Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Pak's N-arsenal contains up to 90 warheads

Pakistan's atomic weapons stockpile has jumped to an estimated 70-90 warheads from a previous figure of 60 and it is also developing two new types of nuclear-capable cruise missiles, according to a top American scientist.

Writing for the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), Hans M Kristensen cited the latest Nuclear Notebook published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to highlight Pakistan's expansion of its nuclear warheads.

The estimate of 70-90 nuclear warheads in Pakistan's atomic weapons stockpile is an increase compared with the previous estimate of approximately 60 warheads due to Islamabad's pending introduction of a new ballistic missile and cruise missiles, he said.

Kristensen wrote that Pakistan's nuclear-capable Shaheen-II medium-range ballistic missile also appears to be approaching operational deployment after long preparation.

The Army test-launched two missiles within three days in April 2008, and the US Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Centre (NASIC) reported in June 2009 that the weapon "probably will soon be deployed," he noted.

Two types of nuclear-capable cruise missiles are also under development the ground-launched Barbur and the air-launched Ra-ad, Kristensen said. Two new plutonium production reactors and a second chemical separation facility are also under construction by Pakistan

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