The world has become the deadliest place to live with countries possessing deadly weapons and weapons of mass destruction like the atom bombs and nuclear bombs. Currently, there are enough nuclear weapons in the world to destroy the earth easily. The impact of the largest and most powerful nuclear bomb ever designed – Tsar Bomba, would have a fireball radius of 3 km, radiation radius of close to 8 km, the air-blast radius can range from 12 to 30 km. This means, if the bomb were to be dropped can easily kill all living organisms for 30 km. It is highly impossible to imagine the impact of a World War III.
There are currently 5 countries that are recognized as nuclear weapon states, who have signed the NPT or Non-Proliferation Treaty to abide by its three pillars namely non-proliferation, disarmament, and the right to peacefully use nuclear technology. These five countries are USA, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom. USA and Russia together possess the world’s 80% of the nuclear weapons. China, on the other hand, is believed to possess a large number of nuclear weapons, which are not disclosed to the world. India, Pakistan, Israel, and South Sudan are the four countries in the world to have not signed the NPT. North Korea withdrew from the NPT program. South Africa, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan previously possessed nuclear weapons and later transferred all of those to Russia and joined NPT. By 1998, Cuba was the only non-nuclear country to have not signed the NPT and in 2002 Cuba also joined NPT.
Here is the list of top 10 countries with the most number of nuclear missiles or warheads in the world as of 2017:
Total Nuclear Missiles – N.A.
Iran is a new addition to the list of countries that could possibly be possessing nuclear weapons and missiles. U.S. intelligence agency has already predicted that Iran could be possessing key ingredients to nuclear weapons. Their strength and the number of nuclear weapons and missiles are still unclear.
9. North Korea
Total Nuclear Missiles – 10-20
North Korea was previously a signatory of NPT and later withdrew from it in 2003. In 2009, North Korea declared that it has developed a nuclear weapon and they had conducted their first nuclear test in 2006 sparking protests from NPT countries. Again in 2007, North Korea confirmed that they have nuclear weapons. In 2009, they conducted their second successful test making the country “full-fledged nuclear power”. In 2013, North Korea is believed to have conducted their third nuclear test underground. Currently, they have small and mid-range nuclear missiles inducted into their armed forces.
Total Nuclear Missiles – 80
Israel is a country with an aggressive and unfriendly neighborhood. Israel definitely needed its defense systems to be capable enough to counter any attacks on its soil. Though Israel is known to possess huge amounts of nuclear missiles and weapons that might range from 80 to 400, officially has 80 warheads in its nuclear arsenal. There is no evidence of date or record of its first nuclear test. Israel possesses a wide array of nuclear weapons ranging from Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles to submarine-launched cruise missiles
Total Nuclear Missiles – 130-140
India is also a non-signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty like Pakistan. India started its nuclear research programme in 1967. India made its first surprise nuclear test in 1974 followed by the second test in 1998. India hasn’t officially declared or made any comments regarding the size of the nuclear arsenal it possesses. India has a strict “no-first-use” policy in place and would use the weapons only for retaliation purpose. India has already developed wide ranges of indigenous missiles such as the Agni and Prithvi series
Total Nuclear Missiles – 140-150
Pakistan is a non NPT signatory who is in a race with India to possess a number of nuclear missiles and warheads. Pakistan’s nuclear programme was led by Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1972 in response to the developments on nuclear research and weapons from its neighbor India. Bhutto fast-tracked the nuclear research programme after India’s surprise nuclear test code-named the Smiling Buddha in 1974. Finally in 1998 after India’s second successful nuclear test, Pakistan detonated five nuclear devices in Ras Koh Hills in the Chagai district. This operation was code-named Chagai-I. Today, Pakistan has many nuclear missiles in its military reserve.
5. United Kingdom
Total Nuclear Missiles – 215
During the 1970s British government had a stockpile of 520 nuclear warheads. Today, half of those are put to rest and they possess 215 nuclear missiles. The UK is the third country to test a nuclear bomb in 1952. England is one of the five from the NPT states. The UK has kept the size of its nuclear arsenal a top-secret and officially they have 150 active warheads. Historically, UK has conducted about 45 nuclear tests. Today, UK is considered as a powerful country in terms of its nuclear capabilities and number of possessed warheads.
Total Nuclear Missiles – 280
China is an emerging superpower economically as well as in terms of defense strengths. China has also emerged as a great power in the nuclear arms race. They are one of the oldest nations in the world to possess weapons of mass destruction. They performed the first nuclear test in 1964. The number of actual warheads with China is still unknown and is a state secret. There are reports that suggest that China could have as many as 3000 warheads. Officially, China has 260 warheads and those are not deployed. China has a strict policy of “no-first-use”, meaning they would attack only if they are attacked by a nuclear weapon on them. There are also reports that suggest China would double its nuclear power to beat the USA by 2020.
Total Nuclear Missiles – 300
France is a country with constant attacks from the hands of terrorists and this country needs more protection than other European counterparts. France has 290 deployed warheads and 10 other warheads. France is the third largest nuclear-weapon state with a stockpile of 300 nuclear warheads. France has the capability to strike with a nuclear weapon from air, sea or land – that is called the triad strike. France is known to have deactivated all its land-based nuclear missiles. In 1996, France conducted its last nuclear test before joining the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
2. Unites States
Total Nuclear Missiles – 6450
The United States is the most powerful country in the world with the highest number of deployed warheads. The USA has 1750 deployed warheads within the country as well as in other continents/countries. There are 6450 other warheads which are either tactical nuclear warheads or non-deployed strategic warheads. The USA also has a number of ICBMs and SLBMs than Russia with a count of 785 missiles.
Total Nuclear Missiles – 6850
Russia had 45000 nuclear warheads at one point of time due to the nuclear race and to balance the competitions from the west. Now, Russia has dismantled and cut short the number of nuclear missiles to around 6850. Out of this 1600 are active warheads and the rest are other warheads that are either in reserve or in the stages of dismantling. Russia is known to have 515 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), strategic bombers and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). There are thousands of non-deployed strategic warheads in Russia.