Global nuclear weapons 2016

nuclear 2016

At the start of 2016 nine states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea—possessed approximately 4,120 operationally deployed nuclear weapons. If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states together possessed a total of approximately 15,395 nuclear weapons compared with 15,850 in early 2015 (see table 1).


Table 1. World nuclear forces, 2016

Country Year of first nuclear test Deployed warheads* Other warheads Total 2016
USA 1945 1,930 5,070 7,000
Russia 1949 1,790 5,500 7,290
UK 1952 120 95 215
France 1960 280 20 300
China 1964 260 260
India 1974 100120 100120
Pakistan 1998 110130 110130
Israel 80 80
North Korea 2006 10 10
Total 4,120 11,275 15,395

* ‘Deployed’ means warheads placed on missiles or located on bases with operational forces.

All estimates are approximate and are as of January 2016. Totals do not include figures for North Korea. Source: SIPRI Yearbook 2016 …

At the same time, both Russia and the USA have extensive and expensive nuclear modernization programmes under way. The USA, for example, plans to spend $348 billion during 2015–24 on maintaining and comprehensively updating its nuclear forces. Some estimates suggest that the USA’s nuclear weapon modernization programme may cost up to $1 trillion over the next 30 years.

“The ambitious US modernization plan presented by the Obama Administration is in stark contrast to President Barack Obama’s pledge to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and the role they play in US national security strategy,” said Hans Kristensen*, co-author to the SIPRI Yearbook.

Global nuclear weapons: downsizing but modernizing