Summary of Indian Nuclear Forces

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by pyromaniac, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. pyromaniac

    pyromaniac Founding Member

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    India is generally estimated to have approximately 50 strategic nuclear warheads. They can be delivered by short-range ballistic missiles and by aircraft.

    In 1974, India tested what it dubbed a “peaceful nuclear device.” Nearly 25 years later, India conducted five nuclear tests in May 1998. Many analysts believe that two primary factors drive India's nuclear program: the need to achieve regional balance and ongoing tensions with Pakistan. Despite never having signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Indian government released a nuclear doctrine in 1999 that committed the country to a “credible minimum deterrence” and a “no-first-use” policy. In addition, it recommended that India's nuclear forces should eventually be based on a triad of aircraft, mobile land-based missiles and sea-based forces. It further stated that India intends, through a combination of redundant systems, mobility, dispersion, and deception, to heighten the survivability of its nuclear arsenal.

    India currently has two models of nuclear-capable missiles: the Prithvi and the Agni, each of which has several variants. The Prithvi I and Prithvi III missiles both have ranges of under 500 kilometers (km) and were deployed between 1995 and 2001 (the Prithvi II is not believed to have a nuclear role). The Agni I has a range of around 700 km, but in January 2004, India test fired an Agni II missile (with a range of over 2,000 km) and in 2008, the Agni III was tested with a range of at least 3,000 km. India possesses the technical ability and the resources to construct ICBMs (which require ranges on the order of 9000 km) but has so far apparently not chosen to pursue this option.

    India also has several aircraft that could deliver nuclear weapons, though they may require modifications – it is unclear which, if any, can do so in their current configurations. The Mirage 2000H has reportedly been certified for delivery of nuclear gravity bombs, and some Indian Jaguars may also have a nuclear delivery role. Other candidates for nuclear missions include India’s MiG-27s and SU-30MKIs.

    The naval component of India’s nuclear forces has encountered technical difficulties – while Delhi leases Russian attack submarines, they are not capable of carrying ballistic missiles. The Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) program has been underway since 1985, but it has encountered numerous setbacks and has yet to produce a workable underwater missile launch platform. However, comments made by Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Madhvendera Singh at the height of the 2002 Pakistan-India crisis implied the ATV itself might already be operational.

    Officially, the Indian navy anticipates that its first nuclear submarine will be launched in 2009 and inducted into regular service in 2010. Additionally, the Indian navy has been developing an SLBM, the Sagarika, about which very little is known. Initially slated for completion in 2005, the program has run into setbacks and it is unknown when the missile will become operational. India is also working on another sea-launched missile, the Dhanush, which is a naval adaptation of the Prithvi II. It has also encountered trouble in development and its status is unclear. With no submarine to launch from, both these weapons use surface ships for test launches. For example, in February 2008, India successfully launched a Sagarika missile from a pontoon modified to simulate a launch from submarine.

    India’s military stockpile of fissile material is estimated to contain roughly 500 kilograms (kg) of plutonium and roughly 200 kg of highly enriched uranium (HEU), enough material for around 100 and 15 simple warheads, respectively. Although India’s nuclear weapons primarily use plutonium cores, India has a robust uranium enrichment program and has tested several devices for which HEU may have been desirable. India also possesses substantial civilian stockpiles of fissile materials.

    In 2007, U.S. President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement which, among other things, would allow the U.S. to share civilian nuclear technology with India in return for India’s acceptance of certain safeguards and other conditions. Despite being initially approved by Congress in 2006, the agreement is controversial in both countries. Some parties in the Indian Parliament, upon which the current government depends for a majority, oppose the deal as an unacceptable abrogation of Indian sovereignty; in the U.S. Congress there are concerns about setting a precedent for other states which, like India, have tested nuclear weapons but have not signed the NPT.

    While the deal would only apply to India’s civilian nuclear program, detractors contend that it would nonetheless free up Indian resources for the country’s nuclear weapons program. The deal’s future is far from clear, given the strong opposition from the Indian Communist party combined with the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency, U.S. Congress, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group must all approve the deal before it can move forward.

    Because India utilizes liquid fuel in its missiles, it is unlikely that it stores their components fully assembled, though some of the Prithvis have solid fuel stages and others may be completely converted to solid fuel. As is the case with Pakistan’s nuclear program, while weapon ranges are more or less known, the yield of each warhead is still unknown.

    India probably keeps its nuclear delivery vehicles separate from its warheads. Further deterioration in its relationship with Pakistan could lead to changes in this policy.

    Strategic Nuclear Warheads: ~50

    Non-strategic Nuclear Weapons: ?

    Total Nuclear Warheads: ~50+?


    http://www.cdi.org/program/document...from_page=../friendlyversion/printversion.cfm
     
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  3. pyromaniac

    pyromaniac Founding Member

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    The spread of nuclear weapons » India

    The spread of nuclear weapons » India

    India’s nuclear policies and programs were somewhat idiosyncratic, compared with those of the other nuclear powers, and went through three distinct phases: from 1947 to 1974, from 1974 to 1998, and from 1998 into the 21st century. In 1948 the newly independent country passed an Atomic Energy Act, first introduced by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

    The act established an Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), and Homi Bhabha was appointed its chairman. Bhabha had earned his doctorate in physics from the University of Cambridge and would be the central figure in shaping the Indian nuclear program, especially after becoming secretary of India’s Department of Atomic Energy in 1954. India took advantage of U.S. Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program, first articulated in a UN speech in December 1953. The purpose of the program was to limit proliferation of nuclear weapons by offering technology for civilian use in exchange for a promise not to pursue military applications. The goal backfired because the dual uses of atomic energy are inherent in the technologies—a fact as well as a problem that was recognized at the birth of the atomic era and that continues to this day.

    In 1955 Canada offered to build India a heavy water research reactor, and the United States supplied some of the heavy water. The reactor was built at Trombay, near Bombay (Mumbai), which would become the primary location of India’s nuclear weapon program. (The facility was renamed the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre [BARC] after Bhabha died in 1966.) A reprocessing plant was built nearby to extract plutonium from spent fuel rods. The plant used the PUREX (plutonium-uranium-extraction) chemical method developed by the United States—a process that had been made known to the world through the Atoms for Peace program. Hundreds of Indian scientists and engineers were trained in all aspects of nuclear technologies at laboratories and universities in the United States. By 1964 India had its first weapon-grade plutonium. Over the next decade, in parallel with peaceful uses of atomic energy, military research proceeded, while India rejected the 1968 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

    On May 18, 1974, at the Pokhran test site on the Rajasthan Steppe, India, detonated a nuclear device with a yield later estimated to be less than 5 kilotons. (A figure of 12 kilotons was announced by India at the time.) India characterized the underground test as being for peaceful purposes, adding that it had no intentions of producing nuclear weapons. Among the key scientists and engineers directly involved were Homi Sethna, chairman of the AEC, Raja Ramanna, head of the BARC physics group, and Rajagopala Chidambaram, who headed a team that designed the plutonium core. Chidambaram later became chairman of the AEC and oversaw the 1998 tests described below. Others mentioned with important roles were P.K. Iyengar, Satinder K. Sikka, Pranab R. Dastidar, Sekharipuram N.A. Seshadri, and Nagapattinam S. Venkatesan.

    After 1974 India entered a second phase that lasted until 1998. During this period, India had the technical ability to produce nuclear weapons but maintained a policy of not deploying them. This ambivalent posture allowed India to continue its traditional stance of urging nuclear disarmament, while at the same time signaling that the military path was available to it if the situation warranted. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, Indian scientists continued to refine nuclear designs, including boosting and theoretical work on thermonuclear weapons. Modification of certain types of aircraft and advances in ballistic missile programs brought the prospect of a deployed nuclear force ever closer—a development driven in part by Pakistan’s progress on its own nuclear weapons and by tensions with India’s traditional adversary, China.

    On May 11, 1998, India entered it third phase by detonating three devices simultaneously at the Pokhran test site. A press statement claimed that one was a fission device with a yield of about 12 kilotons, one was a thermonuclear device with a yield of 43 kilotons, and the third was a tactical device with a yield of 0.2 kiloton. On May 13 two more tactical devices were detonated, with reported yields of 0.2 and 0.6 kiloton. Western experts later disputed the size of the yields and whether any of them were thermonuclear bombs. U.S. intelligence concluded that the second stage failed to ignite. There was also speculation that one of the tests may have used reactor-grade plutonium. Among the key figures were Abdul Kalam, head of India’s Defence Research and Development Organization, AEC chairman Rajagopala Chidambaram, BARC director Anil Kakodkar, and scientists M.S. Ramakumar, S.K. Gupta, and D.D. Sood.

    Since 1998 India has moved forward with a vigorous program of developing weapon systems for the three branches of its armed forces. The emerging triad consists of the army’s land-based ballistic missiles, the air force’s air-delivered bombs, and the navy’s sea-based surface-launched ballistic missiles. India has not signed the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (an extension of the 1963 Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty) and may need to test again.
     
  4. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    A good article, but the word 'estimated to have' is not write worthy, in my opinion, because the western media has a tendency to show the Indian N-Capabilities in a limited way even sometime falsely better Pakistan than us, however actually that worked as 'Boon' for India's strategic capacities.
     
  5. INDIANBULL

    INDIANBULL Guest

    well the number of nukes in our arsenal can be variable and is expanding at a slow pace with the nuclearistaion of of Indian navy. However its not the quantity that only matters but the quality also, as we have tested nuke only twice i think we need to test more to make high yeild and low weight nukes, we need to test a light weight thermonuclear warhead of the yeild between 300-500kt atleast to make a credible nuclear detteren, we need to make a weapon like this to ensure the complete destruction of our enemies:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Very good article of W-88 N-Warhead. Indian Bull , there was also a news that the information about the design of W-88 was leaked to China, if I am not wrong.

    INDIANBULL can you throw some light of the possible design of our N-Warheads ?

    Regards,
     
  7. INDIANBULL

    INDIANBULL Guest

    Well pintu i have also heard that news of leaking w-88 design to china on net just like you so may be it happened or may be it was a fake design.

    As far as Indian nukes are concerned they are based on weapons grade Pu-239 and also some news about the possibility of using reactor grade Pu. Our nukes work on a implosion type of design where in the conventional explosives are used to implode on a Plutonium pit and compress it to make it to a high density material to start the chain reaction, some thing like this:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. INDIANBULL

    INDIANBULL Guest

    Indian nuke design:
     
  9. INDIANBULL

    INDIANBULL Guest

    pakistani crappy low yield design based on U-235:
     
  10. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Indian Bull , which one is more deadlier, the type with possible design you mentioned first, i.e. possessed by us, or the second type, the Pak inventory ? Also , I found out some where that second type (Pakistan's) based on China's. Please clarify me on that if I am wrong.
     
  11. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    Pintu,
    Plutonium device is the advancement of highly enriched uranium device. So the Indian design is better.
     
  12. INDIANBULL

    INDIANBULL Guest

  13. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    Plutonium warheads are smaller and carry more punch. They are also lighter but are very unstable. They are useful in making MIRVed warheads. These are 100Kt weapons usually or of higher yield.
     
  14. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    thank you satish, bull giving titles to the neighboring country is like giving them too much attention than what they actually deserve.
    we are too mature a forum for this so please refrain from putting so much limelight on them.


    your co-operation is appreciated.
     
  15. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    I think that India has a large inventory of fissile material that can be converted to weapons at short notice. The actual weapon numbers may be small but the capability is much larger.
     
  16. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Yes India has a large inventory of fissile material. Its kept in an unassembled form though only 25% of it. 75% of the weapons are in assembled format. Western intel puts the figure of actual warheads as anywhere between 45-100. Some show India can make upto 200 of them.
     
  17. Adux

    Adux Senior Member Senior Member

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    The assesment of 110 Nukes is atleast 4 years old!
     
  18. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Yeah. Most recent updates puts it at close to 200 of them.
     
  19. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    with Fissile material on hand more nukes can always be assembled for use when needed.
    when the FBR'S are up and running we should have enough fissile material for hundreds to thousands of nukes if we choose, currently most experts claim 70 nukes a year is the capability?
     
  20. INDIANBULL

    INDIANBULL Guest

    Thanks invincible for clarifying these matters otherwise i would have been outrageous about pakistanis as these pakistanis never leave a oppurtunity to malign our nation and our hindu religion. As you can understand i am extremely labile on these issues regarding my faith and my nation how can i can be expected to even show respect to our biggest enemy, but trying understanding the rules set by the admin and mods of this forum i can promise that i will exercise extreme caution to my limits to not to distort the name of pakistan to my best due to forum rules only as this terrorist state has done its best to destablise my nation and defame my religion(HINDU).
     
  21. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Yusuf, Ashley Tellis opined that India has already enough weapon grade plutonium, sufficient to produce over 2000 N-weapons.
     

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