Chinese deterrence will triple by 2035, according to the Pentagon

Chinese deterrence, like its conventional military power, has evolved considerably in recent years. Thus, the number of nuclear warheads deployed by the Chinese nuclear triad doubled from 2014 to 2024, going from 250 to 500, while new vectors, such as the DF-41 and JL-3 strategic ballistic missiles, and the new HH-20 stealth bomber, have entered service, or promise to do so soon.

This spectacular progression could well be just the beginning of what is to come. Indeed, according to the Pentagon, China will have 1 active nuclear warheads in 500, thus being on an equal footing in the strategic field with the United States and Russia, in a “breathtaking” progression. , by the admission of the head of American deterrence.

The progress of Chinese deterrence is breathtaking, according to the Pentagon

Speaking to the American Congress, General Anthony Cotton, who heads the American Strategic Command, estimated that the progress made by China in space and deterrence, were breathtaking, so fast and efficient were they.

He repeated, for the occasion, the words of General Stephen Whiting, who heads the Space Command, who had used the same qualifier, before him, in front of the same audience, on the subject of Chinese progress in his area of ​​​​competence.

B-21 Raider
The United States has undertaken the modernization of its deterrent forces, with the B-21 Raider bomber, the Columbia-class SSBN submarine, and Sentinel ICBM missiles.

General Cotton presented to American parliamentarians the state of the nuclear threat, while Congress seems inclined to reduce the budgets of certain programs, such as the ICBM Sentinel missile, intended to replace the American Minutemann, and whose forecast budget, is a habit in the United States, has exploded in recent years, with an additional cost estimated at 37%.

As such, the United States plans to spend $1 billion on the modernization of its nuclear triad over the next thirty years, including the construction of 500 nuclear ballistic missile submarines. Columbia class, which are to replace the SSBN Ohio, that of the B-12 Raider strategic bombers, intended to replace the B-21, then the B-1, for the strategic missions of the US Air Force, and finally, for the replacement of some 2 Minutemann ICBM missiles, by the Sentinel.

The number of Chinese nuclear warheads has doubled in ten years

If the qualifier chosen by General Cotton was certainly intended to highlight the threat in order to preserve the budgets at his disposal, or even increase them, it is however not erroneous.

Indeed, over the last ten years, while the geopolitical situation only deteriorated from 2019 between the United States and China, Beijing went from 250 to 500 operational nuclear warheads, according to estimates from the Pentagon.

Chinese DF-41 ICBM deterrent
The DF-41 solid-fuel ICBM missile offers much higher performance than the DF-5 it replaces.

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