Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons

Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal probably consists of approximately 110-130 nuclear warheads, although it could have more. Islamabad is producing fissile material, adding to related production facilities, and deploying additional nuclear weapons and new types of delivery vehicles. Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is widely regarded as designed to dissuade India from taking military action against Pakistan, but Islamabad’s expansion of its nuclear arsenal, development of new types of nuclear weapons, and adoption of a doctrine called “full spectrum deterrence” have led some observers to express concern about an increased risk of nuclear conflict between Pakistan and India, which also continues to expand its nuclear arsenal.

There is a 32 page Congressional report on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, a scientist closely involved with the country’s nuclear weapons program, stated in a 2016 interview that only China, France, Russia, and the United States have more nuclear weapons than Pakistan. According to one unofficial estimate, Pakistan has produced approximately 3,000 kilograms of weapons-grade HEU and approximately 200 kilograms of plutonium for nuclear weapons. Islamabad continues to produce both HEU and plutonium for nuclear weapons and is developing and deploying a variety of weapons. A 2014 press report citing Dr. Mubarakmand states that “Pakistan has over 15 types of nuclear weapons, from large weapons that can be carried on fighter jets to small ones ballistic missiles, and even smaller warheads for cruise missiles and tactical nuclear weapons.”

Pakistan’s HEU-based nuclear warheads use an implosion design with a solid core of approximately 15-20 kilograms of HEU.48 Pakistan has also produced plutonium-based warheads, which likely contain approximately 4-6 kilograms of plutonium, according to one expert estimate. Pakistan has reportedly addressed issues of survivability through pursuing a second strike capability, possibly building hard and deeply buried storage and launch facilities, deploying road-mobile missiles, deploying air defenses around strategic sites, and utilizing concealment measures.