A new report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has weighed in with an educated guess about the Israeli military’s secretive nuclear weapons program, estimating the nation has around 80 “strategic” level nuclear weapons.
The estimate suggests 50 of the warheads are for Jericho II medium range missiles, with another 30 gravity bombs to be dropped from warplanes. The report says it is possible that smaller tactical nukes could also be in the nation’s arsenal.
If true, this would make Israel’s arsenal the smallest of the eight nuclear powers, though roughly in line with India and Pakistan who both, like Israel, are not signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). SIPRI put their arsenals in the range of 90-120 warheads.
Israel had been believed to have a considerably larger arsenal than this, with past estimates mostly in the 200 warhead range and some suggesting the number could be as high as 400. Israel is the only nuclear weapons state in the Middle East.
The report was critical not only of the non-NPT nations with nuclear arsenals, but also of the signatories who they reported are flouting treaty requirements to work toward disarmament, noting that all five such powers are working on new nuclear weapons or plan to do so.