Created: 1/27/1965

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national intelligence estimate


Communist China's Advanced Weapons Program




The following intelligence organizations participated in Ihe preparation of this estimate:

The Central Intelligence Agency ond the intelligence organizations of lheof State, Dcfonw, AEC, ond NSA.


Director of Intelligence and Research, Deportment of Stole Director, Defense Intelligence Agency The Atomic Energy Commlulon Representative lo the USIB Director of the Notional Security Agency


The Aswstont lo the Director, Federol Bureau ol Investigation, tho subject being


outa'de ol hit jurisdiction.

inn rn ii r


Communist China's Advanced Weapons Program











MAP 13


communist china's advanced weapons program


To assess tlie current state of Communist China's nuclear weapons and missile program and. insofar as possible, estimate the future course and size of that program.


Although we haveonsiderable amount of newin the past year or so, there remain serious gaps in ourand we are therefore not able to judge the present state or to project the future development of the Chinese program with any high degree of confidence, 'lhe specific judgments in this paper should be read in the light of this general caution.


jV_iCoininunist China's first nuclear test on4f an implosion fission devices the fissionable materiala probable yieldflotons (KT)We cannot estimate with confidence its weight or dimensions but believe it was relatively large and heavy. The most likely source ofas uranium first brought to partial enrichment in the gaseous diffusion facility at Lan-chuu and then further enriched by the electromagnetic process. We cannot, however, rule out the possibility thatas of Soviet or other non-Chinese origin though we believe this to be highly unlikely.


jon gl-chet-

how many such missiles are now in China. The Chinesergent requirement for SAMs and we believe are working hardroduction program There are indications that tlie Chinese are now producing sonic kind nf surface-to-air missile, either Soviet-type SAMshinese version. The evidence is not sufficient toirm judgment but we think it highly unlikelv that either willarge scale for two or three years. )

G. It is unlikely that the Chinese willeliverableweapon for several years, and there is little chance of ancapability until



The Chinese Communist detonation at Lop Nor onramatic incident in Peiping's determined effort toodern nuclear power. During the past year or so there hasubstantial increase in our information on the Chinese advanced weapons programs. We believe that the Chinese had at least planned or begun construction on virtually all their major advanced weapons facilitieshen they were stillroad range of Soviet assistance. We do not know the precise extent of involvement of the Soviets in all these projects, but there is good evidence that they provided the Chinese with considerable technical and material assistance. We believe this in-eluded an experimental nuclear reactor, facilities for processing uranium, some equipmentaseous diffusion plant, assistance inissile test range, the equipmentew surface-to-air missile sites, andew surface-to-surface missiles. Although much of the progress we have ohsers'ed to date results from earlier Soviet help, it is difficult to judge how much progress was achieved through Chinese efforts, aided by the considerable amount ofOn Free World nuclear developments that is available in open literature.

Communist China is almost certainlyarger proportion of its scientific and technical resources to the development of advanced weapons than any other nation. Althoughesolute diversion of resources enhances the prospect for successes in someorced-draft efforf restingery limited scientific, technological, and industrial base is susceptible to numerous difficulties. Thus the Chinese are likely to be forced to some expedients and make-shift adaptations for which US, Soviet, British, and French experience Is no precedent, and which will accordingly be hard for us to detect or predict.

he Source of. We cannot identify the source ofthe Chinese in their first nuclear test. It could have been obtainedforeign source, but wc believe lhat the most likely source is Chinese

J Some of the Sovieturanium prooucrxf earlier than theowever, may havethat used by the Chinese.

e cannot, therefore, rule out the possibility of Soviet origin on purely technical grounds- Wc believe It extremely unlikely that the Sovietsnr the test afterut they could have done so sometime before this period of crisis in Sino-Soviet relations. If so, It Is difficult to explain why more than four years elapsed before the first lest. To explain the delay on technical grounds would mean that the Chinese are far more retarded in their nuclear technology' than we believe is tbe ease. Another explanation wouldeliberate decision to delay. The Chinese, knowingong hiatus betwem tlie first and suhiequent tests would reveal to the world lhat China wasuclear power in its own right, might have refrained from using tlw Soviet-supplied material until ihey could follow up quickly with further tests using domestically produced material. This line of reasoning would lead, therefore, to the conclusion that the Chinese are now confident of their own production capability. In addition, tlie circumstances and charges in tbe developing Sino-Soviet dt<putc suggests that the Soviets did not supply. Such remarks as Soviet bBJm have made on the matter are contradictory and whollyWe know, however,oviet refusal9 to provide tbe Chinese with further nuclear weapon technology was one of the critical issues in the

we do not believe thateltJs" is njinjmraiiie to mar hclucvcd by other countries after several years of testing. Furthermore it is likely that Ihe Chinese would have been conservative in their designs and dimensions in order to minimize the chances of failure in their first



dispute. The Chinese have also charged in their polemics lhat the Soviets9 refused toample atomic weapon. In the light of all thesewc believe that the Soviets did not provideor CHIC-1.

arge facility in Communist China on the Yellow River nearWe have good quality overhead photography obtained over severalthere arc major limitations on what can be learned from suchinstance, it docs not, of course, show what is inside buildings. Theelaborate physical security protection including anti-aircraft defenses.this facility includes gaseous diffusion equipment forproductionThe equipment was probably supplied by the USSRe believe this facility in its present state couldenrichment by gaseous diffusioningle-pass operation.suggests that some production in the existing buildings could have

Another large building would

be required to house sufficient additional equipment to permit production of highlyy normal gaseous diffusionhe site layout indicates that plans originally includeduilding but no construction has been started.

believe, therefore, that the Lanchou facility was not responsibleny the gaseous diffusion process alone butprocess was also involved, probably an electromagnetic separation ""

ve believe that had such production taken place, the Chinese would have fabrtcai ed their first device as soon as the requisite amount of fissionable material was at hand.

In this and Other ducusiions of gaseous diffusion atevel of lech-nolofcy (barriers,hat we bate estimated the Soviets achieved in the.

here are other processes for producing; only two of these, the gas centrifuge and the electromagnetic technique have been sufficiently developed to be considered as possibilities for the Chinese. It is highly unlikely that the Chinese have developed some third process. The gas centrifuge process has never been developed beyond the experimental stage in the Free World.

There is no persiuuive evidence that the Soviets have produced gas centrifuges in significant numbers and none that they have given any to the Chinese. We do not believe that the Chinese have attained the manufacturing capability and technology required for domestic production of the necessary large numbers of suitable centrifuges.

lectromagnetic technology, on the other hand, is well developed and almost certainly within the knnwlwW and "inimiDnw 0fChinese.

we inctme to the view,

ineieiure, mat trie l'-ZOO usea in uninaS lust nuclear detonation was produced through low enrichment by gaseous diffusion at Lanchou, with final enrichment by electromagnetic separation.

n analysis of the buildings, physical layout, and power available at Lanchou suggests that the Chinese could have both gaseous diffusion andequipment there. It is also possible that partial enrichment was done at Lanchou and the electrornagnetic "topping-ofT was done at some other lncation. No electromagnetic facility has been identified, but wc estimate thatlant could exist in the other known atomic energy sites. It is further possible lhat there is an electromagnetic facility in some other part of China.

urrent Production of. We have no good basis forrobable level of China's production of highly. We caninimum production capacity of highlyyinimum size of electromagnetic plant that could have "topped-ofl" just_enough material jn time forThese^'assumptions would giveal taiily output* kg,umulative production total at the endihe production capacity of combined gaseous diffusion and electromagnetic processes in the Lanchou facility could be greater than this mjnimum. Assuming that the Lanchou plant is entirely devoted to the gaseous (diffusion process and that an electromagnetic plant large enough toll of Lanchou's output of partially enriched product, the maximum daily outputould be as greatg. If such production began as early asumulative total production wouldgs as of tbe end

lutonium Production Sites. Theremall air-cooled reactor located al Pao-tou wluch wc believe is now producing plutonium. Details of this reactor's progress, as seen in photography, indicate that it probably began operation in3 orlthough some evidence suggests that the reactor started up in We estimate that the Pao-t'ou reactor has a



thermal power rating ofegawatt*Q kgs of plutonium.tart up in3 "ana tkitTthe reactor was operatedanner to minimize the time necessary to obtain materialest device, and assuming the Chinese encountered no serious setbacks, we estimate that the Chinese could have bad by the endgs of plutonium or more than enough for an all-plutonium test device.

arge industrial complex was under construction9 near Yumenemote area of Kansu Province, and was still under constructione believe that among the projects under construction at this complexarge nuclear reactor. In addition there is some evidencemallW) was2 in Wwt China,

rom the foregoing it is apparent that wc have no good basis forating the current Jevel of China's total production of Bssjonabje^matrrja^

would depend heavily on the level of technology and fabricating facilities available.

Production. The only identified facility which couldsignificant jump in China's fissionable material production is whatarge reactor under construction near Yumen. The failure of thebuild the second cascade building at Lanchou indicates to us thatwere unable to make all the highly' intricate equipment neededthe production of highlyt Lanchou in aprocess. Even if the Chinese began construction now on anotherthere, it would probably be at least tliree years before thecould begin production


It is

uso possima mat may win mt an ftjj-piutonimtrde'vice:

c believe that political considerations would impel tbe Chinese tohermonuclear device as soon as they' can. The Chinese might be able torude, single-stage thermonuclear device on their present tested

eapon* Development We havearge complex undernear Koko Nor in Tsinghai Province that we believeuclear weapons research, development, and production facility. Coostruction here has ofjviouslyigh peksrity, elaborate security precautions have been taken and some ol the installations in the complexesemblance to Soviet weapon sites. The facility is apparently nearly completed, and some portions of it may already be in operation.

f they so chose, the Chinese could now build bombs based On the results of their first test which could be carried by their twoBadger) medium |et bombers or by theirr so TU-is (Bull) The Chinese wiD almostgive first claim on their supply of fissionable material to the development of more, sophisticated designs, but we do not rule out the possibility that the Chinese arc even now attempting loew weapons based on the test

a consistently successlul program, the Chinese could warhead [

belie' develop a

a iiumo configuration carl

Jis warhead

Jcould be available somewhat

omb could be de-

Ivered by the Chinese "stlf "force'sight jet bombers of which they have.


Medium-Bange Stirfticc-toSuiface Ballistic Missiles. We believe the Chinese Communists arcedium-range ballistic missile. The Shuang-ch'eng-tzu missile lest range (SCTMTR) is designed to permit theof surface-to-surface missiles upange ofautical miles-There is good evidence that the Soviets helped develop SCTMTR, and they probably were involved in early testing activity there. We believe that byhen the major withdrawal of Soviet technicians had beeenthe USSR had provided the Chinese with some Sovietup to. We believe that operations at the range began1 with some kind of SSM tests and that there were furtlier firingsut we believe the rate of firing was sporadic and limited.

Communist China's missile research and development center is located atuburb of Peiping. We believe that this faculty began static testing of missilesudging from the layout and the size of the rocket engine test stands, this complex appears suitable for developing surface-to-surface ballistic missiles to at least the MRBM size. It appears large enough to permit limited series production of missiles.

the Chinese extended one of

the two surtacc-to-surtace launch pads and modified some of the supportat SCTMTR. Thus the availablegeographic limitations on the lenglh of SCTMTR. the substantial missile development center at Chang-hsin-ticn, the launch facility modification, and the gradually quickening pace of activity strongly Suggest that flight testing beganhinese-produced medium-range missile system in the latter part

The evidence suggests that the Chinese are workingissile based On Ihe design of the Sovietissile would be capable, when fully developed, ofayload ofounds to the maximumrangeautical miles. It is possible that the Chinese couldew medium-range missiles ready for deployment7lthough the system might still have problems of reliability and accuracy. Also, assuming consistent success in their nuclear program (see especiallynde estimate that the Chinese could possibly have fission warheadswith these missiles7

Short-Range Ballistic Missiles. Thereeliable report that the Chinese received someile range vehicular mounted missiles prior tond we have other evidence that there may have been testing or training exercises with this type missileowever, wc believe it unlikely that the Chinese would at this stage divert much of their scarce scientific talent andmaterial to the development and manufacture of nuclear warheads for this type of missile.



Mutiles. The Chinese Communisis were provided by the Sovielsimited amounl ofurface-to-air missile equipment anda start on the base for future domestic development before the withdrawal of Soviet technicians ine have no evidence to confirm or deny that the Soviets have furnished any SAMs since then. We do not know liow many such missiles there are in Cliina but the Chinese appear to have had to ration carefully tlie equipment they have. At leastAM sites have been identified in China. Some have been completely abandoned, and at any given timeew arc actually occupied with equipment. Our evidence suggests that the number of units is considerably smaller than the number of sites and that the Chinese move the units from one place to anotltcr in an effort to intercept Chinese Nationalist photo-reconnaissance flights.

We believe that Peiping hasigh priority toomestic capability involvingopy of the Sovietissilehinese modification. We have not firmlyactory for theof surface-to-air missiles. However, there is at Taiyuan in Northarge facility which we believe is for the produciion of solid propcllants which could be used in SAMs. There are also some indications that other plants in this area are producing missile components, and Ihey may be producing some kind of surface-to-air missile, either replacements for the Soviet SAMshinese version or both. Tlie evidence is not sufficient toirm judgment; however, we think it highly unlikely that either version is being producedubstantial scale. We believe it will be two or three years before productionarge scale is within their capability.

2S. Air-fo-Sur/ace Missiles. We believe the Chinese Communists have no air-to-surfacc missile (ASM) capability at this tunc. While some of the original facilities al SCTMTR airfield suggest that an ASM program was al one time contemplated, no more recent indications ofrogram have been identified and we believe that otlier higher priority weapons programs make such an effort unlikely.

Missiles. The Chinese Communists mayimitedair-to-air guided missiles (AAM) for their fighter aircraft. While we haveevidence that the Soviets supplied any, aircraft have been observedsuitable for carrying such missiles. We have no persuasivethe Chinese are producing AAMs. bul we believe it within Iheirproduce copies of Soviet missiles or US infrared Sidewinders. Suchwere captured by the Chinese at the time of the Taiwan


revealed Ihal Ihe Chinese haveubmarine closely similar in outward appearance to thelass submarine which is designed to launch

. ballistic missiles whilehotography indicates that the hull assembly began in abouthe Soviets may have helped build this vessel, and may have supplied components for the suhmarine and the missile system. We have no evidence as to what missile the Chinese may be planning to put in this submarine or as to whether the Soviets gave them assistance in this respect. Presumably Ihe Cliinese are aiming at the SS-hM. Wc have no evidence that the Chinese arc now constructing any more of this type submarine, and it would be at least several years before any units could be operational with Chinese-produced missiles. The Chinese Communists might be greatly attracted to the developmentissile submarine force which could pose atimited nuclear threat to targets in the US.

o-alal Defense Missiles and Guided Missile Patrol Boots. We have fairly good evidence that Ihe Soviets in9 provided the Chinese with some cruise missilesange of. and whichigh explosive warhead. Since that time the Cliinese have maintained an apparently active test range and development center for coastal defense cruise-type missiles at Lien-shan on the Gulf of Liaotung. The only other cruise missile site sve have identified in China is near Dairen. We cannot be certain however that it is operational Although we have no evidence of Chinese production of cruise missiles, the Lien-shan facility indicates the Chinese are interested. They probably could produceeapon system without much difficulty.

least one and probably two each of the Soviet OSA-elass andmotor boats have been sighted in Chinan the Soviettype of craft carrieserodynamic missilesighandangeiles. Although there is somethe Soviets may have supplied or helped build these craft, we believeof boih the boats and tbe missiles is within Chinese capabilities.


our knowledge of Communist Chinas advanced weaponsas sketchy and inadequatet is, any longer term estimates must betentative than those made above. The next decade could bringradical, changes to China and to the state of international relations, Itthat many of the top leaders will have passed from the scene, andmight mean for Peiping's foreign, military, and domestic policies isThere remains the profound question of the outcome of thepopulation growth and food supply in China, and, indeed, theChinas scientific, technical, and industrial resources and energies thatsees fit to devote to advanced weapons and other military programsan important bearing on this question.

'Theass submarine is estimated toaximum patrol operating radius (one day on station). without refueling.


Thel>ably will be able Io proceed with experimental nm oo various types of nuclear warheads and missile systems. However, there will be limitations in the supply of fissionableyriad of technologicaland an enormous economic burden. An intermediate range missile0 miles) would not bring within range many additional targets (except possibly in the USSR) likely lo be of interest to Peiping and the Chinese may try to jump to an intercontinental capability. Even if development has already been started, we do not believe they could have an operational ICBM system until

If the Chinese Communists decide toassive effort to ad-vonced weapons programs irri^pcctive of the cost to other parts of the economy, they probably will bo able to carry forward many of the weapons programs considered in this estimate. However, pressing all these programsuccessful conclusion will beformidable task and the Chinese may be forced Io accept changes and delays. It is probably within Chinese capabilities to carry out at least those programs with the highest. the nuclear weapons. MHHM, and SAM programs.




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