Pakistan has 130-140 nuclear weapons, claims US report
In the preparation for nuclear wars and increasing its nuclear strength, Pakistan is expanding its nuclear arsenal and has developed an estimated stockpile of 130 to 140 warheads for delivery as well as converting some of its fighter jets, including F-16s to deliver nukes, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists said in its latest report.
In a report by Hans M Kristensen and Robert S Norris,it has been said that the analysis of a large number of commercial satellite images of Pakistan army’s garrisons and air force bases shows what appear to be mobile launchers and underground facilities that might be related to nuclear forces.
“Pakistan continues to expand its nuclear arsenal with more warheads, more delivery systems, and a growing fissile materials production industry,” said the report on Pakistani nuclear forces, 2016.
“We estimate that Pakistan now has a nuclear weapons stockpile of 130-140 warheads. This stockpile exceeds the projection made by the US Defense Intelligence Agency in 1999 that Pakistan by 2020 would have 60-80 warheads,” it added.
The report released last month said that scientists believe that with several delivery systems in development, four plutonium production reactors and its uranium enrichment facilities expanding, Pakistan’s stockpile will possibly increase further over the next 10 years.
“Speculation that Pakistan may become the world’s third-largest nuclear weapon state – with a stockpile of some 350 warheads a decade from now – are, we believe, exaggerated, not least because that would require a buildup two to three times faster than growth over the past two decades,” it said.
“We estimate that its stockpile could more realistically grow to 220-250 warheads by 2025, if the current trend continues. If that happens, it would make Pakistan the world’s fifth-largest nuclear weapon state.
“But unless India significantly expands its arsenal or further builds up its conventional forces, it seems reasonable to expect that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal will not continue to grow indefinitely but might begin to level off as its current weapons programmes are completed,” the report added.
In the report it has also been said that Pakistan probably assigns a nuclear strike mission to select F-16A/B and Mirage III/V fighter squadrons.
However after 40 aircraft had been delivered, the US State Department told Congress in 1989, “none of the F-16s Pakistan already owns or is about to purchase is configured for nuclear delivery” and Pakistan “will be obligated by contract not to modify” additional F-16s “without the approval of the United States,” it said.