarin.

On August 21, reports indicated that a larger chemical weapons attack took place in an area of Damascus controlled by rebel fighters. Estimates place the number of casualties at well over 1,000 and many of the victims as non-combatants. Syrian armed forces denied the allegations, but officials from the United States, United Kingomd, France, and several other governments issued statements saying that the Assad regime was likely responsible for the attack.

An emergency session of the Security Council was held on August 21, and produced a statement demanding further clarity regarding the incident. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said on August 23 that any use of chemical weapons, under any circumstances, is a violation of international law, and such a "crime against humanity" should result in "serious consequences." President Obama convened a meeting of the National Security Council on August 24 to review evidence about the attack and a range of potential response options.

On August 25, the Assad regime said it would allow UN inspectors to visit the site of the August 21 attack. A UN team arrived in Damascus the following week after several months of negotiations with the Assad regime as to the scope of their investigations into past chemical weapons attacks. However, on August 26, when the inspectors began their investigations the team was not able to reach several of the main areas affected due to "security concerns" cited by the Syrian armed forces.

In a August 26 statement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that while investigations are still underway, initial evidence and reports "strongly indicate" that chemical weapons were used and that the Syrian regime has the capacity to launch an attack of this nature. He also strongly criticized the Assad regime for refusing to allow the UN inspectors access to the site for five days, and attempting to "cover up" its actions through further shelling. Kerry said that there would be "accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people."

On August 30, the White House released the U.S. Government Assessment on the use of chemical weapons in Syria during the August 21 attacl. The report says that the intelligence community has "high confidence" that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against the opposition elements in Damascus. Secretary Kerry, in an address, also said that the regime used chemical weapons "multiple times" over the past year. Kerry said discussions on military action are underway. The following day, August 31, President Obama made a statement saying that he would seek an authorization on the use of force from Congress for a limited military strike in Syria. Given the evidence of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime, Obama said he supported limited action in order to deter further chemical weapons use and uphold international norms.

On September 9, citing the desire to avert military strikes, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced a proposal whereby Syria would agree to place its chemical weapons under international control, dismantle them, and join the CWC, and the United States would agree not to conduct a military strike on the country. Prior to the Russian announcement, Secretary of State Kerry, speaking in the United Kingdom, suggested that if the Assad regime turned over all of its chemical weapons to the international community "without delay," a miltiary strike could be averted.

On September 10, while in Moscow, Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said that the Assad regime welcomed Russia's plan, which also seemed to gain support in the West. On the same day, President Obama, French President Francois Hollande, and British Prime Minister David Cameron discussed how to implement the plan through the UN Security Council, with France beginning to draft a resolution based on the Russian proposal, but reportedly with stipulations that force be authorized should Assad fail to implement the resolution.

On the same day, in an address to the nation, President Obama also requested that Congress postpone a vote on the use of force while the diplomatic path proposed by the Russians is pursued in the UN Security Council, but reiterated his commitment to pursue miltiary action if a deal on securing Syria's chemical weapons is not reached.

On September 12, the Assad regime sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary General which said that Assad signed a legislative decree providing the accession of Syria to the Chemical Weapons Convention. In the letter, Assad said Syria woud observe its CWC obligations immediately, as opposed to 30 days from the date of accession, as stipulated in the treaty.

On September 14, after two days of meetings, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reached an agreement on a detailed plan for the accounting, inspection, control, and elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. The plan requires Syria to provide a full declaration of its stockpile “within a week” and provide the OPCW and the UN access to all chemical weapons sites in Syria. The plan calls for the OPCW inspectors  to complete their initial inspections by November and calls for the destruction of the stockpile of chemical weapons and chemical agents by the first half of 2014. The United States and Russia will now seek to secure approval of the plan by the OPCW executive council and then a UN Security Council resolution. The agreement outlined states that “in the event of non-compliance, including unauthorized transfer, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, the UN Security Council should impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon delivered a report on September 16 on the results of the UN investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The report concluded that chemical weapons were used against on August 21 on a "relatively large scale", and that the victims included civilians. The report cited evidence of the nerve agent sarin both in the environment and present in victims of the attack. It was outside of the report's mandate to assign blame for who used the chemical weapons.

On September 20, following the schedule laid out in the US-Russian agreement, Syria submitted a declaration of its chemical weapons stockpiles to the OPCW. The following week, on September 27, the Executive Council of the OPCW adopted a timeline for destroying Syria's chemical weapons. Hours later, the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution endorsing the OPCW timeline. The Security Council Resolution also says that the body will impose measures under Chapter VII of its charter if Syria does not comply with the resolution, or uses or authorizes the transfer of any chemical agents.

In accordance with the plan, Syria submitted the details of its plan for destroying the stockpile of its chemical weapons to the OPCW on October 27. The OPCW now has until November 15 to respond to the plan.

On October 31, the OPCW confirmed that Syria destroyed, or rendered inoperable, its declared facilities for mixing and producing chemical weapons. The OPCW inspectors were able to visit 21 of the 23 sites and confirmed that the equiptment from the remaining two sites that they could not visit because of security concerns were removed and destroyed elsewhere.

 

Missiles:

  • Ballistic Missiles: Syria’s ballistic missile arsenal is comprised primarily of short-range liquid-fueled Scud B and C missiles that have ranges of 300 and 500 km, respectively. A 700 km range Scud D missile is currently under development. These missiles are likely able to deliver chemical weapons.[3] The Syrian military also deploys a 120 km solid-fueled SS-21. While shorter in range than the Scuds, this missile is more accurate. Syria, however, probably does not have the capability to produce solid-fueled motors for these missiles indigenously.  While Syria’s domestic capability to produce liquid-fueled ballistic missiles is improving, it still relies on foreign suppliers, such as Iran and North Korea, for key technology. Reportedly, in the late 1980s, Syria attempted to buy more accurate missiles from China, but there are conflicting reports as to whether or not Beijing ever delivered the weapons.
  • Cruise Missiles: Syria is known to possess several highly accurate anti-ship cruise missiles that could carry chemical warheads; the Sepal and several variants of the Styx.[4] Less is known about a land-attack cruise missile capability.

Nuclear Weapons:

Syria currently does not possess nuclear weapons or fissile material stockpiles that could be utilized for a nuclear weapons program, although it has long publicly expressed interest in developing a nuclear power program and covertly pursued building a reactor. It is widely assumed that Syria cooperated with North Korea to build a reactor that could produce plutonium for weapons. An Israeli airstrike destroyed the Dair al Zour facility near Al Kibar in 2007 before it became operational. Syria claims that the destroyed site was not a nuclear facility. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) currently is investigating allegations of undeclared Syrian nuclear activity.

In June 2011, in a report to the IAEA Board of Governors, the agency concluded that Syria should have declared the construction of the Dair al Zour facility to the IAEA. This conclusion was reached without an actual inspection of the site because Syria had continually denied the IAEA’s request to visit the destroyed facility. The agency relied on satellite and radar imagery to make its conclusions.[5] Based on the report, the Board of Governors determined that Syria was in non-compliance with its IAEA Safeguards Agreement, and sent their conclusions to the UN Security Council.

Syria does possess a Chinese supplied research reactor that is currently under IAEA safeguards and is estimated to contain less than 1 kilogram of highly-enriched uranium.

Conventional Weapons Trade:

Syria’s primary conventional weapons suppliers are Russia and China. According to a 2011 Congressional Research Service Report, between 2003-2010, Syria’s total conventional arms purchases equaled $1.7 billion, with $1.2 billion coming from Russia and $300 million from China.[6]

Under diplomatic pressure by Western countries, in July 2012, Russia agreed not to deliver new weapons to Syria while armed conflict between the military and opposition forces is ongoing and the political situation is unstable. The Russian government specified then that it would not supply the Yak-130 aircraft, although the contract was already signed.[7]

Proliferation Record

Given Syria’s increasing domestic capability to produce ballistic missiles with little foreign assistance and their suspected ties with terrorist organizations, the United States has expressed concern that the country could pose a risk for proliferating its ballistic missiles and technology to others. In 2003, Syria was estimated to produce as many as 30 Scud C missiles per year.[8] It is widely held that Syria acts as a transit country for Iranian armaments to the Shia militant group, Hezbollah, which operates out of southern Lebanon.[9] Israel also accused Syria of supplying Hezbollah with Scud missiles, although this has not been confirmed.[10] Given the current armed conflict in Syria, the international community also is concerned that advanced conventional armaments or chemical weapons could be knowingly or unknowingly trafficked out of the country to nonstate actors.

Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

In 2010, Syria was one of two countries that abstained from voting on the UN General Assembly resolution that urged the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to begin negotiations on “a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices”, or Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).[11] At the 2012 Conference on Disarmament, Syria advocated against negotiating a FMCT, stating that the issue was not ready for negotiations, and that the CD should instead focus on nuclear disarmament.

The United States and other countries are actively seeking to prevent Syria from continuing to develop weapons of mass destruction capabilities. In 2005, the United States added Syria to the Iran Nonproliferation Act, legislation designed to prevent Iran from obtaining technology related to weapons of mass destruction, missiles, and other conventional armaments.

Researched and prepared by Kelsey Davenport and Lauren Weiss.


1. Director of National Intelligence, “Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, Cover 1 January to 31 December 2011.” January, 2012.

2. Ibid.

3. Magnus Normark et al., "Syria and WMD Incentives and Capabilities," FOI Swedish Defence Research Agency, June 2004.

4. "Syria: Country Profile,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, June 2012.

5. Ibid.

6. Richard F. Grimmett, Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2003-2010, Congressional Research Service, September 22, 2011.

7. “Russia suspends new arms shipments to Syria,” CNN, July 9, 2012.  http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/09/world/meast/syria-unrest/

8. Anthony Cordesman, "If it's Syria: Syrian Military Forces and Capabilities," Center for Strategic and International Studies," 15 April 2003, p. 7, www.csis.org.

9. Jeremy Sharp and Christine Blanchard, “Armed Conflict in Syria: U.S. and International Responses,” Congressional Research Service, July 12, 2012.

10. Amoz Harel and Avi Issacharoff, “Syria is shipping Scud missiles to Hezbollah,” Haaretz, July 5, 2012.

11. United Nations General Assembly 65/65. Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. 8 December 2010. http://daccess-ods.un.org/TMP/7094332.57579803.html

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Posted: October 31, 2013

Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: Pakistan

October 2015

Updated: November 2016

This profile summarizes the major arms control agreements, regimes, initiatives, and practices that Pakistan subscribes to and those that it does not. It also describes the major weapons programs, policies, and holdings of Pakistan, as well as its proliferation record. This profile is one of a series focused on the arms control record and status of key states, all of which are available on the Arms Control Association’s Website at http://www.armscontrol.org.

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

 

Signed

Ratified

Biological Weapons Convention

1972

1974

Chemical Weapons Convention

1993

1997

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

- - -

- - -

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)

-Has developed nuclear weapons outside the treaty.

- - -

- - -

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

-Party to all five protocols. [1]

1982

1985

Outer Space Treaty

1967

1968

Ottawa Mine Ban Convention

-Banned exports of antipersonnel landmines, but retains and deploys them for defensive purposes.

- - -

- - -

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)*

- - -

2000*

CPPNM 2005 Amendment*

- - -

- - -

International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism

- - -

- - -

*Pakistan stated that it will not be bound by the provisions of Paragraph 2, Article 2, or by the dispute settlement procedures in Paragraph 2, Article 17


Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Australia Group: Not a member.

Missile Technology Control Regime: Not a member. Pakistani entities have been sanctioned by the United States for engaging in trade involving missiles and missile technologies controlled by the regime.

Nuclear Suppliers Group: Not a member. Pakistan is prohibited from importing key nuclear materials and technologies from the 46 group members because Islamabad does not subject its entire nuclear enterprise to safeguards administered by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Wassenaar Arrangement: Not a member.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol: No, Pakistan has not negotiated such an agreement.

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism: Participant.

Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation: Not a participant.

Proliferation Security Initiative: Not a participant. A senior U.S. official indicated to Arms Control Todaythat the initiative does not target transfers to and from Pakistan because it is a U.S. ally.[2]

UN Security Council Resolution 1540: Pakistan has filed the requested report on its activities to fulfill the resolution and volunteered to provide assistance to other states.


Major Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

Biological Weapons:

No government has alleged that Pakistan is violating its Biological Weapons Convention commitments. Islamabad has not filed a voluntary BWC confidence-building declaration.

Chemical Weapons:

Pakistan did not declare possessing any chemical weapons when it joined the Chemical Weapons Convention. Pakistan remains in good standing under the treaty.

Conventional Weapons Trade:

Pakistan is one of the top conventional arms purchasers in the developing world, concluding roughly $12.5 billion in arms sales between 2002 and 2009. [3] The Pentagon reports that from 2002-2010 the total U.S. military sale agreements with Pakistan were worth approximately $5.4 billion. [4] Those agreements included a purchase of 18 new F-16C/D combat aircraft from the United States (17 have been delivered as of January 2011). From 2007 to 2011 five percent of global arms transfers were to Pakistan, which has been rapidly increasing its imports of arms from China in particular.[5]

The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview:

Pakistan’s secret nuclear weapons program began in the early 1970s and was spurred on by India’s first nuclear test in 1974. The effort was aided by the theft of nuclear technology and know-how from the European company URENCO by Abdul Qadeer Khan, who became a leading figure in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons establishment. Khan is also believed to have received a nuclear weapon design from China. Although U.S. intelligence was aware of Pakistan’s illicit program, the United States continued to provide military assistance and foreign aid to Islamabad up until 1990 when President George H. W. Bush decided that he could no longer certify that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear device. U.S. sanctions related to Pakistan’s nuclear program were dropped after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks when the United States decided to pursue closer relations with Pakistan as part of the U.S. declared “war on terror.”

Pakistan is estimated to have an arsenal of about 130-140 warheads as of 2016. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimate that Pakistan's arsenal could grow to 220-250 warheads by 2025.

Delivery Systems

Missiles

Ballistic Missiles: Pakistan has an active ballistic missile program and has flight-tested and deployed nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. Its current deployed arsenal is composed predominantly of short-range missiles. Islamabad has also been developing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles with very short ranges to be used on the battlefield against Indian conventional forces. Pakistan’s program has benefited from missile and technology transfers from China and North Korea.

  • Tactical - The Hatf IX ("vengeance") or Nasr missile is a solid fueled tactical ballistic missile developed by Pakistan. Its range is 60 km – it is considered a “battlefield weapon” - and its existence was revealed after a test in 2011. It is believed the missile was developed in response to India’s Cold Start Doctrine. The missile was tested recently on September 26, 2014 and was likely deployed the same year. [6] In October 2015, Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhary acknowledged that the Nasr was developed as a response to India's Cold-Start Doctrine. 
  • Short Range Ballistic Missiles (range < 1000 km) - Hatf II, or Abdali-1,  is a short-range ballistic missile deployed by the Pakistan Army. It has a range of 180 km and was recently successfully tested on February 15, 2013. [7] The Hatf III, or Ghaznavi missile (named for the 11th century Muslim Turkic conqueror Mahmud of Ghazni) is a short-range ballistic missile with a range of 400 km. Hatf III has been tested successfully multiple times and was deployed in 2004. A recent test took place on May 8, 2014. [8] The Hatf IV, or Shaheen I (the Shaheen falcon is the subspecies of Peregrine falcon that lives on the Indian subcontinent) missile has a range of 750 km. It was first tested in 1999, entered into service in 2003. A variant of the Haft IV, or Shaheen IA is under development and has a range of about 900 kilometers. The Hatf V, or Ghauri missile, has a range of 1200 km and was deployed in 2003.
  • Medium Range Ballistic Missiles (range between 1000 and 3000 km) - Ghauri II is a medium range ballistic missile (a longer ranged variant of Ghauri I) with a range of 2,000 km. It was first tested in 1993 and is still in development. Hatf VI, or Shaheen II (a long ranged variant of Shaheen I) is a medium range ballistic missile with a range of 2,500 km that is under development. It was recently tested in November 2014.  [9]
  • Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (range between 3000 and 5500 km) - It is speculated that the Shaheen III, an intermediate range ballistic missile, is under development. It would have a range of 4500 km.

  • Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (range > 5500 km) - It is speculated that the Taimur missile, with a range of 7000 km, is an intercontinental ballistic missile under development.

Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles: Pakistan does not currently possess submarine launched ballistic missiles.

Cruise Missiles: 

Hatf VII, or Babur, missile is a land attack cruise missile in service with the Pakistani Army since 2005. It is nuclear-capable and has a reported range of 350- 750 km. Hatf VIII, or Ra'ad is an air-launched cruise missile developed by Pakistan and operational with the Pakistan Air force. It is nuclear-capable and has a range of 350 km. The Pakistani military claims that both systems are highly accurate and have “stealth capabilities.”

Submarines

Following the launch of India’s INS Arihant in 2009, the Pakistan Navy announced its intention to build a nuclear submarine of its own, and in 2012 the Navy announced it would start construction. According to the Navy, the submarine is an ambitions project, will be designed and build indigenously, and will take between 6 and 8 years. [10] It is unclear if Pakistan is attempting to complete the nuclear triad.

Strategic Bombers

Pakistan’s available delivery vehicles include dual-use fighter aircraft, reportedly the U.S.-origin F-16A/B and French-orgin Mirage 2000 fighter jets. The planes were not transferred for the purpose of delivering nuclear bombs, but Pakistan is believed to have modified the them for that mission. Both were deployed in 1998.

Nuclear Doctrine

Pakistan has pledged no first use against non-nuclear weapons states, but has not ruled out the possible first use of nuclear weapons against India. Although Pakistani officials have claimed that nuclear weapons would be used only as a matter of last resort in such a conflict with India, Islamabad’s development of battlefield nuclear weapons to counter Indian conventional forces raises questions as to how central Pakistani nuclear weapons are in its security doctrine.

Pakistan’s nuclear warheads are believed to be stored in a disassembled state, with the fissile core kept separate from the warhead package.  This practice greatly increases the time required to deploy the weapons.

Pakistan has conducted two nuclear weapon tests, although one of those involved five simultaneous explosions. The first test occurred May 28, 1998, and the last took place May 30, 1998. In 1990, China is believed to have tested a Pakistani derivative of the nuclear design Beijing allegedly gave to Khan.

Due to severe political instability from extremist groups in Pakistan, there is unease regarding the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, materials, and facilities from both insurgent threats and insider collusion. Pakistan has shared critical information about its nuclear activities with the U.S., and both Pakistani and U.S. officials have repeatedly stated that Pakistani nuclear assets are secure from such threats.

Fissile Material

Specific estimates of Pakistan's stockpiles of fissile material are difficult, given uncertainty about Pakistan's uranium enrichment capacity. Pakistan is estimated to produce enough fissile material for approximately 10-21 nuclear weapons on an annual basis. [11] Pakistan is currently estimated to possess approximately 3 tons of highly enriched uranium and approximatly 200 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium. [12] By the end of 2014, Pakistan was operating four reactors that produce plutonium for weapons at Khushab. Khushab-I began operations in 1997/98, Khushab-II in 2009/10, Khushab-III in early 2013, and Kushab-IV in 2014.

Pakistan separates the plutonium from the the spent reactor fuel at the Rawalpinki New Labs facility, which has two reprocessing plants. Another reprocessing facility may be being constructed at Chashma as of 2015.  


Proliferation Record

Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan developed a black market network of suppliers to procure technology and know-how for Pakistan’s secret nuclear weapons program and then transformed that network into a supply chain for other states. Iran, Libya, and North Korea were all clients and other states might have been as well. After the interception of one of his shipments to Libya in October 2003, Khan appeared on Pakistani television in February 2004 and confessed to running the network, which transferred items ranging from centrifuges to bomb designs.

The Pakistani government denied any complicity in or knowledge of the network and confined Khan to house arrest. Although reportedly serving as an intermediary to foreign governments, the Pakistani government has not made Khan available to direct interviews by other states. General concern exists that remnants of the network might still be functioning.

Pakistan instituted new export control laws following the public exposure of Khan’s network, including the establishment of the Strategic Export Control Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Pakistan's control list now includes dual-use materials in an effort to meet the regulatory standards of export control regimes.


Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

Pakistan has concluded bilateral confidence-building measures with India. After their tit-for-tat nuclear tests in 1998, the two rivals volunteered to abstain from nuclear testing. They also have established a hotline to reduce the risk of accidental nuclear war and agreed to exchange advance notifications of ballistic missile flight tests.

Pakistan has blocked the start of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT) at the 65-member Conference on Disarmament. Islamabad has insisted that an FMCT must cover existing stocks of fissile material due to concerns about India's current stockpile, and is preventing the body from reaching consensus on an agenda that would allow negotiations on the treaty to begin. In an interview with Arms Control Today, Pakistani permanent representative to the UN Office at Geneva Zamir Akram indicated that the decision by the Nuclear Suppliers Group to remove the ban on sales of nuclear material to India was a major barrier to Pakistani support for an FMCT. He said that Pakistan would support negotiations if it, too, received a waiver from the NSG.

 


ENDNOTES

1. Pakistan has not agreed to an amendment that extends the convention’s application beyond just interstate conflicts to intrastate conflicts.

2. Wade Boese, “The Proliferation Security Initiative: An Interview with John Bolton,” Arms Control Today, December 2003, http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2003_12/PSI.

3. Ismail Dilawar, “India got a N-submarine from Russia, Pakistan to get its from China,” Pakistan Today 22 April 2012.

4. Institute for Science and International Security, Pakistan Doubling Rate of Making Nuclear Weapons: Time for Pakistan to Reverse Course, May 2011, http://isis-online.org/isis-reports/detail/pakistan-doubling-rate-of-making-nuclear-weapons-time-for-pakistan-to-rever/.

5. International Panel on Fissile Materials, Global Fissile Material Report 2011,http://fissilematerials.org/library/gfmr11.pdf.

6. Zia Mian, "Pakistan," Ensuring Destruction Forever, Reaching Critical Will, 2015 edition, http://www.princeton.edu/sgs/faculty-staff/zia-mian/Pakistan-2015-Zia.pdf

7. "Pak successfully tests nuclear-capable Hatf-II missile," The Hindu, February 15, 2013, www.thehindu.com/news/international/pak-successfully-tests-nuclearcapable-hatfii-missile/article4418360.ece

8."Pakistan test-fires nuclear-capable short-range missile 'Hatf III,'" The Times of India, May 8, 2014, timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-test-fires-nuclear-capable-short-range-missile-Hatf-III/articleshow/34838722.cms

9. "Pakistan test-fires nuclear capable ballistic missile," The Times of India, November 17, 2014, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-test-fires-nuclear-capable-ballistic-missile/articleshow/45174840.cms

10. Ansari, Usman (11 February 2012). "Pakistani Navy to Develop Nuclear-Powered Submarines: Reports". Defense News.

11. K. Alan Kronstadt, Major U.S. Arms Sales and Grants to Pakistan Since 2001, Congressional Research Service, January 4, 2011, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/pakarms.pdf.

12. Zia Mian, "Pakistan," Ensuring Destruction Forever, Reaching Critical Will, 2015 edition, http://www.princeton.edu/sgs/faculty-staff/zia-mian/Pakistan-2015-Zia.pdf

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Posted: July 12, 2013

Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: India

February 2015

Updated: November 2016

This profile summarizes the major arms control agreements, regimes, initiatives, and practices that India subscribes to and those that it does not. It also describes the major weapons programs, policies, and holdings of India, as well as its proliferation record. This profile is one of a series focused on the arms control record and status of key states, all of which are available on the Arms Control Association’s Website at http://www.armscontrol.org.

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

 

Signed

Ratified

Biological Weapons Convention

1973

1974

Chemical Weapons Convention

1993

1996

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

-Only supports the treaty in the context of general nuclear disarmament.[1]

- - -

- - -

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)

-Has developed nuclear weapons outside the treaty.

- - -

- - -

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

-Party to all protocols.

1981

1984

Outer Space Treaty

1967

1982

Ottawa Mine Ban Convention

-Employs landmines for border defense.

- - -

- - -

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)

- - -

2002*

CPPNM 2005 Amendment

- - -

2007

International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism

2006

2006*

*India stated that it will not be bound by the dispute settlement procedures in Paragraph 2, Article 17

*India stated that it will not be bound by the dispute settlement procedures in Paragraph 1, Article 23


Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Australia Group: Not a member.

Missile Technology Control Regime: Not a member, but India pledged in July 2005 to adhere to the regime’s guidelines.

Nuclear Suppliers Group: Not a member, but India vowed to “harmonize” its export controls with those advocated by the voluntary 45-member group. India is prohibited from importing key nuclear materials and technologies from group members because New Delhi does not subject its entire nuclear enterprise to safeguards administered by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Wassenaar Arrangement: Not a member.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol: IAEA approved India's additional protocol on March 3, 2009. India ratified it in June 2014.

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism: Not a participant.

Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation: Not a participant.

Proliferation Security Initiative: Not a participant. A senior U.S. official indicated to Arms Control Today that the initiative does not target Indian transfers because it is a U.S. ally.[2]

UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1673: India has filed reports on its activities to fulfill the resolutions and offered to host IAEA courses on physical security of nuclear facilities.


Major Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

Biological Weapons:

The Indian biotechnology private sector is highly sophisticated and the government conducts defensive biological weapons research. No evidence points to an offensive weapons program.

Chemical Weapons:

In 1997, India declared 1,055 metric tons of chemical weapon stockpiles. India completed destruction of its stockpile on schedule in 2009. Indian industry exports precursor and dual-use chemicals and the armed forces operate an active chemical weapons defense program.

Conventional Weapons Trade:

India is a leading buyer of conventional arms. Between 1999 and 2006, India totaled $22.4 billion in arms sales agreements, according to a 2007 report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service. That total made India first among all developing arms buyers during that period.[3] India became the leading global arms importer in the period from 2007 to 2011, accounting for ten percent of total arms imports. This trend is expected to continue, with an announced increase of 17 percent in defense spending for the fiscal year 2012-2013.[4]

The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview:

As of 2016, India is estimated to have an arsenal of 110 to 120 warheads with plutonium cores.[5] India is working to expand its fleet of ground-launched ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including development of an ICBM, the Agni-V which is currently being tested, and is developing a submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) capability.

Delivery Systems

Missiles

Ballistic Missiles: India has an active and advanced ballistic missile sector and the Indian Armed Services have deployed nuclear-capable short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. India currently seems focused on developing longer-range ballistic missiles and its cruise missile capabilities, as well as the sea-based leg of a nuclear triad.

  • Short Range Ballistic Missiles (range <1,000 km): The Prithvi is a tactical short-range ballistic missile. Development of the Prithvi I began in 1983, the first test flight was in 1988, and it officially entered service in 1994. It is widely believed to have been adapted to be nuclear capable.  Its maximum range is 150 km. In June 2013, the Defence research and Development Organization (DRDO) announced that the Prithvi was being withdrawn from service. Prithvi II is estimated to have an extended range of 350 km with a 500 kg payload. It was inducted into the Strategic Forces Command in 2003. The Prithvi II has been tested numerous times with some failures initially, but recent tests in 2012, 2013, and 2014 have all been deemed successful. However, it it unclear if the Prithvi II is still deployed as a nuclear-capable missile, given the development and reliance on the Agni series. 
  • Medium Range Ballistic Missiles (between 1,000-3,000 km):  The Agni-I has a range between 700-1100 km and can carry up to a 1,000 kg payload. It was first deployed by the Strategic Force Command of the Indian Army in 2007. It was tested recently in 2013. The Agni-II has a range of less than 2,000 km with a 1,000 kg payload. The Agni-II's operational status is unclear, but it may have been inducted in 2011, and it was tested in April 2013.
  • Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (between 3,000-5,500 km): The  Agni-III has a range of 3,500 km with a 1,500 kg payload . It entered military service in 2012, after performed successfully in its three tests (July 9, 2006, April 12, 2007, and May 7, 2008), but it still may not be fully operational at this point. The Indian Government reported that the missile's circular error probable lies in the range of 40 meters, which would make the Agni-III the most accurate strategic ballistic missile of its class in the world (a highly accurate ballistic missile increases the "kill efficiency" of the weapon, allowing Indian weapon designers to use smaller yield warheads while increasing the lethality of the strike).The Agni-IV missile has a range of 4,000 km with a 1,000 kg payload and has been successfully test-fired several times, most recently on January 20, 2014. The Ministry of Defense announced after the test that the missile was ready for induction and production.  
  • Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (>5,500 km): The Agni-V has a range of over 5,500 km and has been tested successfully several times, including a canister test in January 2015. The DRDO claims that the Agni-V will be deployed in 2015, but that timeframe is unlikley. The Agni-VI is an ICBM reported to be in the early stages of development. It would have a strike-range of 8,000 to 10,000 km with MIRVed warheads.

Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles: The Indian Navy has developed two sea-based delivery systems for nuclear weapons, a submarine-launched system and a ship-launched system. India's nuclear submarine, the INS Arihant is currently undergoing sea trials, and missile test launches from the submarine are expected by late 2015. 

  • The K-15 is a nuclear-capable ballistic missile intended to be India’s initial SLBM. Each INS Arihant could carry up to 12 K-15s, which have a range of 700 km.   
  • The K-4 SLBM has a range of 3,000 km and the capability to carry two warheads. The first test flight of the K-4 was on May 13, 2014. [6] The Arihant could carry up to four K-4s. 
  • The Nirbhay cruise missile may also be tested from the Airhant. However, two of the last three tests of the Nirbhay (March 2013 and October 2015) experienced difficulties when the missile had to be terminiated for veering off course. It was successfully tested in November 2014. It is widely believed to be nuclear-capable and have a range of 1,000 km.
  • The ship-launched system is based around the short-range Dhanush (“bow of God” in Sanskrit), which is a naval version of the Prithvi II. Its range is around 350 km with a 500 kg payload and is launched from a stabilization platform mounted on ship. The Dhanush missile was successfully test-fired in November 2014 and reportedly hit the intended target with high precision.

  • Cruise Missiles: India has worked with Russia to produce the BrahMos supersonic anti-ship and land-attack cruise missile. The missile has an estimated range of roughly 300 kilometers. The land- and ship-launched versions are already in service and the air- and submarine-launched versions are in the testing phase. With speeds of Mach 2.5 to 2.8, it is the world's fastest cruise missile. [7]

    India also the Nirbhay cruise missile. [8] The missile has a range of 1000 km, is capable of being launched from multiple platforms on land, sea, and air, and will be deployed by the Indian Navy, Army, and Air Force (see above).

Submarines

  • Since 1984 India has been developing a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, the Arihant, as a third platform for nuclear warhead delivery. India launched the INS Arihant, its first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, on July 26, 2009, but the submarine is not operational. The reactor went critical in August 2013, and sea trials are currently ongoing. The Airhant should test the Nirbhay and K-15 misiles in late 2015. [9] India plans to deploy the submarine for detterent patrol in 2016. However, that date already has been pushed back. [10] The Indian newspaper, The Hindu, called the introduction of nuclear-armed submarines a “doctrinal headache” due to the questions it poses to India’s nuclear doctrine. [11] India stores its warheads and delivery systems separately or "de-mated." That configuration, however, is not possile on submarines. It remains unclear how the submarines will be deployed once they are operational and how India’s command and control structure will adapt to the submarines.

Strategic Bombers

  • India’s only known nuclear capable aircraft is the Mirage 2000H.  This plane has a range of 1850 km and is capable of carrying up to 6300 kg of explosive.  It can only deliver gravity-based nuclear bombs.  It is also believed that the Jaguar IS Shamsher combat aircraft have been modified to deliver nuclear payloads. [12] In 2012 India selected the Rafale fighter jet to replace its aging fleet of Mirage 2000 planes, but the exact details of the contract are still being worked out.

Nuclear Weapons

Indian officials say the size of their nuclear stockpile is based on maintaining a “credible minimum deterrent.” Although India stated in January 2003 that it would not use nuclear weapons against states that do not possess such arms and declared that nuclear weapons would only be used to retaliate against a nuclear attack, the government reserved the right to use nuclear weapons in response to biological or chemical weapons attacks.

India’s nuclear warheads are believed to be stored in a disassembled state, with the fissile core kept separate from the warhead package.  This practice greatly increases the the time required to deploy the weapons.

India has conducted three nuclear weapon tests, although it claimed its first test was a “peaceful” nuclear explosion. In addition, one test involved two simultaneous explosions and another involved three synchronized blasts. The first test occurred May 18, 1974, and the last took place May 13, 1998.

Fissile Material

 New Delhi has approximately 520 kilograms of plutonium available for nuclear weapons - enough for 100 to 130 warheads - and up to another 11.5 metric tons of reactor grade plutonium in spent fuel, which could be reprocessed for weapons use.

India continues to produce fissile material for weapons purposes and refused to cease such production as part of a proposed U.S.-Indian civilian nuclear cooperation deal.[13] India produced much of its weapons-grade plutonium at its CIRUS reactor, which was shut down in 2010, and the Dhruva heavy-water reactor. A reactor similar to the Dhruva reactor is under construction to replace the CIRUS. It could be operational in 2017. India also has plans to build 6 fast-breeder reactors which would dramatically increase the speed at which India produces plutonium. The first was expected to achieve criticality in 2014. 

Some analysts estimate that India could increase its production of fissile material for weapons if it succeeds in securing foreign nuclear fuel shipments because such a move would free up more Indian domestic resources currently divided between the military and civilian sector for building bombs.[14] India agreed in 2006 to allow 14 of its 22 nuclear reactors to be monitored by the IAEA, and has since updated its plan to include an additional four for safeguards.

India produces highly enriched uranium (HEU), but not to weapons grade levels. Its HEU production is intended to fuel the reactor cores for its nuclear submarine program and it is believed to be enriched to between 30 and 45 percent. India's HEU stockpile is estimated at approximately 2 tons. India enriches uranium at the RMP facility, where a second enrichment hall may be under construction. India also began preliminary work on an industrial enrichment plant at the Special Material Enrichment Facility, which may not be placed under IAEA safeguards.  


Proliferation Record

India’s first nuclear test was of a device derived partially from Canadian and U.S. exports designated for peaceful purposes. That test spurred the United States and several other countries to create the Nuclear Suppliers Group to more severely restrict global nuclear trade.

The George W. Bush administration has sanctioned several Indian entities for transferring technologies and know-how to Iraq and Iran that could contribute to chemical or biological weapons programs. Independent analysts also allege that India’s procurement system for its own nuclear programs could leak or reveal nuclear know-how to other states or non-state actors.[15]


Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

India has concluded bilateral confidence-building measures with Pakistan. After their tit-for-tat nuclear tests in 1998, the two rivals volunteered to abstain from nuclear testing. They also have established a hotline to reduce the risk of accidental nuclear war and agreed to exchange advance notifications of ballistic missile flight tests.

At the 65-member Conference on Disarmament, India favors negotiation of a fissile material cutoff treaty that is “effectively verifiable,” which is a condition opposed by the United States. At that Geneva forum and elsewhere, India has consistently called for general nuclear disarmament by all states.

In March 2006, India pledged to subject more of its nuclear facilities to IAEA safeguards as part of a U.S.-Indian initiative to exempt India from current U.S. and multilateral nuclear trade restrictions. In 2008 India negotiated a limited agreement with the IAEA, which resulted in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) removing the ban on nuclear trade with India. Since then India has negotiated nuclear cooperation agreements with countries including the U.S., U.K., Russia, France, Namibia, South Korea, Mongolia, Canada, Argentina, and Kazakhstan.

The Obama administration in a November 2010 statement expressed its support for India's membership in four export control groups, inclduing the NSG, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australian Group, and the Wassanaar Agreement. Membership in the NSG requires membership and compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty - which India is still not party to - a factor that has impeded India's admittance to the group. Discussions in June 2012 within the NSG about India's potential membership have remained inconclusive. In January 2015, during a visit to India, President Obama announced a "breakthough" on the 2006 US-India Nuclear Deal.

On September 5, 2014 India and Australia signed a civil nuclear agreement, which enables the sale of Australian uranium to support India's growing nuclear energy needs. India is the first customer to get Australian uranium without being a signatory of the NPT.

 


ENDNOTES

1. Embassy of India, “Nuclear Non-Proliferation, http://www.indianembassy.org/policy/CTBT/embassy_non_proliferation.htm.

2. Boese, Wade, “The Proliferation Security Initiative: An Interview with John Bolton,” Arms Control Today, December 2003, p. 37.

3. Natural Resources Defense Council, “India’s Nuclear Forces, 2007,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July/August 2007, p. 74.

4. Speier, Richard, “U.S. Space Aid to India: On a “Glide Path” to ICBM Trouble?” Arms Control Today, March 2006, p. 13.

5. Kristensen, Hans and Robert Norris. "Indian nuclear forces, 2015." Bulltein of the Atomic Scientists, http://thebulletin.org/2015/september/indian-nuclear-forces-20158728. 

6. The Diplomat, “India Inches Closer to Credible Nuclear Triad With K-4 SLBM Test, May 13, 2014. http://thediplomat.com/2014/05/india-inches-closer-to-credible-nuclear-triad-with-k-4-slbm-test/

7. Pravda, "India places two-billion-dollar order for Russian missiles," August 20, 2008, english.pravda.ru/russia/economics/20-08-2008/106153-russian_missiles-0/

8. The Hindu, "India successfully test-fires cruise missile 'Nirbhay,'" October 20, 2014, www.thehindu.com/news/national/indigenously-developed-cruise-missile-nirbhay-testfired/article6509942.ece

9. The India Express, “Contrary to Claims, Arihant Not Ready For Sea Trials,” June 18, 2014. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Contrary-to-Claims-Arihant-not-Prepared-for-Sea-Trials/2014/06/18/article2286134.ece

10.The Hindu, “Arihant propels India to elite club, but with a headache,” June 4, 2014. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/arihant-propels-india-to-elite-club-but-with-a-headache/article6079477.ece

11. Ibid.

12. SIPRI Yearbook 2013, (Oxford: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2012),  p 313

13. Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris, Indian nuclear forces, 2012, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, July 2012.

14. Mian, Zia, A. H. Nayyar, R. Rajaraman, and M. V. Ramana, Fissile Materials in South Asia: The Implications of the U.S.-Indian Nuclear Deal, International Panel on Fissile Materials, September 2006, 36 pp.

15. Albright, David, and Basu, Susan, Neither a Determined Proliferator Nor a Responsible Nuclear State: India’s Record Needs Scrutiny, Institute for Science and International Security, April 5, 2006, 4 pp.

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Posted: July 12, 2013

Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: North Korea

January 2016

Updated: November 2016

This profile details which major arms control agreements, regimes, initiatives, and practices that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) subscribes to and those that it does not. It also describes the major weapons programs, policies, and holdings of North Korea, as well as its proliferation record. This profile is one of a series focused on the arms control record and status of key states, all of which are available by clicking here

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

 

Signed

Ratified

Biological Weapons Convention

- - -

1987

Chemical Weapons Convention

- - -

- - -

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

- - -

- - -

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)
-Announced its withdrawal Jan. 10, 2003.

- - -

1985

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

- - -

- - -

Outer Space Treaty

- - -

2009

Ottawa Mine Ban Convention

- - -

- - -

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)*

- - -

- - -

CPPNM 2005 Amendment*

- - -

- - -

International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism

- - -

- - -


Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Australia Group: Not a member.

Missile Technology Control Regime: Not a member, and has frequently exported missiles and related materials.

Nuclear Suppliers Group: Not a member.

Wassenaar Arrangement: Not a member.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol: None.

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism: Not a participant.

Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation: Not a participant.

Proliferation Security Initiative: Not a participant.

UN Security Council Resolution 1540: North Korea has not filed the requested reports on its activities to fulfill the resolution.


Major Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

Biological Weapons:
Pyongyang is believed to maintain a biological weapons capability. The United States intelligence community continues to judge that North Korea has a biotechnology infrastructure to support such a capability, and has a munitions production capacity that could be used to weaponize biological agents.1 North Korea maintains the modern Pyongyang Bio-technical Institute, purportedly a pesticide factory, equipped with dual-use equipment that can be used to maintain a biological weapons capability and is likely intended to produce “military-size” batches of anthrax.2

Chemical Weapons:
North Korea is widely reported to possess a large arsenal of chemical weapons, including mustard, phosgene, and sarin agents. According to U.S. military estimates, North Korea “can deploy missiles with chemical warheads.”3 North Korea is believed to have 2,500 to 5,000 tons of chemical weapons according to the South Korean Ministry of National Defense.4

Missiles:

    • Ballistic Missiles: North Korea is actively expanding its ballistic missile arsenal and allegedly working toward developing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). It initially relied upon assistance from the Soviet Union and China to develop its arsenal, but North Korea is now a chief exporter of ballistic missile systems and technology. The North Korean military currently deploys short-range Scud and medium-range missiles. North Korea's medium-range ballistic missiles include the Musudan and Nodong. Since 1998, North Korea has conducted four tests of missiles beyond medium range. The sole test of its two-stage intermediate-range Taepo Dong-1, intended to place a satellite in orbit, failed in August 1998. The Taepo Dong-1 is believed to have merely served as a missile technology test-bed. The inaugural flight test of North Korea’s longest-range missile, the Taepo Dong-2, ended in failure about 40 seconds after launch on July 5, 2006. In April 2009, the Taepo Dong-2 missile was tested again. The first stage of the missile traveled approximately 270km before falling into the Sea of Japan. The remaining stages and the payload landed in the Pacific Ocean, though the intent was for the satellite payload to be launched into space. The international community has largely deemed this test to be a failure. The Taepo Dong-2 is believed to be capable of reaching the United States "if developed as an ICBM."5 In February 2012, North Korea agreed to cease long-range missile tests in exchange for food aid from the United States. Despite this agreement, North Korea proceeded to launch the liquid-fueled three stage Unha-3 rocket (with the same delivery system as the Taepo Dong-2) in April, ostensibly to place a weather satellite in orbit. The result was another failure with the missile exploding after a few minutes of flight time. Two days after the failed test, a parade in Pyongyang featured six road-mobile ICBMs, although based on analyses of the missiles' features, many experts believe that these missiles are mockups, not operational missiles. A May 2012 report by a panel of experts to the UN Security Council confirmed that sanctions from UN Security Council resolutions were hindering development of North Korea's missile programs.6 On December 12, 2012, North Korea attempted another satellite launch using an Unha-3 rocket. Shortly after the launch, the Korean Central News Agency claimed that the satellite successfully entered orbit.
    • Cruise Missiles: North Korea is believed to possess and continues to develop anti-ship cruise missiles derived from the Chinese CSSC-3 Silkworm/Seersucker designs, and it has the ability to produce variants of these missiles domestically. North Korea also possesses the Russian KH-35 anti-ship cruise missile, and may be working to reverse engineer it for an indigenous design. In June 2014, North Korea released a military propaganda video featuring a brief clip of the missile, called the KN-09 by North Korea. In February 2015, Pyongyang released new photos of a recent test launch of the variant, reporting that it was indigenously produced.7 
    • Sea-based Missiles: Since October 2014, activity at the Sinpo South Shipyard indicates that North Korea may be using an experimental SINPO-class submarine as a test bed for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. In May 2015, North Korea conducted an underwater ejection test of a ballistic missile, likely an experimental mockup, at the Sinpo site. Photos released by the KNCA portrayed the test as a submarine launch, but the missile was likely fired from a submerged barge. Analyses of the developments confirm that North Korea is working to develop an SLBM capability. In November 2015, North Korea again tested the KN-11 SLBM. The test was deemed a failure by experts because the missile failed to launch from the water. 

Nuclear Weapons:

North Korea has estimated 10 plutonium-based warheads, based on its known plutonium production.  North Korea is also known to have a uranium-enrichment program using centrifuge technology, although its enrichment capacity is unknown. It is unclear if North Korea is enriching uranium to weapons grade. If so, it could have material for an additional 4-8 warheads.8  In total, North Korea may have the material for an estimated 14-18 weapons. By 2020, experts estimate that North Korea could have anywhere between 20-100 warheads based on the rate of its stockpile growth and technological improvements.  

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) discovered in 1992 that North Korea had diverted plutonium from its civilian program for weapons purposes. The resulting crisis eventually yielded the 1994 U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework, in which North Korea committed to freezing its plutonium-based weapons program at Yongbyon in exchange for two light-water reactors and other forms of energy assistance.

The Agreed Framework collapsed after the United States accused North Korea of cheating on the arrangement. U.S. intelligence increasingly had suspected North Korea of pursuing a uranium-enrichment program as an alternative path to nuclear weapons, thereby violating the agreement’s spirit, as well as that of an earlier Korean peninsula denuclearization agreement (see “Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities” below). U.S. officials say that North Korean negotiators admitted to having such a covert program when challenged in October 2002 on the issue. North Korean officials, however, have denied that alleged admission and continue to deny ever pursuing a uranium-enrichment program.

The Korean Economic Development Organization (KEDO), the multilateral body created to provide energy assistance to North Korea under the Agreed Framework, halted its energy aid to North Korea in November 2002. A year and one month later, KEDO suspended construction of the two light-water reactors.

North Korea ordered IAEA inspectors to leave the country Dec. 27, 2002, and announced its withdrawal from the NPT Jan. 10, 2003. In response, the IAEA referred the case to the UN Security Council. In August 2003, Russia, China, Japan, the United States, and the two Koreas also launched a multilateral diplomatic process, known as the six-party talks.

The talks initially failed to resolve the disputes, and on Feb. 10, 2005, North Korea announced that it had assembled nuclear warheads. In September 2005, the six-party talks realized its first major success with the adoption of a joint statement in which North Korea pledged to abandon its nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons programs and return to the NPT. The talks faltered shortly after. On Oct. 9, 2006, North Korea conducted its first nuclear test. The UN Security Council responded by adopting resolution 1718, enacting a variety of multilateral sanctions and demanding that Pyongyang return to the NPT.

On Feb. 13, 2007, the six-party participants agreed to an action plan detailing initial steps to implement the September 2005 Joint Statement. That action plan included shutting down North Korea’s Yongbyon reactor in return for energy aid. Using the Yongbyon facilities, North Korea is thought to have produced sufficient plutonium to assemble 6-11 nuclear devices. Some of this plutonium, however, has been consumed in North Korea's nuclear tests, making its estimated putonium-based arsenal currently about 6-8 warheads.

The six parties concluded a follow-up agreement to the Feb. 13 action plan on Oct. 3, 2007. In that later agreement, North Korea agreed to disable its plutonium-production program at Yongbyon and provide a full accounting of all nuclear activities. In exchange for these actions, North Korea received the remaining energy aid pledged in the Feb. 13 agreement. The United States also committed to remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism and to stop applying the 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act against Pyongyang.

North Korea’s failed April 2009 satellite launch was met with a United Nations Security Council condemnation and a demand that North Korea not conduct any further launches using ballistic missile technology. The North Korea responded strongly to this condemnation, withdrawing from the six party talks and declaring an intention to restart plutonium production.

North Korea then conducted its second nuclear test on June 25, 2009 with the underground detonation of a nuclear device estimated to have a yield of 2 to 6 kilotons. The UN Security Council responded with Resolution 1874, which intensified sanctions on Pyongyang. This resolution also called for UN Member States to inspect and seize North Korean cargo suspected of being in violation of the sanctions.

In November 2010, North Korea unveiled a large uranium-enrichment plant to former officials and academics from the United States. The plant contained approximately 2,000 gas centrifuges that were claimed to be operating and producing low-enriched uranium (LEU) for a light-water reactor (LWR) that North Korea is constructing. This plant is estimated to be capable of producing two metric tons of LEU each year, enough to fuel the LWR reactor under construction, or to produce 40 kg of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) – enough for one to two nuclear weapons.

After the failed April 2012 missile test, which the UN Security Council condemned as a violation of resolutions 1718 and 1874, the North Korean government amended its constitution to formally recognize itself as a "nuclear armed state." However, in a meeting with the foreign minister of Cambodia in July 2012, the North Korean foreign minister stated that the regime was willing to resume six party talks.

On December 12, 2012, North Korea claimed that it successfully launched a satellite into space using an Unha-3 rocket that appeared similar to the rocket used in the April 2012 failed launch.

The UN Security Council passed Resolution 2087 on January 22, 2013 in response to North Korea's satellite launch, saying that Pyongyang's actions violated resolutions 1718 and 1874 because the technology required for a satellite launch has applications to ballistic missile development. Resolution 2087 strengthened existing sanctions against North Korea.

Shortly after the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2087, the North Korean Central News Agency indicated that a third nuclear test may be imminent, and that Pyongyang would test long-range rocket systems for military purposes.

On February 12, 2013, the Korean Central News Agency announced that it successfully detonated a nuclear device at its underground test site. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) detected seismic activity, likely from the explosion at the site of North Korea's first two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. The CTBTO's Executive Secretary Tibor Toth said that the activity had "explosive-like characteristics." On April 23, 2013, the CTBTO confirmed that its international monitoring system detected radioactive gases on April 9. The CTBTO was not able to confirm based on the particles detected whether or not the tested device used plutonium or highly enriched uranium.

Experts assess that the 2006 and 2009 tests likely used plutonium, which North Korea was known to have produced at weapons-grade levels. Pyongyang's uranium enrichment capabilities are less clear. While Pyongyang has constructed a gas centrifuge facility, it is unknown if the facility is producing uranium enriched to weapons-grade.

The UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2094 on March 7, 2013 in response to the February 12 test. The resolution strengthens existing sanctions against North Korea by adding to the list of banned items for import and export, increasing the measure that states can take to interdict shipments suspected of containing these materials when passing through their territories and restricting bulk transfers of cash and other financial activities.

On March 26, 2014 North Korea test-fired two medium-range Rodang (also known as Nodong) missiles into the Sea of Japan, violating UN sanctions. This is the first time in five years that North Korea has tested medium-range projectiles. The next day the UN Security Council unanimously condemned North Korea for launching the midrange missiles, saying the launch violates council resolutions; China joins council in criticizing the launch. On March 30, 2014 North Korea threatened to carry out a 'new form' of nuclear test, one year after its third nuclear test which raised military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and had prompted the UN to tighten sanctions. Pyongyang did not specify what it meant by a 'new form,' but some speculated that it plans to make nuclear devices small enough to fit on ballistic missiles.

Since 2013, North Korea has been making improvements to the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, the site of the Unha rocket launches in 2012, which is ready for a fourth rocket launch. The Sohae site now features an upgraded launch pad, capable launching rockets larger than the Unha-3. Satellite imagery from August 2014 indicates that North Korea used the site to test the rocket motor for the KN-08 road-mobile ICBM, currently under development. The KN-08 was first displayed as a mockup in a military parade in April 2012.

North Korea offered to suspend nuclear testing in January 2015 in exchange for the United States and South Korea calling off annual joint-military exercises slated for spring 2015. The United States rejected the offer.9 

In September 2015, The U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University reported new activity at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. Satellite imagery indicates ongoing work on existing tunnels, which could be used as a bomb test site, completed construction of a new support building, and increased activity at the site’s guardhouse checkpoint. It is unclear if the activity is related to regular maintenance or nuclear test preparations.  

Building on a previous announcement from April 2013 declaring North Korea’s intentions to restart the reactor, Pyongyang reported in September 2015 that all the nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, including the uranium enrichment plant and 5 MW graphite-moderated reactor were operating normally.

In December 2015, North Korea claimed to possess a hydrogen bomb capability. On January 6, 2016 Pyongyang announced its fourth nuclear test, declaring that it was a test of the hydrogen bomb design. As of January 6, the CTBTO confirmed that “unusual seismic activity” had been detected near the Punggye-ri test site. Experts doubt that the test was a hydrogen bomb, but it remains unclear. 


Proliferation Record

North Korea has been a key supplier of missiles and missile technology to countries in the developing world, particularly in politically unstable regions such as the Middle East and South Asia.10 Such transfers are believed to be one of Pyongyang’s primary sources of hard currency. In the past, its missile-related exports have gone to countries such as Egypt, Iran, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen. Although clientele for North Korea's missile exports appear to have dwindled in recent years due to U.S. pressure and UN sanctions, Iran and Syria remain customers of North Korean missile assistance, and in recent years, Pyongyang is widely believed to have provided missile cooperation to Burma. In an Executive Order issued in July 2012, President Obama sanctioned a Burmese entity for collaborating with North Korea on the development of a medium range ballistic missile program for Burma.

North Korea also has been engaged in nuclear proliferation. In April 2008, the U.S. intelligence community revealed that a Syrian facility destroyed in 2007 by an Israeli airstrike was assessed to have been an undeclared nuclear reactor under construction with North Korean assistance.11 The reactor design is believed to have been based on North Korea’s 5 megawatt reactor at Yongbyon. A May 24, 2011 IAEA report said that the facility “was very likely a nuclear reactor.” Pyongyang is also believed to have shipped uranium hexafluoride to Libya in 2000 for that country’s nuclear weapons program.12 

The 2012 Panel of Experts report to the UN Security Council indicated that between May 2011 and 2012 there had been no reported violations of sanctions concerning dual use technology or systems applicable to nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles. While sanctions have seen some success in limiting North Korea's ability to acquire and sell weapons, there were reported violations by North Korea involving arms and other materials.13

In November 2012, however, reports surfaced in the media that alleged that North Korea attempted to sell graphite rods to Syria. The material was reported to have been seized by South Koreans during an inspection of the ship carrying the materials in May. Japanese news sources also reported in November 2012 that in August they intercepted proliferation sensitive items bound for Burma from North Korea. In July 2013, Panama seized a ship carrying Soviet-made Cuban weapons hid amidst a shipment of sugar to North Korea. The Cuban Foreign Ministry maintained that the weapons were being transferred for repair, but the action still violated UN Security Council Resolution 1874 (2009) because no advance notification was given to the UN Security Council 1718 Committee, charged with overseeing North Korean sanctions compliance. The incident reinforced concern that North Korea continues to use illicit channels to advance its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons capabilities.14 

The 2013 Panel of Experts report states that sanctions have “considerably delayed” Pyongyang’s timetable and chocked of considerable financial funding and access to arms, but has not halted the development of the ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs. The Panel highlighted shortcomings in implementation of UNSC resolutions, which create proliferation loopholes for North Korea, and recommended that sanctions be imposed on fifteen additional people and entities.15 

The 2014 report by the Panel of Experts again stressed the need for improved implementation. The Panel did not recommend new nonproliferation measures, but called on states to make better use of the existing tools to stem North Korean proliferation.16  

In the most recent report, covering the period dating to Feb. 5, 2015, the Panel wrote that it saw no evidence of North Korea intends to cease prohibited activities, and reported “widespread evidence of resilience and adaptation” in North Korea’s efforts to circumvent sanctions. In the report the Panel recommended that sanctions be imposed on several dozen additional individuals and entities, and also made recommendations to improve enforcement of the sanctions regime.17 


Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

In December 1991, the two Koreas signed a Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Under the declaration, both countries agreed not to “test, manufacture, produce, receive, possess, store, deploy or use nuclear weapons” or to “possess nuclear reprocessing and uranium enrichment facilities.” The parties also agreed to mutual inspections for verification, but they were never able to reach an agreement on implementation. In light of North Korea's flagrant violations, this agreement holds little weight in Seoul, which has called for an end to the prohibition on South Korean reprocessing from its bilateral nuclear agreement with the United States. North Korea formally declared that the Joint Declaration void in January 2013.

-Updated by Elizabeth Philipp


ENDNOTES

1. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, 1 January to 31 December 2010, http://www.dni.gov/reports/20110208_report_wmd.pdf.

2. Melissa Hanham, "Kim Jong Un Tours Pesticide Facility Capable of Producing Biological Weapons: A 38 North Special Report," 38 North Website, http://38north.org/2015/07/mhanham070915/.  

3. Statement of General Thomas A. Schwartz, Commander in Chief United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command and Commander, United States Forces Korea, before the 107th Congress, Senate Armed Forces Committee, March 5, 2002.

4. Minister of National Defense, Republic of Korea, 2010 Defense White Paper, December 2010, http://www.nti.org/media/pdfs/2010WhitePaperAll_eng.pdf?_=1340662780c.

5. National Air and Space Intelligence Center, Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat, 2009, http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/missile/naic/NASIC2009.pdf.

6. United Nations Security Council, Report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1874 (2009), May 2012.

7. Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr. "The Korean People's Navy Tests New Anti-ship Cruise Missile," 38 North Website, http://38north.org/2015/02/jbermudez020815/.

8. Joel S. Wit and Sun Young Ahn, North Korea's Nuclear Futures: Technology and Strategy, US-Korea Institue at SAIS, http://38north.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/NKNF-NK-Nuclear-Futures-Wit-0215.pdf

9. Kelsey Davenport, "U.S. Rejects N. Korean Offer on Testing," Arms Control Todayhttps://www.armscontrol.org/ACT/2015_03/News/US-Rejects-North-Korean-Offer-on-Testing

10. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, 1 January to 31 December 2010, http://www.dni.gov/reports/20110208_report_wmd.pdf.

11. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Background Briefing with Senior U.S. Officials on Syria's Covert Nuclear Reactor and North Korea's Involvement, April 24, 2008, http://www.dni.gov/interviews/20080424_interview.pdf.

12. Olli Heinonen, "North Korea's Nuclear Enrichment: Capabilities and Consequences," 38 North Website, http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/21153/north_koreas_nuclear_enrichment.html.

13. United Nations Security Council, Report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1874 (2009), May 2012.

14. Kelsey Davenport, "N. Korea Continues to Evade Sanctions," Arms Control Today, http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2013_09/North-Korea-Continues-to-Evade-Sanctions.  

15. United Nations Security Council, Report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1874 (2009), May 2013.

16. United Nations Security Council, Report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1874 (2009), February 2014. 

17. United Nations Security Council, Report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1874 (2009), January 2015.  

 

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Posted: April 22, 2013

Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: France

June 2013

Updated: November 2016

This profile summarizes the major arms control agreements, regimes, initiatives, and practices that France subscribes to and those that it does not. It also describes the major weapons programs, policies, and holdings of France, as well as its proliferation record. This profile is one of a series focused on the arms control record and status of key states, all of which are available on the Arms Control Association’s Website at http://www.armscontrol.org.

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

 

Signed

Ratified

Biological Weapons Convention

- - -

1984

Chemical Weapons Convention

1993

1995

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

1996

1998

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)

-Recognized as one of five nuclear-weapon states.

- - -

1992

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

-Party to all five protocols.

1981

1988

Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty

1990

1992

Outer Space Treaty

1967

1970

Ottawa Mine Ban Convention

1997

1998

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)

1980

1991*

CPPNM 2005 Amendment

- - -

2013

International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism

2005

- - -

*Passed with reservations, for list see:http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Conventions/cppnm_reserv.pdf


Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Australia Group: Member.

Missile Technology Control Regime: Member.

Nuclear Suppliers Group: Member.

Wassenaar Arrangement: Member.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol: Yes, entered into force in 2004.

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism: Participant.

Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation: Participant.

Proliferation Security Initiative: Participant.

UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1673: France has filed reports on its activities to fulfill the resolutions and volunteered to provide assistance to other states.


Major Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

Biological Weapons:

Little is known about past French biological weapons activities, which reportedly included research on anthrax, botulinum toxin, cholera, ricin, rinderpest, and salmonella. [1] France is not suspected of having a current offensive biological weapons program, and under France’s 1972 Law on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons, it is illegal to produce or stockpile these weapons. [2] They are believed to have stopped their program after World War II. [3]

Chemical Weapons:

During World War I, France produced and used mustard gas and phosgene. France maintained stockpiles of these weapons at the beginning of World War II, but did not use them. After World War II, France resumed offensive chemical weapons research and testing, and in the 1960s they manufactured Sarin and VX nerve agents. However, France destroyed its stockpiles of chemical weapons prior to 1988. [4]

Conventional Weapons Trade:

France is a major conventional weapons exporter. A September 2007 report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS) found that only the United States and Russia surpassed France in global arms sales between 1999 and 2006. France tallied $26.9 billion in arms agreements for that period, while the United States and Russia completed transactions worth $123.5 billion and $54.3 billion, respectively. [5] A 2011 CRS report found that from 2007 to 2011, France made nearly $11 billion in arms trade agreements with the developing world, making them again the third-leading supplier of arms after the U.S. and Russia. [6]

The French government has stated their support for an Arms Trade Treaty, which is being negotiated at the United Nations from July 2-27, 2012.

The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview:

As of 2016, France is estimated to have about 300 nuclear warheads, most of which are designed for delivery by submarine launched ballistic missiles(SLBM). The other warheads would outfit the Air-Sol Moyenne Portée (ASMP) missiles carried by Mirage 2000N, Super Étendard, and Rafale planes.  France currently operates four Triomphant class nuclear submarines.

Delivery Systems

Missile

  • Ballistic Missiles: In 1996, France decided to eliminate its nuclear-armed land-based ballistic missiles, leaving it with only submarine-launched nuclear ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

  • Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles: At the end of 2010, France deployed the M51 SLBM on its four ballistic missile submarines. [7] The older models of the French SLBM are M4A/B and the M45. [8]

  • Cruise Missiles: France has both conventional and nuclear-armed cruise missiles. The nuclear version is the Air-Sol-Moyenne Portée (ASMP). France has transferred conventional cruise missiles to other countries, including the French-British Black Shaheen missile, a version of the Scalp cruise missile, to the United Arab Emirates. France tested the Scalp cruise missile in 2010. It has a range of 1,000 km. [9]

Submarines

  • France’s submarine force consists of four Triomphant class submarines. Both Le Terrible and Le Vigilant carries sixteen M51 missiles while the other two submarines carry M45 missiles [10].  Both of these missiles have a range of 6000 km and deliver 100 kilotons warheads.  France is expected to upgrade its remaining submarines by 2017 and to replace the M51.1 missiles with the M51.2 by 2015.

Strategic Bombers

  • The French Air Force currently operates Mirage 2000N and Rafale aircrafts.  These aircrafts are capable of carrying and delivering nuclear payloads.  Additionally, the French Navy operates Super Éntendard aircrafts, which are also capable of carrying and delivering nuclear payloads [11]. All planes carry ASMP cruise missiles to deliver 300 kt warheads.  The French military is expected to replace its entire Super Éntendard fleet with Dassault Rafale planes by 2015, and some of its Mirage 2000N with Rafale planes by 2018. [12]

Nuclear Doctrine

France reserves the right to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict. It has reaffirmed a 1995 pledge not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states-parties to the NPT unless it is facing an invasion or sustained attack against its territories, armed forces, or states with which it has security agreement and the attack is in alliance with a nuclear-weapon state. At the same time, French President Jacques Chirac suggested in January 2006 that nuclear weapons would be an option for responding to states that conduct “terrorist” or any type of weapon of mass destruction attack against France.

Paris declared that it took steps in 1992 and 1996 to extend the time it take to launch nuclear weapons.  It is believed that France needs several days in order to launch nuclear weapons.

France conducted 210 nuclear tests. The first test occurred Feb. 13, 1960, and the last test took place Jan. 27, 1996. France was the fourth country to conduct a nuclear weapon test.

Fissile Material

Chirac announced in February 1996 that France no longer produced fissile material, highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium, for weapons purposes. He also vowed that France would dismantle its fissile material production facilities for arms. As of 2011, France is estimated to have approximately 26 metric tons of HEU and 6 metric tons of plutonium for weapons purposes. France also possesses HEU and plutonium for its civilian nuclear power program. In its most recent IAEA disclosure, France said it had 56 tons of plutonium and 4.6 tons of HEU for civilian use. [13] France is one of the few countries that continues to reprocess spent nuclear fuel, and the accept fuel from foreign countries for that purpose. Currently, approximately 24 tons of foreign owned plutonium, mostly belonging to Japan, is stored in France.


Proliferation Record

In 1957, France signed a major nuclear cooperation agreement with Israel even though it was generally understood that Israel was interested in potentially developing a nuclear arsenal. France halted the agreement in 1960.

France built the Osirak reactor in Iraq despite warnings from other governments that the reactor might be used to support a secret Iraqi nuclear weapons program. Paris declined to rebuild the reactor after Israel bombed the plant in 1981.


Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

France has signed protocols stating its intent to respect and not threaten the use of nuclear weapons against states-parties to the Latin America, South Pacific, and African nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties. France has not signed the protocols for the Central Asian and Southeast Asian zones.

As of 2008, the French government supports the negotiation of a fissile material cutoff treaty, and has affirmed that the Conference on Disarmament is the appropriate forum for negotiations.

France is a state-party to the Open Skies Treaty, which enables unarmed reconnaissance flights over all states-parties territories, and has signed the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. France, along with other NATO members, is refusing to ratify the latter agreement until Russia fulfills commitments to withdraw its military forces from Georgia and Moldova.

France signed and ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans “all use, stockpiling, production and transfer of Cluster Munitions.” [14] The treaty went into effect August 1, 2010.

France has been a supporter of security nuclear material, [15] and participated in both the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington, DC and the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit held in Seoul, South Korea.

France has engaged in negotiations with Iran such as the most recent rounds of the P5+1 talks over Iran’s nuclear activities, over its nuclear activities, which France suspects are intended to develop nuclear weapons. France supported ratcheting up sanctions on Iran to persuade it to halt certain activities, particularly uranium enrichment. This included a European Union-wide ban on importing Iranian oil that went into effect July 1, 2012.

-Researched and prepared by Alex Bollfrass. Updated by Victor Silva


ENDNOTES

1. Lepick, Olivier, “French Activities Related to Biological Warfare, 1919-45,” Biological and Toxin Weapons: Research, Development and Use from the Middle Ages to 1945,” Geissler, Erhard, and van Courtland Mood, John Ellis, eds., Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 1999.

2. “France: Practice Related to Rule 73. Biological Weapons.” International Committee of the Red Cross, page visited July 2012. http://www.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v2_cou_fr_rule73

3. “Chemical and Biological Weapons: Possession and Programs Past and Present.” James Martin Center For Nonproliferation Studies, updated March 2008. http://cns.miis.edu/cbw/possess.htm

4. “France Chemical.” King’s College London, page visited July 2012.http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/warstudies/research/groups/csss/alpha/countries/France/France-Chemical.aspx

5. Grimmett, Richard F., Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1999-2006, Congressional Research Service, September 26, 2007, 92 pp.

6. Grimmett, Richard F., Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2003-2010, Congressional Research Service, September 22, 2011, 89 pp.

7. “M51 – Missile mer-sol balistique strategique.” Direction generale de l’armement, June 14, 2011. http://www.defense.gouv.fr/dga/equipement/dissuasion/m51-missile-mer-sol-balistique-strategique/%28language%29/fre-FR#SearchText=m51#xtcr=3

8. “Worldwide Ballistic Missile Inventories.” Arms Control Association, January 2012.http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/missiles

9. Irish, John. “AIRSHOW-France eyes sea-launched cruise missiles.” Reuters, June 20, 2011. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/20/airshow-mbda-missiles-idUSLDE75J1PV20110620

10. SIPRI Yearbook 2013, (Oxford: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2012), 303.

11. Atomic Archive, "French Nuclear Forces." Accessed June 18, 2013. http://www.atomicarchive.com/Almanac/FRForces.shtml.

12.SIPRI Yearbook 2012, (Oxford: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2012), 325.

13. International Panel on Fissile Materials, Global Fissile Material Report, 2011, January 2012, 49 pp. (http://fissilematerials.org/library/gfmr11.pdf)

14. Convention on Cluster Munitions – CCM, The Convention, page visited July 2012, http://www.clusterconvention.org/

15. “Events: Nuclear Security Summit (Seoul, March 26 to 28, 2012). France Diplomatie, page visited July 2012.http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/global-issues/disarmament-arms-control/arms-control-and-arms-trade/events-2129/article/nuclear-security-summit-seoul-26

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Posted: March 21, 2013

Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: China

November 2015

Updated: March 2017

This profile summarizes the major arms control agreements, regimes, initiatives, and practices that China subscribes to and those that it does not. It also describes the major weapons programs, policies, and holdings of China, as well as its proliferation record. This profile is one of a series focused on the arms control record and status of key states, all of which are available here.

Contents

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

  • The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview
  • Delivery Systems
  • Fissile Material
  • Proliferation Record
  • Nuclear Doctrine

Biological Weapons

Chemical Weapons

Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

  • Conference on Disarmament (CD)
  • Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
  • Nuclear Security Summits
  • Six-Party Talks
  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

Signed

Ratified

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

---

1992

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

1996

---

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)

---

1989*

CPPNM 2005 Amendment

____

2009

Chemical Weapons Convention

1993

1997

Biological Weapons Convention

---

1984

International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism

2005

2010

*China stated that it will not be bound by the dispute settlement procedures in Paragraph 2, Article 17

Back to Top

Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Group

Status

Australia Group

Not a member

Missile Technology Control Regime

Not a member.  China, in 2004, applied for membership, but Beijing did not receive the necessary consensus approval of the group because the United States and some other countries continue to find fault with Chinese missile and technology exports. China says it abides by the MTCR guidelines.

Nuclear Suppliers Group

Member

Wassenaar Arrangement

Not a member

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol

Signatory, entered into force in 2002

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism

Participant

Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation

Not a participant

Proliferation Security Initiative

Not a participant

UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1673

China has filed reports on activities to fulfill the resolutions

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Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview
China does not publicly release information about the size of its nuclear arsenal. A June 2016 report from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimates that China possesses 260 warheads. China’s nuclear arsenal has been steadily increasing with respective figures placed at 240 in 2011 and 250 in 2013.  China’s warheads are thought to be kept in storage under central control during times of peace. It is uncertain whether or not China possesses a non-strategic nuclear arsenal.

China's nuclear policy has been defined by possessing the minimum capabilities needed to deter a first strike from a potential aggressor.

Delivery Systems
Nuclear Modernization

  • China’s nuclear delivery systems are undergoing modernization programs, keeping with the modernization efforts of its People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Such efforts are viewed by Chinese leaders as essential for achieving great power status and advancing national interests and sovereign claims.
  • Hans M. Kristensen & Robert S. Norris report that, “The modernized force is more mobile, responsive, and accurate, and can overwhelm a limited US ballistic missile defense system." 
  • According to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), China continues to field new and more advanced nuclear delivery systems with improved range and destructive capability.
  • China’s decision to switch some of its missiles from liquid to solid fuel has improved their capabilities, in both range and promptness of launch. 

 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM)

  • China appears to maintain a minimal force of nuclear-armed ICBMs to ensure Beijing’s ability to execute a second strike.
  • Estimates place China as having around 143 nuclear-capable land-based missiles capable of delivering approximately 163 warheads. A 2016 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists report estimates that around 50-75 of these land-based missiles are ICBMs, whereas the DOD’s annual military power report on China in 2016 figures China’s ICBM arsenal at around 75-100 ICBMs. Only 40-50 of China’s ICBMs are capable of targeting the continental United States. 
  • China’s ICBM arsenal contains:
    • DF-4 (CSS-3): ~10 missiles fixed with a single 3,300 kt warhead; 5,500+ km range. 
    • DF-5A (CSS-4, Mod 2): ~10 missiles fixed with a single 4,000-5,000 kt warhead; 13,000+ km range.
    • DF-5B (CSS-4, Mod 3): ~10 missiles fixed with three 200-300 kt multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) warheads; ~12,000 km range. The DF-5B is a variant of the DF-5A upgraded to carry MIRVs.
    • DF-5C: on Jan. 31 2017, it was reported that China had flight tested the DF-5C, fixed with 10 warheads—a breakthrough in China’s nuclear weapons development. However, some experts are skeptical of this claim. The DF-5C is reported to be a two-stage, liquid-fueled missile with a range of around 8,000 miles (approximately 13,000 km).
    • DF-31 (CSS-10, Mod 1): ~8 missiles fixed with a single 200-300 kt warhead; 7,000+ km range.
    • DF-31A (CSS-10 Mod 2): ~25 missiles fixed with a single 200-300 kt warhead; 11,000+ km range.
    • DF-41: in development; flight-tested in 2016 with two MIRVs. It is a three-stage, solid propellant missile with an estimated range of 12,000-15,000 km and is believed to be able to carry up to ten warheads. The DF-41 is intended to replace the older liquid-fueled DF-5As.
  • China is in the process of replacing the older liquid-fueled missiles such as the DF-4 and DF-5A with the solid-fueled ICBMs.
  • In January 2017, the DF-41, never publically displayed before, was alleged to have been deployed at the Russian border. 
  • China’s land-based missiles, both conventional and nuclear, are under the control of the PLA Rocket Force, a command of 100,000 personnel.

Submarines and Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM)

  • As of March 2017, China has a fleet of 4 Jin-class (Type 094) nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). The Jin-class SSBNs are designed to carry the new JL-2 SLBMs.
  • An additional 4 Jin-class SSBNs have been commissioned and at least one is under construction.
  • China possesses two SLBM types:
    • JL-1 (CSS-NX-3): an unknown number of missiles fixed with a single 200-300 kt warhead; estimated range of 1,700 km.
    • JL-2 (CSS-NX-14): a modified version of the DF-31 ICBM comprising around 48 missiles fixed with a single 200-300 kt warhead; estimated range of 7,200 km but some estimates place the number at 8,000-9,000 km.
  • Five Jin-class submarines may enter service before China begins developing and fielding its next-generation SSBN, the Type 096, over the coming decade. The type 096 submarine is expected to carry both the JL-2 and a new missile, the JL-3, which is to be the JL-2’s anticipated successor.
  • There exists some doubt as to whether or not the JL-3 has already been developed, with some sources claiming a range of 12,000 km. 
  • Despite various claims to the contrary, it is unclear whether or not Chinese submarines have undergone any deterrent patrols. Beginning in early, 2015 it was reported that a Chinese SSBN has undergone a 95-day patrol. 

Strategic Bombers

  • China has begun to update its outdated nuclear-capable bomber fleet.
  • According to a DOD report, China continued, in 2015, to develop long-range bombers, including some that Chinese military analysts have described as “capable of performing strategic deterrence.”
  • The PLA air force was assigned a “strategic deterrence” mission in 2012.
  • As of December 2016, China’s fleet of nuclear-capable bombers consisted of about 20 Hong-6 (H-6) bombers based on Soviet designs, with a range of only 3,100+ km.  
  • The H-6 bombers are only capable of delivering an unspecified number of gravity-based bombs but are not believed to be assigned an active nuclear mission.
  • Media reports suggest that China may develop a new nuclear bomber capability in the future.
  • The PLA Air Force operates a fully redesigned H-6 variant known as the H-6k that has an extended range and is capable of carrying six land attack cruise missiles.
  • In March 2017 it was announced that the 5th generation Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter jet had entered into service, putting China one step closer to rivaling U.S. air superiority in East Asia.  

Fissile Material

  • Although China has not publicly declared a halt to the production of fissile material for weapons purposes, highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium, general speculation is that Beijing has stopped its production. China is reported to have last produced HEU in 1989 and last produced separated plutonium in 1991.
  • The International Panel on Fissile Material's 2015 report estimates that China maintains a stockpile of 18 ± 4 metric tons of military HEU and 1.8 ± 0.5 metric tons of weapon-grade plutonium. At the present, the limited size of China’s military stockpile restricts its ability to produce more warheads.
  • China has not declared a civilian HEU stockpile and, as of 2016, maintains an estimated civilian plutonium stockpile of only 25.6 kg.

Proliferation Record

  • China has a record of assisting states with nuclear and missile programs in the past, but in 2000, China made a public commitment not to assist “in any way, any country in the development of ballistic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons.”
  • China has aided Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs among other states. Iran, Libya, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia have also been identified as recipients of sensitive technologies and materials from China.
  • The China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC)—with government authorization—has exported Miniature Neutron Source Reactors (MNSR) to Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Ghana, and Nigeria. These reactors run on highly enriched uranium fuel, albeit a fraction of what is necessary for a nuclear warhead, which has been supplied by China to recipient states.
  • There have been efforts made by China to work with those states to convert these reactors to use low enriched uranium fuel, including a 2010 agreement between the U.S. Argonne National Laboratory and the China Institute of Atomic Energy for a new facility in China to produce LEU replacement cores in MNSR's.
  • Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) members, including the United States, saw enough improvement in China’s nuclear export behavior that they extended membership to China in 2004.
    • Nonetheless, China has sold reactors to Pakistan, as was revealed in a 2010 agreement between the two nations. This trade, however, contravenes NSG guidelines.
  • China’s bid to join the Missile Technology Control Regime failed in 2004, citing continuing concerns about Chinese missile and missile technology transactions. China, however, maintains that it voluntarily abides by the regime’s guidelines.
  • A 2016 State Department Compliance report cited that “In 2015, Chinese entities continued to supply missile programs of proliferation concern.”
  • Chinese entities have been regularly sanctioned for nonproliferation violations  by the U.S. government. For example, 2016 had seen a slew of Chinese entities sanctioned under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA) sanctions.
  • The United States has also, at various times, imposed sanctions on Chinese entities for missile and chemical weapons related transfers to Pakistan and Iran such as the provision of dual-use chemical weapons precursors and production equipment to Iran beginning in 1997.

Nuclear Doctrine
China is the sole nuclear-weapon state to declare publicly that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons. Beijing has emphasized that this vow stands “at any time or under any circumstances.” However, the omission of China’s “No First Use” policy from its 2013 defense white paper caused considerable concern amongst U.S. analysts. Nevertheless, in its 2015 military strategy white paper it reaffirmed its no first use policy and further pledged not to engage in a nuclear arms race. The report also states,

China has always kept its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for maintaining its national security. China will optimize its nuclear force structure, improve strategic early warning, command and control, missile penetration, rapid reaction, and survivability and protection, and deter other countries from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against China.

Regardless, some theorize that the modernization of China’s nuclear arsenal, its intent on increasing its nuclear warfare capabilities, and its posturing demonstrate a doctrine of counternuclear coercion or limited deterrence.

Testing:
China has conducted 45 nuclear tests. The first test occurred Oct. 16, 1964, and the last test took place July 29, 1996.

Back to Top

Biological Weapons

  • China contends it is in compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) despite U.S. allegations asserting the contrary. U.S. State Department compliance assessment reports have said that China possessed an offensive biological weapons capability prior to joining the BWC in 1984.
  • The 2015 report indicates that China "engaged during the reporting period in biological activities with potential dual-use applications. However, the information did not establish that China is engaged in activities prohibited by the BWC."

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Chemical Weapons

  • China has declared that it has destroyed all chemical weapon agent production facilities and solely conducts defensive chemical warfare research.
  • Beijing’s official position emphasizes the complete prohibition and destruction of chemical weapons. In the past, the U.S. government has alleged that China may be violating its Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) commitments by secretly pursuing chemical weapons programs.
  • The State Department’s 2010 compliance report concluded that “Available information does not allow the United States to confirm whether China has fully declared or explained its historical CW [chemical weapon] activities, including CW production, disposition of produced CW agents, and transfer of CW agents to another country.”
  • China inherited approximately 700,000 abandoned chemical weapon (ACW) munitions from the Imperial Japanese Army at the end of World War II. Many of these ACWs are not easily located or properly stored; many of them are buried.
  • Japan, as of 2017, continues to jointly work with China to destroy these ACWs. This has been the largest chemical weapon destruction effort in history. Destruction began in March 2010. 
  • In November 2014, the Chinese Foreign Ministry urged Japan to speed up the destruction process.
  • As of December 2014, 50,800 ACWs had been recovered in China, of which 37,373 were verifiably destroyed. 

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Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

Conference on Disarmament (CD)
At the 65-member CD, China expressed support for negotiation of an “effectively verifiable” fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT) while declaring its top priority to be the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS). Chinese insistence that the conference take some action on the outer space issue in parallel with any negotiations on a cutoff treaty and the U.S. opposition to that approach has, as of 2017, stalemated the conference over the past several years. In 2003, China said it would accept discussions on outer space rather than formal negotiations but that formulation remained unacceptable to the United States. China, however, did not agree to a 2007 compromise formula, including talks on outer space, which the United States said it would not oppose. China refused to participate in Australian and Japanese-led side meetings at the CD in 2011, insisting that the CD was the only proper conduit for FMCT negotiations. The U.S. has stated that the lack of support by China and other key countries resulted in the failure of the side meetings to make progress. China believes that a FMCT should not restrict the use of existing fissile material for weapons purposes.

Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
China has ratified additional protocols to the Latin American and Caribbean, South Pacific, African, and Central Asian nuclear weapons free zone treaties pledging not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the treaty’s member states. However, China maintains a reservation to additional Protocol II of the South Pacific nuclear weapons free zone. It has not ratified the Southeast Asia nuclear weapons free zone treaty.   

Nuclear Security Summits
Chinese participation in the Nuclear Security Summits includes the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington, DC, the 2012 NSS in Seoul, the 2014 NSS in The Hague, and the 2016 NSS held again in Washington, DC. China plays an active role in these summits and in the 2014 NSS, President Xi Jinping put forward a Chinese approach to nuclear security for the first time.

Six-Party Talks
China has played a key role in hosting and helping mediate the so-called  six-party talks  to achieve North Korea’s nuclear disarmament as a direct result of its withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Although those talks broke down in 2008 and have yet to resume, China maintains that they remain an effective mechanism for achieving disarmament in North Korea.  However, amidst mounting pressure and criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration for China to take charge of the North Korean threat, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stated, in February 2017, that “We have said many times already that the crux of the North Korean nuclear issue is the problem between the United States and North Korea,” and that “The Trump White House needs to make the first move and talk to Pyongyang.”

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Ation (JCPOA)
As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China took part in the negotiation of the July 2015 JCPOA, which limits and rolls back Iran’s nuclear program. Despite being somewhat of a “quiet negotiator” in these talks, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed, at the conclusion of negotiation, that “at some important points when the negotiation met with the difficulties and reached the deadlocks, China had actively explored ideas and approaches to resolve the problems and put forward its own solutions from a perspective taking into consideration of the common interests of all parties.”

On Jan. 18, 2017, Deputy Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations Wu Haitao reaffirmed China’s commitment to the implementation of JCPOA amid skepticism about the commitment of certain states party to the agreement. Haitao also stated that “all parties should stick to their political commitments and fend off outside interference, so as to stay the course in the implementation…they should act in good faith and properly solve technical divergences through consultations, on an equal footing, in the quest for a long-term, sustainable solution.”

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Posted: July 29, 2008

Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: The United Kingdom

February 2015

Updated: March 2017

This profile summarizes the major arms control agreements, regimes, initiatives, and practices that the United Kingdom subscribes to and those that it does not. It also describes the major weapons programs, policies, and holdings of the United Kingdom, as well as its proliferation record. This profile is one of a series focused on the arms control record and status of key states, all of which are available here.

Contents

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

  • The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview
  • Delivery Systems
  • Fissile Material
  • Proliferation Record
  • Nuclear Doctrine

Biological Weapons

Chemical Weapons

Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

  • Open Skies Treaty
  • Conference on Disarmament (CD)
  • Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
  • Nuclear Security Summits
  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

Signed

Ratified

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

1968

1968

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

1996

1998

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)

1980

1981

CPPNM 2005 Amendment

---

2010

Chemical Weapons Convention

1993

1996

Biological Weapons Convention

1972

1975

International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism

2005

2009

Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Group

Status

Australia Group

Member

Missile Technology Control Regime

Member

Nuclear Suppliers Group

Member

Wassenaar Arrangement

Member

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol

Signatory, entered into force in 2004

Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism

Participant

Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation

Participant

Proliferation Security Initiative

Participant

UN Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1673

The United Kingdom has filed the requested reports on its activities to fulfill the resolutions and volunteered to provide assistance to other states

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Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview
The United Kingdom (UK), as of 2017, maintains a military stockpile of 215 nuclear weapons and has reduced its deployed strategic warheads to 120, of which no more than 40 are at sea on the Vanguard-class submarines at any given time. The UK announced that it had achieved its commitment to reduce deployed warheads to 120 in January 2015.

The UK has the smallest deployed arsenal of the nuclear weapons states and has committed to reducing its nuclear stockpile. In October 2010, the UK government announced plans to reduce its total nuclear weapons stockpile to 180 weapons by the mid-2020s. It reaffirmed this commitment in its 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

Upon successful reduction down to 180 nuclear warheads, the UK will have achieved a 65 percent reduction in the size of its overall nuclear stockpiles since the height of the Cold War. Plans to modernize the UK’s nuclear arsenal were introduced in 2006 but have, presently (March 2017), been deferred. The cornerstone of modernization plans surrounds the introduction of a new nuclear-capable submarine to replace the Vanguard-class.

Delivery Systems
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM)

  • The United Kingdom’s does not possess ICBMs.

Submarines and Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM)

  • British nuclear warheads are only deployed on SLBMs.
  • The United Kingdom maintains one type of ballistic missile system in its arsenal for delivering nuclear warheads: the U.S.-leased Trident II (D5) SLBM, which has an estimated range of roughly 7,400 kilometers. The UK’s Trident D-5 missiles are equipped with British warheads similar to the United States’ W76 100 kt warheads.
  • The Trident D5 is planned to remain in service until the early 2040s following a life extension program. Decisions for a replacement warhead have been deferred until later this decade and the current warhead is expected to last into the late 2030s.   
  • The British military currently operates four Vanguard-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). Each submarine is capable of carrying 16 Trident D5 missiles and each of these missiles carry up to three 100 kt warheads. Currently each submarine only carries up to eight Trident D5s.
  • One submarine is always out at sea on deterrent patrol. The missiles aboard the Vanguard, however, are not alert and require several days of preparation prior to launching.
  • The Vanguard SSBNs are housed at Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde off the shore of Gare Loch in Scotland.
  • At the cornerstone of the UK’s nuclear weapons modernization ambitions, the British government declared it intentions in 2015 to replace the Vanguard-class submarines in what is known as the Successor submarine program. This program entered its design phase as early as 2011. It is estimated that the production of four Successor submarines will cost £31 billion. In keeping with an anti-Trident campaign, there exists debate over whether or not to carry out this program.  
  • In June 2012, the British government awarded a contract to Rolls-Royce to build two new nuclear submarine reactor cores. The second of these cores is for the first Successor class vessel.  In October 2016, construction of the first Successor submarine began under BAE Systems and has been named the HMS Dreadnought. The Dreadnought will be the Royal Navy’s largest-ever submarine at 17,200 metric tons, 1,300 metric tonnes heavier than the Vanguard. It will be only be fitted with 12 missile tubes for the Trident D5 instead of 16.
  • The Vanguard-class is expected to leave service by the early 2030s.
  • Although the UK’s nuclear modernization plans enjoy strong support from the government, particularly from the Conservative Party, there are those in the government, mainly in the Labour Party—with current Opposition Leader Jermey Corbyn at the forefront, who oppose these plans amid rising public skepticism about the need to possess nuclear weapons. Opposition to modernization plans are chiefly due to its high cost (it is slated to be the largest British military project in history), time commitment, prevailing pro-disarmament sentiments, and safety concerns.
  • Scottish, Welsh, and Irish nationalist parties are also generally pro-disarmament. In addition, the future of the UK’s nuclear weapons was jeopardized by the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 as its nuclear submarines are housed at HMNB Clyde in Scotland and the Scottish Nationalist Party vowed to scrap the Vanguard submarines if Scotland obtained independence.

Strategic Bombers

  • The United Kingdom does not possess nuclear capable aircraft.
  • Britain’s dismantlement of the Royal Air Force’s gravity based nuclear bombs in 1998 marked the beginning of its maritime-only deterrence strategy.

Fissile Material
Military

  • In April 1995, the UK ceased production of separated plutonium and the British government declared that it no longer produces fissile material for weapons. The UK halted the production of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in 1963. As of 2016, the British government is estimated to maintain a military stockpile of approximately 3.2 metric tons of plutonium and 19.8 metric tons of HEU.

Civilian

  • The United Kingdom possesses the world’s largest stockpile of civilian plutonium, with over 103.3 metric tons designated for this purpose.
  • In 2014, the UK announced that it will shut down its B205 plutonium reprocessing plant around 2020. The plant reprocessed spent fuel from the UK’s Magnox power reactors.
  • The country stores approximately 23 metric tons of foreign owned plutonium, the majority of which belongs to Japan.
  • The UK’s civilian stockpile of HEU is roughly 1.4 metric tons.

Proliferation Record
The UK is not known to have deliberately or significantly contributed to the spread of biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons to other states. The UK is, officially, an active promoter of nonproliferation and is a leading member in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Australia Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, and the Zangger Committee as well as the Proliferation Security Initiative. The UK has been involved in both Iranian and Libyan nonproliferation processes and continues to support the creation of an effective and verifiable chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.   

Nuclear Doctrine
In its 2015 Strategic Defense and Security Review document, the British government reaffirmed a commitment not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states-parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) subject to certain conditions regarding their behavior and alliances. Nevertheless, this 2015 document notes that the government reserves the right to “review this assurance if the future threat, development or proliferation of these weapons make it necessary.” The document also states that “We will continue to keep our nuclear posture under constant review in the light of the international security environment and the actions of potential adversaries.” London refuses to rule out the first use of nuclear weapons, but has stated that it would only employ such arms in self-defense and “even then only in extreme circumstances.”

The UK’s 2006 defense white paper states that “we deliberately maintain ambiguity about precisely when, how and at what scale we would contemplate use of our nuclear deterrent.”

The British government’s standard practice is to have one submarine on deterrent patrol at any given time. The government claims the missiles aboard the submarine are not on alert and that launching a missile would take several days of preparation

Testing
The United Kingdom has conducted 45 nuclear weapon tests. The first test occurred on October 3, 1952, and the last took place November 26, 1991.

Biological Weapons

  • The United Kingdom had an active biological warfare program from 1934 to 1956.
  • As part of that program, the United Kingdom weaponized anthrax and researched plague, typhoid fever, and botulinum toxin.
  • The UK ratified the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in March 1975 and has reaffirmed its support for the BTWC in 2005.
  • Today, the British government operates an extensive and sophisticated defensive program that includes research on potentially offensive pathogens.

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Chemical Weapons

  • During World War I, the United Kingdom produced an arsenal of chlorine and mustard gases.
  • In 1957 the UK abandoned its chemical weapons program and has since eradicated its stockpiles.
  • The UK ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1996 and has provided financial assistance to countries such as Russia, in 2001, to destroy their chemical weapons stockpiles.

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Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

Open Skies Treaty
The United Kingdom is a state-party to the Open Skies Treaty, which enables unarmed reconnaissance flights over all states-parties territories. The treaty is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by providing all participants a direct role in gathering information about military forces and activities of concern to them.

Conference on Disarmament (CD)
The United Kingdom regularly participates in the CD, established in 1979 by the international community as a multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. In July 2009, the British government announced its report on nuclear nonproliferation entitled “The Road to 2010” at the CD. In 2010, the UK called for negotiations on an Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) to be moved to the United Nations General Assembly where it could be endorsed by a majority vote.  

Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
The United Kingdom has ratified additional protocols to the Latin American and the Caribbean, South Pacific, African, and Central Asian nuclear weapons free zone treaties pledging not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the treaty's member states. However, the UK maintains reservations to each of these protocols. It has not ratified the Southeast Asia nuclear weapons free zone treaty.   

Nuclear Security Summits
British participation in the Nuclear Security Summits includes the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington, DC, the 2012 NSS in Seoul, the 2014 NSS in The Hague, and the 2016 NSS held again in Washington, DC.

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
London has engaged in nonproliferation negotiations with Iran such as the most recent rounds of the P5+1 talks over Iran’s nuclear activities. The British government supported ratcheting up sanctions on Iran to persuade it to halt certain activities, particularly uranium enrichment. This included a European Union-wide ban on importing Iranian oil that went into effect July 1, 2012. The UK participated in negotiations on the JCPOA in July 2015 which both limits and rolls back Iran’s nuclear program. Then Prime Minister David Cameron said that the deal would "make our world a safer place."

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Posted: November 29, 2007

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