SNIE 13-10-68 - COMMUNIST CHINA'S ICBM AND SUBMARINE-LAUNCHED BALLISTIC MISSILE PROGRAMS

Created: 9/19/1968

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

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SUBJECT: COMMUNIST ODEA'S ICBM AND SUBMARINE-

LAUNCHED BALLISTIC MISSILE PROGRAMS

THE PROBLEM

To assess China's intercontinental ballistic missile end submarine-launched ballistic missile programs and to estimate the nature and eize of these programs5

his SNIE supersedes relevant sections ofChinese Reactionsertain US Course ofOP SECRET, ALL SOURCE. It is an Interim estimate prepared in responsepecific request. All aspects of China's strategic weapons program will be discussed in detail in, "Communist China's Strategic Weaponshich is scheduled forin December.

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THE ESTIMATE

I. THE IOTEBCCNTINEKTAL BALLISTIC MISSILE PRCCRAI-1

In7 It appeared that the Chinese hod virtually completed the necessary facilities at the Shuarig-cbeng-tzu Missile Teat Range to begin an intercoutlDeotal ballistic oissile (ICBM) test program. eu months, however, they began major new construction at this facility. Recent photography confirms that the original launch pad (designated) lo being extensively modified and what appears to be an umbilical tower has been added. Another launch padifferent design (designated) is under construction. The new pad, however, probably will be served by tbe gantry erected for. ontrol bunker to serve the new pad has been built. Numerous other installations, including provision for additional fuel and water storage for the entire complex, are also under construction.

We can only speculate at this point as to the reasons for these developments. One possibility is that management failures, owing partly to political turmoil, resulted in lack of coordination

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between missile designers and those in charge of range facility construction. or the correction of design errors in the missile system could have forced alterations. it is also possible that all of these changes, especially the constructionew pad at the test range, reflect major changes in missile design.

3- one thing is increasingly clear from this experience and from our general observations of chinese military programs; the chinese are consuming more time in the development and production of modem weapons than previously seemed likely on the basis of their apparent progress several years ago. some of this delay ia almost certainly due to the disruptions and confusion of the cultural revolution. there is ample evidence not only of production and transportation delays throughout the economy but also ofdisorders within key organizations involved in directing and operating the advanced weapons programs.

k. more basic and of continuing significance beyond the present period of turmoil ie china's lackroadly based scientific-industrial establishment. it is one thing to put together teams of select scientific personnel for research and development; it is quite another to manage the complex processes

and to produce In quantity the components of advanced weaponsountry possessingmall pool of trained manpower and few sophisticated industrial plants and machines. The advantages to China of following the pioneering work of others and the benefits of being able to obtain ouch useful data, materials, and equipment from Japanese and Western sources have not, and we think for some tine will not, offset these basic shortcomings.

5- All this is not to say, of course, that Chinese advanced weapons programs are doomed to stagnation, or continuous delays. Peking has already made substantial investments in its effort to develop an ICBMhermonuclear warhead and the program is moving forward. But it does suggest caution ln estimating the probable rate of progress over the next few years, particularly with respect to the production and deployment of complex missile systems.

6. Present evidence suggests thatould be ready for use by the end of this year or earlynd flight testing could begin, assuming that test vehicles are ready. Prom whatever time the Chinese begin testing ve estimate it would take at least three years to achieve an Initial operational

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capability (IOC).^ at period ls comparable to Soviet and US experience with first generation ICBWs. Thus, an IOC In2 ia poaeible; but In light of the Chinese record and considering general politics) and economic conditions In China, it ls more likely to be later, perhaps even by two or three years.

7- Tbe recent information sheds no new light on tha character' lstlcs of the Chinese ICBM system. The test facilities appear adequate to handle thrusts large enough toarheadPangeiles.

8. As for warhead availability, sufficient fissionable material. Including plutonium, should be availableodest program by the time the mlaalle aystem ls ready for deployment. China's last nuclear teat In7 was probably aimed at reducing the site and weighthermonuclear weapon.

2/ Ve mean, in the Chinese case, two or three missiles deployed with trained crews at operational Bites.

Force Projection

have no basis for estimating how far the Chinesethe deployment of their first generation ICBM. Theirperformance will depend on political-military developmentsas on econctnic and technical capabilities. We believewill not be able toarge force of ICBMs infew years. By this we mean that by the end of the firstof deployment they could probablyorce ofbetweenndperatlonel ICBM launchers. Hence,earliest possible IOChe Chinese ere not likelymore thanr so ICBMs deployed If thea maximum effort and were successful, they couldthat number. But we believe the chances for delaysere high and it would be unrealiatic to estimateChinese wouldorce level of Uo or so ICBM launchers There is no evidential basis for estimating the accuracy

and reliability of China's first ICBM, but we believe that thsy will fall considerably below present Soviet perforinanc*,

major attempt to put the first generation ICBMsites or toecond generation system would

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retard deployment of their first system. We believe it is unlikely that the Chinese could deploy hardened first generation missiles^ at the earliest. arge solid propellant facility la under construction at Hu-ho-hao-te, the Chinesewill not be able toolid propellant ICBM

he Chinese could probably develop relatively simple exoatmosphericalloons, by the time of firstThe development of an effective chaff system and ofendoattaospheric decoys almost certainly could not be accomplishedultiple reentry vehicles are also unlikely to be available by this time. Though the first generation warhead nay have seme inherent hardness, we have no basis for makingestimates about the hardness of this or future warheads.

IT. MISSILE SUBMARINES

he Chineseless submarine ine believe this boat has not done any missile firing and in general has not been active. /

If construction were to begin

a oBxiauc cf three or four boots could be constructed5 and be equipped with missilesengeiles or so. Butlass submarine probably would be able to fire only when oo the surface, end the Chinese would hove major problems operating far from their bases. Hence we believe that the Chinese will not look to diesel-powered missile submarineseans of threatening OS territory. He estimate that the Chinese will not be able touclear-powered ouboarlne before thea at the earliest.

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