By Gareth; Kawaguchi, Yoriko Evans
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Extra resources for Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers
India and Pakistan, who had never signed the treaty, joined the undeclared Israel as fully-fledged nuclear-armed states in 1998, with each of them now possessing at least 60 warheads, and in the case of Israel perhaps closer to 200. North Korea has declared its withdrawal from the NPT, and is now likely to have five or six nuclear explosive devices. Iran, with its uranium enrichment program, probably now has weapon-making capability if it chooses to go down that path. With these developments all occurring in the world’s most volatile regions, with less reason to be confident about weapons security and command systems than in the case of the longer-established nuclear powers, and with considerable potential for what has been described as a “cascade” of proliferation should Iran, in particular, cross the weaponization red-line, the risk of something going badly wrong here is disconcertingly high.
Hence, such forces have traditionally been considered strategic, despite their having medium instead of intercontinental range. S. S. and Russian intermediate class nuclear weapons are sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs) of up to 3,000 km range deployed on nuclear attack submarines, and Russian medium-range bombers. Britain and France do not have mediumrange nuclear weapons, but China, Israel, India, and Pakistan possess them in relatively considerable numbers. North Korea has tested and deployed medium range ballistic missiles but most probably, although expert opinion differs on this subject, does not have nuclear munitions reduced to a size capable of delivery by these systems.
24 France has the third largest strategic force in the world, consisting of 108 delivery vehicles and up to 300 nuclear warheads. It has three SSBNs with 48 missiles and 240 warheads, with one submarine usually on patrol. In addition 60 land-based and 24 carrier-based strike aircraft are capable of delivering in total about 60 medium‑range air-to-surface missiles. France’s modernization program includes a fourth SSBN (to be commissioned in 2010), deployment of a longer range SLBM system, and a new strike aircraft with new nuclear missiles.
Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers by Gareth; Kawaguchi, Yoriko Evans