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January 1966

Excerpt of an Indian Document on Chinese Nuclear Delivery Capability

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)



iv) T-43 class mine-sweepers 12 (product […]

 stopped - […]


v) P-6 class motor torpedo boats 80 (product  […]

 stopped - […]


There was sharp reduction in ship-building activities […] 1960. However, the Chinese themselves are known […] designed and constructed smaller vessels like Sha[…] class fast patrol boats and also the modified P-6 […] torpedo boats. Production of marine engineering […] components and electronic and ordnance equipment […] ships began with Soviet assistance in 1958. Since […] 1962 China has constructed for W-class submarines […] Shanghai and more were being built at Wachang. […] ballistic missile-carrying submarine of the Soviet G-class was completed in 1965. Construction of fast patrol boats (Motor Torpedo Boat and Motor Gun Boat), personnel landing craft, coastal mine-sweepers and escort vessels continued during 1963 and appeared to have been stepped up in 1964.


Nuclear Weapons & Missiles:

The USSR and China entered into a formal agreement in 1957 to develop atomic energy and missiles in China and a programme for building atomic reactors and developing missiles was under way.  Progress was halted three years later when Soviet technicians left China. In 1962, China having re-appraised its defense requirements, decided to give the highest priority to the development of nuclear weapons and missiles. China now has a gaseous diffusion plant in Lanchou to produce enriched uranium and this is enriched further to weapon grade strength through the electromagnetic process. China is also producing plutonium and is further expanding its capacity to produce uranium. With the available production of uranium and plutonium, China has the capacity to produce […] 24 bombs a year depending on the size. It has already exploded two atomic bombs (of 20 and 40 kilo-ton capacity) using highly enriched U-235 and employing the explosion technique. There is evidence to indicate that arrangements for the fabrication of [atomic] bombs and their storage have already made good progress.  The present capacity of China may be summed up as follows:–


i)  It is in a position to make a heavy atomic bomb of 10,000 lbs. 


ii)  By the end of 1966, the size of the bomb could be reduced so that it becomes deliverable by an IL-28 light bomber. 


iii) By the middle of 1967, China could have a nuclear armed missiles with a range of 1,000 miles.


China has made considerable progress during the last […] years, in the field of missiles also.  It has been making surface-to-surface ballistic missiles with a range of about 30 miles, air-to-air missiles copied from the Side-Winder missiles and a 400 mile range ballistic missile.  It is also known to have carried out test-firings of 600-1,000 miles range ballistic missiles in 1962-63.  




An excerpt of a document recovered from the Air India 101 crash assessing China's military capabilities.


Document Information


Collection of Françoise Rey of Chamonix, France.


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Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)