China’s 1966 Nuclear Missile Warhead Test was Launched Over Chinese Territory

In 1966, China conducted a risky nuclear missile warhead test across its own territory. China’s fourth nuclear test was the first test of a nuclear warhead fitted to a ballistic missile, and was launched across approximately 1000 kilometers of Chinese territory.  The nuclear U235 fission warhead was launched on 27 October 1966 by ballistic missile from the historical Shuangchengzi missile test facility (41.11N 100.33E), with an air burst detonation of about 12 kilotons at Lop Nor Nuclear Testing Grounds (near 41.50N 88.50E).


Sources for this information include the following: Li Jue, et. al., Contemporary China’s Nuclear Industry; Robert S. Norris, A. S. Burrows, and R. W. Fieldhouse, Nuclear Weapons Databook, Vol V: British, French, and Chinese Nuclear Weapons; Yitzhak Shichor, “Peaceful Fallout: The Conversion of China’s Military-Nuclear Complex to Civilian Use;” Wm. Robert Johnston Online Archives (; see also additional declassified files available through George Washington University National Security Archives (online at:

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