The independent resource on global security

8. World nuclear forces


I. Introduction

II. US nuclear forces

III. Russian nuclear forces

IV. British nuclear forces

V. French nuclear forces

VI. Chinese nuclear forces

VII. Indian nuclear forces

VIII. Pakistani nuclear forces

IX. Israeli nuclear forces

X. North Korea’s military nuclear capabilities

XI. Conclusions


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In January 2010 eight states—the United States, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel—possessed more than 7500 operational nuclear weapons. If all nuclear warheads are counted, including operational warheads, spares, those in both active and inactive storage, and intact warheads scheduled for dismantlement, these states together possessed a total of more than 22 000 warheads.


The five legally recognized nuclear weapon states, as defined by the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)—China, France, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom—are either deploying new nuclear weapon systems or have announced their intention to do so; none appears to be prepared to give up their nuclear arsenals in the foreseeable future.


India and Pakistan, which along with Israel are de facto nuclear weapon states outside the NPT, continue to develop new missile systems that are capable of delivering nuclear weapons and are also expanding their capacities to produce fissile material. Israel appears to be waiting to assess how the situation with Iran’s nuclear programme develops. North Korea is believed to have produced enough plutonium for a small number of nuclear warheads, but it is unknown whether it has operational weapons.


Deployed warheads, January 2010


Country Deployed
USA 2 468    7 100    9 600   
Russia 4 630    7 300    12 000   
UK 160    65    225   
France 300    . .    300   
China . .    200    240   
India . .    60–80    60–80   
Pakistan . .    70–90    70–90   
Israel . .    80    80   
Total 7 560    14 900    22 600   

All estimates are approximate.



Shannon N. Kile (United States) is a Senior Researcher and Head of the Nuclear Weapons Project of the SIPRI Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme.


Vitaly Fedchenko (Russia) is a Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme, with responsibility for nuclear security issues and the political, technological and educational dimensions of nuclear arms control and non-proliferation.


Dr Bharath Gopalaswamy (India) is a Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme.


Hans M. Kristensen (Denmark) is Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

Shannon N. Kile and Vitaly Fedchenko