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TRENDS AND PROSPECTS
The Nuclear Program
Testing and Development
. . 7
Solid Propellant Missile Program
COMMUNIST CHINA'S STRATEGIC WEAPONS PROGRAM
To assess China's strategic weapons program and to estimate the nature, si/e, and progress of these programs through the.
nuclear test program continues to emphasize theof high-yield thermonuclear weapons. The Chinese^^cvice fhat cou'd be weaponized forby the TU-IB jet medium bomber, or possibly configuredintercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) warhead. They nn:at least two years away fromhermonuclearthe medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) weight class, butfor such missiles could be available now. Fur the nextyears at least, the production of nuclear materials canpace with or exceed the requirements of testing and thestrategic missiles and TlMfe the Chinese are likely to bedeploy.
Chinese have recently begun production of(TU-IGs)ate of approximately one unit everyWe estimate that production couldevel oforonth and thatU-IGs might
evidence suggests strongly that the Chinese areMRBM deployment. We believe that any majorwill involve the construction of permanent complexes,have no evidence that such work has begun. Even if somewere started Inhey would not be operational More
abouthere is some inferential evidence, however, that suggests the existenceew operational MHBM sites in China at this time. If so. they arc probably temporary-type installationsto provide an interim capability against tlie USSR.
ehicle is available for testing with hi the next lew months, lUCT could be achieved by2 ort is more likely,that IOC will lie later, perhaps by as much as two or three years. If (he earliest possible IOC were achieved, the number of ox>erational launchers might fall somewhere betweenndn the mure likely event that IOC is later, achievementorce this size would slip accordingly.
large complex at Hu-ho-hao-te in Inner Mongolia hasand equipment adequate for handling solid-propellantranging in size from short-range missiles through thecategory'probably into the ICBM class. We lack anyjudging how the Chinese will proceed with abut we presently doubt thathinese could haveMRBM or ICBM with solid fuel motors iu the Gelda concentrated effort in this field would probably forceto restrict severely the deployment of
Chinese have ambitious space goals, it win years at least before the Chinese can use this
tn its full potential, and the Chinese will probably first attempt more modest space ventures, perliapsodified MRBMaunch vehicle.
G. In general, it is clear that the Chinese continue to press ahead with high priority work on strategic weapon systems. Manyremain, however, which leave in great doubt the future pace, size, and scope of the program. Unlike the Soviet case, where wc liavc observed numerous programs progress through development tomost of the Chinese effort is not far enough along toan adequate historical background for judging China's technical
political situation and the increased animosity in Sino-Soviet relations add further uncertainty about the course of Chinese weapon programs over the next few years.
I. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
A number of developments oveipast year attest to China's intent toajor strategic power. These include continuing work on theof liquid fuel strategic missiles, solid propellants, and nuclear weapons, and the initiation ol jet medium bomber production. For the most part Ihe Chinese program has continued along lines previously observed.
There are, however, many uncertainties in our understanding of die scope, pace, and direction of the Chinese advanced weapons program.!
i tbe missile field.the Soviet
case, where we have observed numerous advanced weapon systems progress through development to deploymenl, most of the Chinese effort is not far enough along to provide an adequate historical background for judging China's tech-nical and industrial capabilities for developing, producing and deploying weapon systems embodying advanced technologies. Tlie Soviets also publish someon such matters as scientific accomplishments and military strategy and doctrine. This is not the case in China.
' are unable to ascertain important
being tested or to follow closely the status ol the test program!
he Chinese no doubt have fim ml it difficult to cope with ihe many com-
plexities involved in advanced weaponry, and they may well find it increasingly difficult to do so as they continue to move beyond the technical limits of help
received from Ihe Soviets during thes. Technical data iiiid specialized mnlerials and equipment available to them from Western und Japanese sources can only partwllv ovchoiiic the handicap of China'sentific andresources, which are spread out thinlyonsiderable number of programs.
Ai lime goes on and more weapons systems rewebrstuig andstage, there willdemands on high quality, scarce resource* which will force upon tin- Chinese some increasingly difficult nWiviom. Triey will have to make some choices among various weapon systems, they will also haveconsider whetber to deploy early systems in large numbers or to wait for later systems that might appr.tr more crediblehreat andeterrent. Other choicesthe Chinese urn Ihe balances to be struck between conventional general purpose and strategic forces, and between intorcontitw ntal and regional strategic programs.s cjnilt- possible lhat the Chinese have not faced up to these problems fully and have not yd di-flncd clearly the composition andf iheir force goals:.
Certainly the political situation In China during tho past several years has nol been conducive to orderly planning. There is good evidence thai Ibe (Cultural Revolution iutrudid into the higliest levels of the defense scientific establishment and into tho government ministries responsible for missile and inxlearbul we Iiaw iaX been able to pinpoint when* disruption has occurred or io assess bow ktmmii ii might kiw been. Aldioaigh thefrenetic aspect* of tbe Cultural Revolution liave subsided, the chance* for lurtlter negative political impact on advanced weapons programs remain. Finally, any longer term forecast of developments in China should allow for thr host of uncertainties that will arise about China's future once Mao departs from the scene.
here arc good indications that the large-scale Soviet military buildup opposite ChliM und ihr nceiit sharp clashes on the border have IncreasedPeking's concern that the Soviets might take soinu major military action against China. Il is highly uncertain what effects, if any, Ibis deepened hostility might have on Chlnu's advanced weapons program. Much would depend, of course, on bow high the Chinese actually rate the flumesoviel attack and on tbe type uf .tll.uk tbey Judge most likely At one extreme Chinese fears might spur them into an enscegenry effort to deploy whatever they tould as quickly as possible. At the other extreme it is cceKervable that they might postpone deploy-roait. at least oiort that would appear particularly provocative to tbefor fear tbat such tlrploy-rnent would increase tlie likrhnoodoviet pre-emptive blow. Or the (Chinese might decide dint their bnl course was tothe mobility and firepower of China's ground forces In .mto make as unattractive av possible tu the Soviets th* prmpicionflict at thelevel llut these possibilities are pure conjecture, und at this point we can make only tbe very genenil judgment tli.it Sinn-Soviet antagonism ts likely IO continue as mi Important factor in Chinese mililary planning anil strategy.
TRENDS AND PROSPECTS
A. The Nuclear Program
Weapon Jetting and Development'
liminary analysis of seismic dataocation soinr 7ft miles northw Lup Norield of aboutilotons.
hina'* first underground tostccurred oneptember. Pre-
III tile HSU ui piuiuiui
primary stage for thermonuclear weapons,est ol an improved fission warhead are among the possible purposes of the test.
intelligence on their nuclear program may base motivated theto test underground. At the same time, the Chinese may havecertain test data are more readily obtained ui un underground test. AndPeking could always make some propaganda by claiming that theythe peaceful applications of nuclear energy. Wc think itthat the issue of the partial iiuclcar test banajorthe Chinese decision.
the purpose of the underground test, the development oftechnology is clearly the dominant feature of the Chinese programcurrent objective of the thermonuclear program is to reduce the sizeof the device.
site oneptember, one week after Chic-9.
After successful testing another year
ceivably the Chinese could also cam" this device in thehort-range and slow light jet bomber.
would be required before stockpiling could begin.
hus, ii Ihey Mere lo begin deploying MRBMs in Ihe immediate- future, fission-type warheads would have lo be used. For tins puipose- Ihey could use an early, inefficient devicei, more likely, the improved device* usedprimaries in TN weaponshese primaries could be available nowcapouized version if the Chinese had decided lo weuponizcesign without separate testing. On the other hand, if the recent underground testuco&ss-lul experiment on an improved fission warhead for MllBMs, it would probably takeear for the Chinese lo livgui series production for deployment.
here have been no recent changes in our assessment of Chinese capabilities lor producing natural uranium, enriched lithium, and deuterium Tor use inweapons, nnd we continue to believe that production oi these materials in sufficient quantities will present no great problem for the Chinese during the period of this estimate. In sum, for the next several years at least, the production of nuclear materials can probably easily keep pace with or exceed theof testing and the numher of strategic missiles and TU-lfls the Chinese are likely to be able to deploy.
B. Delivery Systems Medium Bomber Force
It now appears far more certain that the Chinese intend serial production of theype jet medium boml>ei' which is fully capable of carrying laigc8 the aircraft factory at Yen-nang. near sian, nan mmea nnr roilor Bveroduction rate of about one unit every two months. This rate is likely logradually until it eventuallyeasonable level lor sustained production (about four orn this basis the Chinese could have
Operational testing ol the Knit units produced in China will probably be completed by the endn operational capabilityoircraft could be achieved byarrying the TN bomb which wc bebeve the Chinese could now have available, theould have an unrefueled Ombat radius ofufficient to cover most key Asian targets nnd US bases on the periphery of China. (Sue Map. pagehese ranges could be exlended if the Chinese add to their inventory of one tanker (received from the USSRnd continue to produce receiver models. While il is not possible to predict future Chinese deployment patterns with much certainly, Chinese airfield development is already sufficiently advanced so that there should be no problem In keeping pace withroduction There are, for example, overirfields which are now capable of supporting sustained TU-lfi operations.
usefulness of ihc TU-lfJtrategic role would be liK'rcasedile cruise-type air-to-surface missile. There is nothatrogiani is either planned or underway, and in view nftechnologies involved, we think It unlikely thatystem couldduring tbe period of this estimate.
The MRBM Piogram
The Chinese have been OVvekiping andissile or missiles in the MRBM class sine* tbe. On the basis of what vve haw seen over the past several years at tbe Shuaiigchtsig tVu Missile Test Rangehe banc vehicle appears toingle stageh uses stor-able liquid pioprlUinli and posMbry hasH-incrtlal guidance system.ystem would probably be able toe-entry vehicle weighingounds tonge otiles
At various timeshere has been some evidence suggesting thai the development stage was nearly complete and thai deployment mighl soon take place Once again in recent months some evidence suggesting prcpa.
hus. we are still notosition loonfident estimate asIOC of China's MRBM. We cannot even exclude the possibility thaiChinese have been working withnot be depbyed
at all. For example, there is the pc^ibility mat Ihe Chinese will waithermonuclear warliead or an improved missile, possibly one using solidBut this is unlikely, because it would seem unreasonable for the Chinese to have invested so much lime and effort in their current MRBM program if Ihey did not intend its deployment. We can Only Say thai the evidence indicates that tin; Chinese arc moving toward deployment.
II so. these would probably he temporary facilities builtrash basis in the context of Sino-Soviet tensions.
ajor deployment program, however, it istUt Chinese would construct permanent sites with extensive support facilities in order not to degrade the accuracy and reliability of the system. Moreover,
id the generally poor at soft sites near rail
here slill is no good basis for estimating the size of the MltBM force ihat might be deployed. It continues to seem probable that one Chinesewould be to provide coverage of important mllilary and civiban targets in non-Communist Asia. Barring radical improvement in relations with the USSR, it is possibleubstantial portion of China's MRBM force will Ik1 deployed against Soviet
hina's limited economic, industrial, and technical base probablysupportapid deployment ol MRBMs. other oncoming advanced weapon programs, and possibly increased requirements forlandence, choices among many production alternatives would have to be made. We thus find no reaxm for dunging our previous estimate thai the Chinese might aim firsttively modest force on the order0 MRBMt and thatrogramtrnd into the
J*-hich iiigge.vtH that il may hav
modilied tor useest plaUorm lor some Chinese-designed missile. |
hina'slass submarine has recently undergone extensive raft
e continue In believe that Ihe Chinese will not look to diesel-powered submarineseans of threatening the continental US, and they may also feelorte of this type would not add enough lo their strategic regional capability to warrant the cost. There is some infonrmlkm showing thai the Chinese are Interested in nuclear-powered sulimanne twhiiology. but even if design work onubmarine hasun. the Chinese probably would not be able to has*ubmarine operaticeial before the* at the earliest.
The ICBM Program
ork is continuing at the large launch facility (designated LaunchB) at the SCTMTR. Construction a( this site mi started in die late summeraunch position (designated, gantry crane, and associated faculties appeared In7 to be complete and capable, of supporting launch operations. Tlure is no convincing evidence that tbe facility was ever used for Brings, however, and In the summer7 work began on another and larger launch position (designated) Somewhat later, extensive modifications of the originalere brgiux
he entire romplei will probably- not be completedear or so Moat of tbe work renuinlng lo be done involvesmi it is incTfasingly apparent that this facility uill hs- much larger and more elaborate than would be required
to. at era,
for au ICBM.e air more confident (lun before lhateility Is'iK mli ndei! finpiice pfo^ui-i. .ilflmu^lim'.d'1 inoftM programor lurthei discussion of CluiiV* spate program.)
It still>ould hr made ready for use fairly quickly. Hut this has basal the case since early this year, and photoglyphs taken In August still showed tome construction clutter and disruption of facilities around it. Thus it would appear dial the Chinese are nol us yet in any great hurry to get the pad ready forut it is Milt possible that flight testing Irom Pudould begin within Ihe neat few months, assuming of course that lest vehicles wen? avaflalile.
Further analysis of the service/umbilical tower added to8urehat the Launch vehicle to be tested at this facility willwo-stage, stunbte liquid-pror*lkml system with an overall length ofeet unciooster diameter of aboutehicle of these dimensions could probablyound re-entry vehicleange of.
We hold to the view thiit fruni whatever time the Chinese Itegtn testing thlv vehicle they will require at least Ihree years to achieve IOC Thus, if flight testing were lo begin soon, tht eailiest possible IOC would be2 ors we have pointed out inast, however. Ibisery tight schedule which gives Chin- v- capabilities much of ihe benefit of tbe doubt. Indeed the record of thnr missile programs serins itHtrasinelv to indicate tbat thr Crunese are taking mote time to develop their modem weapon systems than wr nidged likely on Ihe basis of their progress several yean ago. Thus, IOC is more likely lo be later, perhaps by as much as two or three years if they encounterdifficulties.
ecause of problems of this sort and in view ol the pressure on resources imposed by other military requirements, we believe that deployment of China's first ICBM. will proceedoderate pace and well below any possibleBy moderate we mean that if the Chinese achieve the earliest possible IOC of2 orhe number of operational ICBM launchersight fall somewhere betweenn the more likely event that IOC is Inter, achievementorce of thiswould slip accordingly.
Chinese could probably develop relatively simplee.g. ha Boons, by tin lime of firs! deployment. Tbe devrloprnriit ofchaff system and of sophisticated, eridoalmosphcric decoys almostcould not be accomplishedultiple re-entry sehides air alsoto be available by this time. Though the first generation warhead mayinherent bardm*'. we have no basis lor making <ruantitatisr estimate*hardness of this or future warheads.
is no evidence thai China is attempting to develop anballisticBM) system. We doubt that they will do so. nldevelopment work is comph-led ou the ICBM.
Tha Solid Propellent Miuile Program
ood deal of evidence Uat the Chinese are engaged Incf sohd fuel strategic missiles. Chinese literature in die earlya high degree of interest in the problems of composite solid bitedivs-lopmtnt We have good evidenee of an import program4 which appears directly related to this technology Mostcourse, is the Hu-ho-hao-t'e suhd propellant complex itself, the constructionbeganhe static test futility located there appears designedmotorsue suitable for .strategic missile*.
c also lick any irasis for estimating ihe ipc otolid fuel mrbm or icbm. i
three years wonia prodariiy ne reiriureu mr nigm iwuug ivwiv iv/v. mis scheduleo serious difficulties anywhere in the development process, however, and we presently doubt that the chinese oould have strategic missiles with solid fuel rocket motors in ihe field by
lthough we arc puzzled why tlie chinese have not already tried to orbit an earth satellite, we continue to expect them to attempt lo do so as soon as they can. should such an attempt be made in the next year or so. the chinese would probablyodified mrbmooster andmall second stage. an mrbm modified in this manner could probabiv placeow earthayloadew hundred pounds.
t is evident from the sbre and complexity of facilities athat the chinese have ambitious space goals; indeed, considering the level of china's economic and technological development, perhaps overly ambitious. analysis of tbe facilities atnd of the tall vertical test tower at the nan-yuan missile plant suggest that ihe chinese mayaunch vehicle and space
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