MEMORANDUM TO HOLDERS NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE
Communist China's Strategic Weapons Program
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of central intelligence
1 . conaw in by th, united states intelligence board a* indicated ovofuaf0
Central Intetl-geac* Agency and the inrelliaance wganttoHoht.ef imot Stoio and Detente, ihend me,.v"
' ,If. Gen.whmjvvSMC, DepuTJ: DirectorOine, the Dimcor of Inleftigenc* ondLf. Geo. Donald V. iVennelt, the Oireetor, Deteni*le9Adm/|tftrf! Oaylo'. the Director,/Nflt&nal ^SccijfclchardV, for
Atomic [neigy Com?
Vrtitiohl Or Cregor. 'or me Assistant to" the Director, Federal SUreai/ of mve*S, garion, thf wb;cotwie,of ha [WrtJieJtorv,
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LfllJntTob. No action' is to be 'ovW^pn ohy.
raoy be eoofoined herein,to aar djch action might haveerred of revealing. nalura^afma sourte. unlet* luchirst approved by me app'oc
COMMUNIST CHINA'S STRATEGIC WEAPONS PROGRAM
Since the publication of, the Chinese have launched their first earth satellite; they have continued firings of the MKBM; and wc have discovered that the Chinese may be well along in the developmentissile system with an IRBM potential.'
The purpose of this paper is to present the facts concerning the above developments and lo make some, nreliminarv indimnmht as tn
The new data raise as many
questions as they answer with respect to the status of the Chinese strategic missile program. Wc defer more comprehensive treatment to the next completey which time more data may be available.
'Tho diitinctwci between an MBBM tad at, IRBM i* iMlnodMlowsrcapability loc-enuy vehicle to rangts ofmpabillly u>eentry vehicle to ranges of.
I. Briefly, the new developments arc these:
a. The Wu-chai Facility. In photographya missile
launch facility was discovered near Wu-chai in SflansTTrovince. ftcstudy of previous, low resolution photography shows that construction of thisbegan inhat the launch pad was completed bynd that missile exercises were underwayThese missile
^indicate that missile brings from Wu-chai to the general area ol Ho-t'ien in far.inhe available evidence indicates that to dutc at least seven firings have occurred at this silt.
[ unTfliluiiately, otlu-twhether it lias one stugo orwould have nn important bearing on the missile's potential range and payload capabilities have uot yet been determined.
he Wu-chai installationunch pad which is similar to tbe MKJtM pad at Shuang ch'eng-tzu (seet present it appears to bend/ur naming facility. There is, however, considerablek)ii still nnderwity In ll* vicinity, and one construction site two miles to the north hat some of th* appearam'esaunch facility In its early stages. The extent of the construction and the extensionail spur to the area indicate* the Chineseajor complex at Wu-chai.
d.mtalUition. Immediately ii|>on discovery of tho Wu-chai site, all interprnfdbk* photography on China dating hack7 wasto an intensive review. This search turned up one. more probable missile launching site near Lin-chiang, aboutiles north of the North Korean border. This facility is in the bier stage of constructionecfaeck o* earlier photography showed that work at the site began
e- Though we cannot be completely certain at thi* time, it appears that thisilo bunch facility. Iltaeexiangular hole in the center of what appears toardstutid. and thereylindrical object lying nearby which mayectioniloissile transporter-erector simibr to ones previously seen only at Wu-chai and at tlte Nan-yuan missile pro-
duction plant near Pekingpresent inat a
nearby support area.
t MRBM Activity at S'raang-cri'eng-fsu. Meanwhile, there aremissile firings from the Shuang-
cb'eng-tzu rangchcad.firings arebe mid-range
distance of. I
g. The Chinese Space Program. Onhe Chinese launched Ibeir first earth satellite. It was launched from Shuang-ch'eng-tzu, and there is reasonably good evidence that it was fired from what has been designatedf the large and elaboratehe satellite's high, elliptical tnbit and the payload weightounds announced by the Chineserule out an MRBM-sizc booster for this space shot Among the possible candidates for tbe launch vehicle are the Wu-chai missile with one or two upperwo-stage ICBMmall third stage, orehicle developed expressly fur space purposes.
b. Work is also progressing rapidlyecond launch pad) att is equippedervice towereet tall, someeet taller tlian the one serving. The size and complexity ofndicate that it is designed for launching large space vehicles, and, indeed, suggests that the Chinese have ambitious planspace program.
he discovery of the Wu-chai missile program was unexpected; wc had estimated previously that the Chinese were concentrating their limited resources On the development of an MRBM and an ICPM.I
/ Up tohere was
no evidence ot firings beyond. ro iw nsn. Betweenowever, some firings appeared to be directed to an impact areadown range in tbe vicinity of llo-t'ien. The size of the missilethet the MRBM launch facility)
evidence on firings to Ho-t'icn led to the conclusion that the
Chinese MRBMange of
7 it appeared that this missile was ready for deployment,
and failure to detect any such action89 was not easily explained.
In retrospect, it now seems possible that the missile observed frequently atl Shuang-cheng-tzu never was fired tots range is, in fact, limited toe-evaluation of the ground support equipmentalso suggests that this missileryogenic oxidizer rattier than the storable type previously assumed. It is possible that some of the activity that seemed MRBM-oriented was in fact basic missile experimentationork on the Wu-chai system.
In any event, the firing* to Ho-t'ien from Shuang-ch'eng-tru which took place between6 andould have involved early tests of the Wu-chai missile, even though we never identified this missile at Shuang-ch'eng-Izu. Ihe next firings to llo-t'icn began byime framesuggesting the initiation of firings at Wu-chai. (JoUig further back in time, we could say that the original design work on the Wu-chai missile must have begun in the, eithereparate program or as an off-shoot of ICBM development work.
In any case, the more powerful Wu-chai missile would seem to be fairly well in phase with China's nuclear weapons program which has been predoml* nantly directed towardi'lopi'i'-nt oi idalndv laiiic tln-nummclr-ar devices.
e do not have enough data, however, to be much more precisemissile's
I Thus tlie following estimates of range and payload capabilities are
he Chinese could probablyhermonuclear weapon compatibleHVIearalf or so after a
successful weaponingle-stage Wu-cliai missile |
might reach rangeswo-stage system with this
HV mightange on tho order
S. The continuing firings from Shuang-ch'eng-tzu to. and the indications that some sort of troop training is involved keeps alive the question as to whether the Chinese also intend to deploy this MRBMThe troop training aspect raises the possibility that limited deployment might have already occurred without our having detected it. But this would mean that the Chinese had decided to expend scarce resources on deployment of an MRBM system which appears to have much less rangc/payload capability than the Wu-chai missile.
i-chi-ing facility is particularly puzzling. On the basis of the evidence presently available, the lust explanation for this site is that it isr prototype facility. But this raises the question of why the Chineseocation so near an international border and in such difficult terrain (thelaunch silo Isidge line and can be reached onlyingle road with several hairpinf it is their aim to achieve near-maximum firing distances within China's borders (it is. from Lin-chiang to the Ho-fien impacthis could have been accomplished by moving ashort distanceore convenient site. On the other hand, it seems unlikely that tlie Chinese would proceed to build an operational siteilo without firstrototype installation and doing considerablewith this more difficult launch technique. The early startnd the subsequent slow rate of progress at the Lin-chiang facility also raise doubts about itseployed site.
n Sum, the evidence seems Increasingly to indicate that the Chinese are well along toward deployment nf strategic missiles. We cannot even be certain that the Chinese have not alreadyew MKBMs.ajor missile deployment program is intended, however, we think the Chinese will give higher priority to the Wu-chai system because of its longer range and greater payload. We still do not knowtatus of the Wu-chai system. But If it is hearing completion, as seems possible, initial operational capability (IOC) in perma-
ucnt. soft sites could be reachedear or so. If would piobably take at least an additional year to reach IOC if the Chinese elect to deploy the system in silos.
II. Wcno rrasou at Ihi* tune for changing our earlier rstinutes regarding ICBM devekrpmcrjt Wc still believe tbat it would take the Chinese at least threeprobablyprogress from the firtt tucecsvful bocnler firing to an IOC Thin, rvm if tlie Chineseyttcro related to llieir ICBM for launching their earth satellite and were able to proceedelatively trouble-free3 would be tbe earliest they couldissile capable of reaching the US. The more probable date still wouldear or two later.
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
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. - i'Director- of ;Intelligence andar Ihe Deporl.renl ofntelligence Ag^icy, for ihe Office of ihe Secretary of' - id ihc. organisation o' ihe Join!bf .Staff "'
t: AiiiHcrt Chief cf -Staff forp-,ce, DopcMmcnt of ihc Amy,', foe .the
of (he. dt-tant Ch ef oi rnaval Opcrclicniorthe
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Setun*y. Depdnmeii .ofo'rtmpnr piv^
t Director 'FBI. lor t'i- federalavettNSAi for.thocority. AgencyOriginal document.