Nuclear forces development

At the start of 2013 eight states possessed approximately 4400 operational nuclear weapons. Nearly 2000 of these are kept in a state of high operational alert. If all nuclear warheads are counted—operational warheads, spares, those in both active and inactive storage, and intact warheads scheduled for dismantlement—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel together possess a total of approximately 17 270 nuclear weapons.

World nuclear forces, January 2013

All figures are approximate.

CountryYear of first nuclear testDeployed warheadsaOther warheadsbTotal Inventory
United States 1945 2 150c 5 550 ~7 700d
Russia 1949 ~1 800 6 700e ~8 500f
United Kingdom 1952 160 65 225
France 1960 ~290 ~10 ~300
China 1964 .. ~250 ~250
India 1974 .. 90-110 90-110
Pakistan 1998 .. 100-120 100-120
Israel .. .. ~80 ~80
North Korea 2006 .. .. 6-8
Total ~4400 ~12865 ~17270

Shannon N. Kile, 'World Nuclear Forces', SIPRI Yearbook 2013 (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2013).


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

These are warheads in reserve, awaiting dismantlement or that require some preparation (e.g. assembly or loading on launchers) before they become fully operationally available.

c In addition to strategic warheads, this figure includes nearly 200 non-strategic (tactical) nuclear weapons deployed in Europe.

d This figure includes the US Department of Defense nuclear stockpile of c. 4650 warheads and another c. 3000 retired warheads that are awaiting dismantlement.

This figure includes c. 700 warheads for nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) in overhaul and bombers, 2000 non-strategic nuclear weapons for use by short-range naval, air force and air defence forces, and c. 4000 retired warheads awaiting dismantlement.

This includes a military stockpile of c. 4500 nuclear warheads and another c. 4000 retired warheads await dismantlement.