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China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:46 am

Chinese ICBMs and SLBMs are thoroughly tested and reliable

In the mainstream western press, you constantly read that Chinese ICBMs and SLBMs are beset by troubled development. Is this claim true?

An examination of the test records of Chinese ICBMs and SLBMs shows a history of SUCCESSFUL test flights. A successful test flight is easy to determine, because the missile will reach an apogee of 1,000km (or 600 miles).

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TEN CONSECUTIVE SUCCESSFUL DF-5 ICBM TEST FLIGHTS


DF-5 Chronology | Encyclopedia Astronautica

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FIVE CONSECUTIVE SUCCESSFUL DF-31 ICBM TEST FLIGHTS


DF-31 Chronology | Encyclopedia Astronautica

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TWO CONSECUTIVE SUCCESSFUL JL-2 SLBM TEST FLIGHTS


JL-2 Chronology | Encyclopedia Astronautica

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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:55 am

Seven known Chinese DF-31A ICBM brigades

1. Delingha
2. Haiyan
3. Datong (809 Brigade)
4. Tainshui (812 Brigade)
5. Xixia
6. Shaoyang (805 Brigade)
7. Yuxi

7 DF-31A brigades x 12 ICBMs per brigade x 3 MIRVs per DF-31A ICBM = 252 thermonuclear warheads

In my next post, I will provide further citations and pictures to show the deployment of Chinese DF-31A brigades.

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China: New START-type report | Nuclear Forces

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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:58 pm

Correcting Bill Gertz's error

Bill Gertz has made a rare error regarding China's thermonuclear weapons. I have brought it to his attention in the comment section.

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Inside the Ring: Pentagon goes hypersonic with long-range rapid attack weapon | The Washington Times

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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:13 pm

Hans Kristensen is clearly wrong about DF-31A ICBMs at China's Kunming Valley

Hans Kristensen conducted a pixel analysis of two tunnel entrances at China's Kunming Valley. His conclusion was that the Chinese DF-31A ICBM mobile TEL would have difficulty entering the tunnel portals (see citation below) and he claimed the entire Kunming Valley complex was a munition depot. I will show that his conclusion is clearly wrong.

Hans Kristensen conducted a selective analysis. When you look at the upper end of Kunming Valley, you notice the existence of tunnel portals that are not located orthogonally to the road. These tunnel portals allow for easy ingress and egress of Chinese DF-31A ICBMs (see second citation below).

There is another major error in Hans Kristensen's reasoning. He failed to understand the road edge (with a width of 4.5 meters) represents the beginning of a tree canopy. Since I am not a Kunming tree expert, I will use a typical Chinese tree such as a willow tree. The average width of a willow tree canopy is about 11 to 14 meters. Divide by two and subtract one meter for the tree trunk and we have an additional clearance of five meters.

That is plenty of room for a DF-31A mobile TEL to enter the tunnel portals that Hans Kristensen claimed did not offer enough turn radius for the DF-31A ICBM mobile TEL.

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No, China Does Not Have 3,000 Nuclear Weapons | FAS Strategic Security Blog

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"This image shows two of the so-called 'tunnel portals' identified by the Georgetown University report as being part of a DF-31 deployment site near Kunming. An image of a DF-31/DF-31A launcher is superimposed to illustrate the difficulty it would have turning at the site. The dimensions of the roads indicate that the facility is not for DF-31 launchers, but looks more like a munitions depot."

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Look at the tunnel entrances in the upper-right corner. There is plenty of room for a DF-31A mobile TEL to enter or leave the tunnels.

Les installations souterraines de la seconde artillerie

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An expanded view of the upper-right part of the Kunming Valley shows the presence of tunnel entrances where a DF-31A ICBM mobile TEL can easily enter and leave.

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There is plenty of room for a DF-31A mobile TEL to turn into the tunnel. There is an extra five meters of ground beneath the tree canopy from the road edge.

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Source: Silhouette of a weeping willow tree in a public park in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China. [Note: I substituted a different willow tree to avoid violating a copyright.]

Weeping Willow Tree Facts - Buzzle

"Mar 2, 2012 - A weeping willow tree or the Salix babylonica is the favorite of those who want to add a ... create a 'falling' canopy, they form excellent shade trees that are much in demand. ... Their height and width can be about 35 to 50 feet."
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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:56 pm

PLA Second Artillery missile bases and brigades

China has at least six missile "bases" (e.g. 51st through 56th base). "Each base has numerous subordinate missile brigades."[1]

Spotlight on New Second Artillery ICBM Base Leadership | AsiaEye

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"Each brigade is presumably equipped with 12 launchers (six launch battalions, two subordinate companies each, and with each company assigned one launcher)."[2]

Let's take a closer look at one of the missile bases (e.g. Missile Base 55).[3]

Spotlight on New Second Artillery ICBM Base Leadership | AsiaEye

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From the chart, we see that the information is consistent with the other sources in my earlier posts. It is general knowledge that China's nuclear modernization is gathering speed. China watchers have expected the liquid-fueled DF-4A IRBMs to be replaced with newer solid-fueled DF-31A ICBMs.

Interestingly, with advancements in lightweight composites and higher impulse for rocket fuel, the DF-31A ICBM at 16 meters is much shorter than the DF-4A IRBM at 28 meters. The diameter is also smaller on the DF-31A ICBM with "2.0m (1st/2nd stages), 1.5m (3rd stage)" versus the DF-4A IRBM at 2.25m.

In the citation below, we can see a DF-31A ICBM being moved into Shaoyang, Hunan for the 805 brigade.

New DF-31A ICBM Brigade in Hunan? | AsiaEye

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In the following citation, we see more proof of DF-31A ICBM deployment that meshes with the list of known DF-31A ICBM brigades.

Chinese Mobile ICBMs Seen in Central China | Federation of American Scientists

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The total of seven Chinese DF-31A ICBM brigades is consistent with the known rate of Chinese DF-31A ICBM production at one brigade per year.[4]

In conclusion, we know there are at least six large Chinese missile bases. Each Chinese missile base has many brigades of ICBMs. At Missile Base 55, there are two brigades of DF-5A/B ICBMs. Those two 803rd and 814th brigades (or 24 ICBMs) already exceed the U.S. estimate of 20 total DF-5 ICBMs. When you include the other five missile bases, it should be obvious that the U.S. estimate is dead wrong.

Similarly, we see pictures of the widespread deployment of Chinese DF-31A ICBMs. With one to two brigades of DF-31A ICBMs at each missile base, the estimate of seven known Chinese DF-31A brigades is very reasonable.

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1. PLA Second Artillery Corps | Air Power Australia

"Second Artillery Corps missile units are organized into what the PLA refers to as “bases”. There are six bases, each located in a different geographical area. Described in the terms used by the Russian military, these bases are analogous to Russia's “Missile Armies”. Each base has numerous subordinate missile brigades, with each brigade maintaining one or more garrisons, various underground facilities (UGFs), rail transfer points, and field launch positions."

2. New DF-31A ICBM Brigade in Hunan? | AsiaEye

"Each brigade is presumably equipped with 12 launchers (six launch battalions, two subordinate companies each, and with each company assigned one launcher)."

3. Spotlight on New Second Artillery ICBM Base Leadership | AsiaEye

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4. China and START. Missile buildup may surpass U.S., Russia as they denuclearize

"China and START
By Richard D. Fisher Jr.,
The Washington Times,
20 September 2010
...
In its latest report to the Congress on China`s military released on Aug. 16, the Pentagon says there are less than 10 DF-31 and "10-15" DF-31A ICBMs, up to five more than reported in the previous year`s report, covering 2008. However, in the 2010 issue of "Military Balance," Britain`s International Institute of Strategic Studies notes there is one brigade of 12 DF-31s and two brigades or 24 DF-31A ICBMs, indicating a possible increase of one new brigade from 2008 to 2009.
...
This analyst has been told by Asian military sources that the DF-31A already carries three warheads
and that one deployed DF-5B carries five or six warheads."
Last edited by Martin Su on Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:38 pm

Two known Chinese DF-31 ICBM brigades

I have previously covered the eight brigades of liquid-fueled DF-5A/B ICBMs and seven brigades of solid-fueled DF-31A ICBMs.

The DF-31 ICBM (at 13 meter length) is smaller than the DF-31A (at 16 meter length) and has a shorter range.[1] However, the DF-31 can reach Alaska, Hawaii, and possibly the Northwest of the United States.

The two known brigades of DF-31 ICBMs are located at:

1. Nanyang (813th Brigade)
2. Xining (Urban/Industrial Brigade or U/I Brigade)

PLA Second Artillery Corps | Air Power Australia

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Reference:

1. DF-31/-31A (CSS-9) | Missile Threat

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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Sun Mar 30, 2014 10:24 pm

In December 2001, the United States National Intelligence Council forecast 75-100 Chinese DF-5 ICBMs by 2015. Their forecast was accurate. My current best estimate is 96 DF-5A/B ICBMs (in eight brigades).

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National Intelligence Council | Federation of American Scientists

Foreign Missile Developments and the Ballistic Missile Threat Through 2015, unclassified summary of a National Intelligence Estimate, December 2001.

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If you have trouble reading the small text, here's the quote:

"The Intelligence Community projects that Chinese ballistic missile forces will increase several-fold by 2015, but Beijing's future ICBM force deployed primarily against the United States�which will number around 75 to 100 warheads�will remain considerably smaller and less capable than the strategic missile forces of Russia and the United States.� "

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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Wed May 28, 2014 10:36 pm

My comment on Bloomberg.

China's Advance Spurs Indonesian Military Shift: Southeast Asia - Bloomberg

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Link to NTI page on China:
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Picture of Chinese DF-31A ICBMs:
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Picture of Chinese DF-41 ICBM:
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Picture of two Chinese DF-5 ICBMs in China's Underground Great Wall:
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Picture of Chinese JL-2 SLBM (aka Chinese Trident C4):
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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:31 pm

A nice overhead view of a Chinese Type 094 Jin-class SSBN.

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A nuclear-powered submarine of the Chinese navy prepares to dive in this undated photo. The Pentagon on Thursday said China will probably start naval nuclear-deterrence patrols later this year. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Source: China May Begin Naval Nuclear-Deterrence Patrols in 2014: Pentagon - NationalJournal.com
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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Thu Nov 27, 2014 3:09 pm

China Mulls Building Naval Base in Namibia, Namibian Times Says - Bloomberg

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Sources:

JL-2 (CSS-NX-5) | Missile Threat CSS-NX-4 | Missile Threat

MISSILE SUB PAIRS WITH AIRCRAFT CARRIER | Popular Science
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"Submarine's cruise missile VLS cell (Chinese Internet)
This cruise missile launcher design could take the place of one JL-2 SLBM, in a nuclear missile submarine, putting in up to seven cruise missiles."
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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Mon Dec 08, 2014 6:31 pm

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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:54 pm

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-1 ... -can-t-see

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Video link to China's first atomic test (fission bomb) in 1964: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mULZzwtPM2U

Video link to China's first thermonuclear test (fusion bomb) in 1967: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuX5xug9prk
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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Tue Dec 09, 2014 5:03 pm

Last edited by Martin Su on Tue Dec 09, 2014 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Tue Dec 09, 2014 6:08 pm

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-0 ... qus_thread

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Chinese mathematical proof here (by theoretical physicists Dongshan He, Dongfeng Gao, and Qing-yu Cai): http://arxiv.org/pdf/1404.1207v1.pdf

Western news article on Chinese theoretical physics breakthrough: http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/proo ... m-nothing/
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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:34 am

What is your opinion about DF-31B?

Why would China need this when it already has the heavier ICBM such as DF-41?


The DF-31B provides China with additional military capabilities. As an analogy, the US did not destroy its W87 warheads when the more powerful W88 warheads were developed.

The DF-31B serves as a reassuring redundant option. Also, the DF-31B can be used as an opening salvo for a ladder-down thermonuclear attack.

The DF-31B is lighter and easier to transport to the Himalayas to remind a belligerent country to tone it down.

In conclusion, the DF-31B is a useful tool in many ways.

a. Provides additional MIRVs. The more MIRVs, the merrier.
b. Expendable thermonuclear warheads in a complex EMP or ladder-down implementation strategy.
c. Since it's lighter, it's easier to transport and maintain.
d. Since it's smaller, it's less costly to manufacture.
e. Since it's a decade-old system, the DF-31B should be far more reliable.
f. The DF-31B is dual capable and may be useful as a future retro-fitted conventional strike platform.
g. The DF-31B provides a nice complement to the DF-41. The more mobile units, the greater the survivability. Think of the DF-31B as the low end of the DF-41/DF-31B hi-lo mix (like a J-20/J-31 or F-22/F-35 hi-lo mix).
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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:11 pm

China upgrades earlier section of its 5,000km Underground Great Wall

The hot potato is China. No one knows how many thermonuclear warheads that China is hiding. There are no official data on China, because the Pentagon has the only classified source (via spies).

However, the mainstream media is starting to suggest that the Chinese thermonuclear arsenal could be a lot bigger. In any case, the deployment of DF-41 10-MIRVed ICBMs and JL-2 8-MIRVed SLBMs (according to Jane's Defence) is forcing the unofficial estimates much higher.
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Chinese Military Confirms DF-41 Flight Test | Washington Free Beacon

"Chinese Military Confirms DF-41 Flight Test
Beijing says new multi-warhead missile does not change nuclear policy
BY: Bill Gertz
December 26, 2014 3:36 pm
...
The MIRVed DF-41 missile test also is expected to rekindle the debate in U.S. intelligence circles about the size of China’s nuclear arsenal, initially thought to be limited to around 240 strategic warheads.

The testing of a 10-warhead missile is an indication that the Chinese warhead arsenal is far larger or will rapidly expand as new DF-41s are deployed in the coming years.


A new report by the Georgetown University Asian Arms Control Project reveals that satellite photos have identified a new DF-41 launch complex at the Taiyuan launch center. The imagery is dated April 13, 2014, and is compared with a photo from 2010 of the same location.

The report, dated Dec. 16, states that the DF-41 appears to be based on the Russian design SS-25 road-mobile ICBM but “with Chinese characteristics.”

The DF-41, deployed with either six or 10 MIRVs, as well as DF-31A MIRVed missile will increase the number of warheads in the Chinese strategic arsenal to as many as 600 warheads by 2025, according to the report.

The report also reveals that China’s military is developing new tunneling technology that will permit widening construction of some of the 3,000 miles of underground strategic nuclear facilities. The new tunnels size of 17 meters wide by 10 meters wide will permit adjacent passage of road-mobile DF-31As and DF-41s as well as a possible rail-mobile ICBM variant in a single tunnel, the report said.

A Pentagon spokesman had no immediate comment.

The congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission stated in its annual report made public earlier this month that the DF-41 will carry up to 10 warheads and initial deployment of the mobile missile is expected next year.

The DF-41 will 'have a maximum range as far as 7,456 miles, allowing it to target the entire continental United States,' the report said. 'In addition, some sources claim China has modified the DF–5 and the DF–31A to be able to carry MIRVs.'

The Free Beacon also disclosed in September that China is building a new missile labeled the DF-31B that also is expected to be MIRVed.
"
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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:23 pm

Two likely reasons for unchanging Pentagon claim of 250 Chinese warheads for decades

I don't think anybody believes that China had 250 thermonuclear warheads for 30 years.

There are two lines of thinking regarding the Pentagon claim.

1. The US will keep claiming 250 Chinese warheads indefinitely unless China provides an official number. Since no one knows China's true thermonuclear strength, the US will keep embarrassing China until there's an official account.

2. The US wants to minimize the Chinese thermonuclear arsenal to keep a free hand in the South China Sea. If the Pentagon came out and said "China has 1,000 thermonuclear warheads," the American public would go berserk. The US doesn't have 1,000 large- and medium-size cities. Acknowledging a MAD (ie. mutually assured destruction) status with China would greatly restrict US courses of action in Asia.

The need for China to maintain secrecy over its thermonuclear arsenal size

Now, let's look at the other side. Why won't China reveal the size of its thermonuclear arsenal? China says it needs to maintain strategic ambiguity to fend off a stronger thermonuclear power (e.g. the United States). However, I think the story is more complicated than that.

If China discloses the true size of its thermonuclear arsenal, the U.S. will garner worldwide political support and force China into arms talks. China does not want to have to listen to the Europeans at every meeting and hear them complain about the size of the Chinese thermonuclear arsenal.

Arms talks are bad for China. Verifiable arms reduction measures mean the U.S. will finally have a good look at the 5,000km Underground Great Wall. Without seeing the entire structure in detail and in person, the U.S. will always be kept guessing about the veracity and timeliness (e.g. has changes and upgrades been made) of spy reports. In other words, the Underground Great Wall will remain a mystery. If the U.S. is allowed to see the Underground Great Wall, China has lost the element of surprise.

On the other hand, the U.S. maintains its element of surprise because no one knows where the U.S. boomers are located.

Thus, China cannot participate in arms control talks. The Underground Great Wall can never be shown to outsiders. Otherwise, it loses its potency. Though China is building a credible sea-based deterrent, the conservative Chinese mind-set would want to keep the Underground Great Wall a secret as a backup.

In conclusion, the Pentagon will keep insisting on a tiny Chinese thermonuclear arsenal until China comes clean. China is happy to let the Pentagon keep insisting on an unbelievably low number, because it's good for business. I don't think the unholy alliance will change in the near future. They are both perpetuating a lie, but it suits their political purposes.
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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:07 pm

The West claims no Chinese thermonuclear warhead growth for 35 years!

Look at the chart from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (which probably bases its data on Pentagon estimates). The claim is virtually no additional Chinese thermonuclear warheads for 35 years. The question is: Do you believe the chart?

Here is the problem. China had inducted many new thermonuclear weapon systems during the last 35 years.

a. DF-5A ICBM
b. DF-5B 8-MIRVed ICBM
c. JL-1 SLBM
d. DF-31 ICBM
e. DF-31A 3-MIRVed ICBM
f. JL-2 8-MIRVed SLBM (Jane's Defence)
g. DF-41 10-MIRVed ICBM

We can expect this farce to continue. Despite the growing number of Type 094 SSBNs with JL-2 SLBMs and the DF-41 ICBM brigades, the estimate of Chinese thermonuclear warheads will be kept laughably low for political reasons.

A single brigade of DF-5B ICBMs would add 96 thermonuclear warheads.
Three Type 094 SSBNs should have added 288 thermonuclear warheads.
Instead, we see almost no movement in the total number of Chinese thermonuclear warheads.

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Re: China's 294 Megatons of Thermonuclear Firepower

Postby Martin Su » Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:58 pm

China has two million tonnes of Uranium

China only needs 25kg of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and 4kg of plutonium for a modern thermonuclear warhead. (See A gigawatt nuclear reactor produces 293 kg of plutonium (40 fusion bombs) per year | Asiawind)
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China claims to hold over 2 million tonnes of uranium deposits | MINING.com

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[Note: Thank you to UnnamedSweeperMonk for the newslink.]
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