Grim news – – China, Russia, and North Korea are expanding their nuclear inventory. From new reports in the last week:
6/16/21 –19fourtyfive – North Korea Might Have Up To 50 Nuclear Weapons: Report – The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, updated their estimate of the nuclear inventory in North Korea.
A year ago they estimated North Korea have between 30 and 40 nuclear weapons.
The current estimate is for between 40 and 50.
Their estimate is as good as not have any warheads that can be carried on in ICBM, but might have smaller heads that would fit on MRBMs.
A different named researcher estimates has between 20 and 60 nukes with the point estimate of 45.
All those estimates of nuclear weapons are based on I guess of how many nukes could be built based on the amount of physical material that has been produced by North Korea
Other experts guess that North Korea could have someone in the range of 151 up to 242 nukes five years from now.
6/14/21 – China Morning Post – China expanding nuclear arms stockpile in 2021, Swedish think tank says – Article has a photo from AP of a Chinese Road mobile ICBM launcher. It has eight pairs of tires on each side of the launcher.
Huge label on side of the launcher, notably in English says DF-41. That is the Dongfeng-41, DF-41, CSS-20 road-mobile, solid co-fueled ICBM, according to Wikipedia. It has a range of 8700 or 9300 miles. It could carry up to 10 MIRVed RVs, but with penetration aids it more likely is carrying 3 warheads. Article says each operational unit has between 6 and 12 launchers and may have between 6 and 12 reloads. Article says the MIRV warhead has selectable 20kt, 90kt, or 150kt yield. Article asserts the RV has 328 foot CEP (100m).
SIRPI, mentioned in previous article, estimates China has 350 warheads this year compared to estimate of 320 year ago.
Exercise included the RS-24 Yars, which is replacing the Topol-M ICBM. The Yars ICBM comes in both a road-mobile and silo-based variation. He reportedly can carry between 3 and 10 MIRVed warheads, each reportedly in the 300kt range.
Accompanying photo shows the pro-mobile variation on a heavy transport. It has eight pairs of wheels on each side, which is called a 16 x 16 chassis in the article. Interesting photo shows the launcher in a turn with each pair of wheels turned in a different angle to reduce its turn radius.
Article says the launch time for the missile is “approximately seven minutes.”
In addition to the nukes, the exercises included anti-sabotage vehicles (whatever those are), ARS-14KM (decontamination vehicles), remote mine clearing vehicles, and UAVs to monitor for hostile combat troops or subversives in the area.
The Yars is one of the six brand-new strategic weapons announced by Pres. Putin during his 2018 annual address.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has several new systems in research or development but I don’t recall anything new deployed weapons other than a sub-tactical battlefield nuke.