Independent nuclear deterrent

#1
Am I right in thinking that because Trident missiles were purchased from the USA that they are anything but independent?

I don't advocate having no nuclear deterrent, for what it is worth I think that we need one because we have made an awful lot of enemies over the years. Some of them ain't quite the full potato when it comes to moderation and a good few are and have developed nuclear weapons of their own with more aspiring to the same.

So if we need a nuclear deterrent and the one we have is a very expensive compromise, why not think about a cheaper compromise? We could consider a nuclear tipped sub-launched Tomahawk. It isn't a strategic weapon in the same sense as an ICBM and because the Tomahawk is an American weapon it would be no more independent than a Trident but still a whole lot cheaper. Then of course is the closest thing to a real independent nuclear deterrent we could probably get, a nuclear tipped Storm Shadow.

The French use a version of it called the SCALP (I think) and although MBDA, the company that makes it is Anglo/French (mostly French these days apparently) I think we have full operational and development independence. Again, it won't have the range of an ICBM, it is a little more dangerous and difficult to deploy but considering it is a deterrent and not intended for use, surely the knowledge that it exists achieves its intended goal.

I have heard that the RAF, rightly or wrongly are going to bear the brunt of SDSR but if on the whole a decision with regard to the defence budget could be deferred for a while, the RAF could build a case for keeping its fast jet fleet intact using this argument for deterrence as a counter.

Just a thought. I'll get me coat.
 
#2
Am I right in thinking that because Trident missiles were purchased from the USA that they are anything but independent?

I don't advocate having no nuclear deterrent, for what it is worth I think that we need one because we have made an awful lot of enemies over the years. Some of them ain't quite the full potato when it comes to moderation and a good few are and have developed nuclear weapons of their own with more aspiring to the same.

So if we need a nuclear deterrent and the one we have is a very expensive compromise, why not think about a cheaper compromise? We could consider a nuclear tipped sub-launched Tomahawk. It isn't a strategic weapon in the same sense as an ICBM and because the Tomahawk is an American weapon it would be no more independent than a Trident but still a whole lot cheaper. Then of course is the closest thing to a real independent nuclear deterrent we could probably get, a nuclear tipped Storm Shadow.

The French use a version of it called the SCALP (I think) and although MBDA, the company that makes it is Anglo/French (mostly French these days apparently) I think we have full operational and development independence. Again, it won't have the range of an ICBM, it is a little more dangerous and difficult to deploy but considering it is a deterrent and not intended for use, surely the knowledge that it exists achieves its intended goal.

I have heard that the RAF, rightly or wrongly are going to bear the brunt of SDSR but if on the whole a decision with regard to the defence budget could be deferred for a while, the RAF could build a case for keeping its fast jet fleet intact using this argument for deterrence as a counter.

Just a thought. I'll get me coat.
This has come up before, TLAM with a nuclear warhead does not a deterant make. The point is we have a submarine hiding somewhere in the (realy large) atlantic Ocean that can drop rather a lot of instant sunshine almost anywhere on earth with 30 minutes (with flight time) notice.
 
#3
Am I right in thinking that because Trident missiles were purchased from the USA that they are anything but independent?
Depends what you mean by independent. If the PM (or the Sub captain) decide tomorrow to launch then the US can do nothing to stop it. What the US could do is stop servicing the missile bodies & thus in x months(years?) when they reach their service interval they may not work as advertised unless we implement a crash program to develop our own maintainance facility
 
#4
No such thing as a nuclear armed Tomahawk, they were banned in 1988 as part of the INF treaty so a nuclear tipped version is a complete non starter.

ETA: fixed date.
 
#5
I get your point but think about this scenario, unlikely as it might be.

The Brits and the baddies (because we can't possibly be the baddies) 'have a go' and the baddies launch nukes at us but not at our buddies across the pond. They say to the Americans that it is between them and us (the Brits), if you stay out of it and do not give the Brits authority to launch nukes at us then things stay nice and peachy between the Yanks and our enemy whilst we, the Brits, get blown back to the stone age without any chance to retaliate.

Yes I know it is not likely, I have already said that. In fact I can't think of a sillier, more unlikely scenario but you make the point, a good one as well, that a nuclear tipped Tomahawk does not make a good deterrent. My point is that when it gets right down to it, neither does Trident. Not an independent one at any rate.
 
#6
Depends what you mean by independent. If the PM (or the Sub captain) decide tomorrow to launch then the US can do nothing to stop it. What the US could do is stop servicing the missile bodies & thus in x months(years?) when they reach their service interval they may not work as advertised unless we implement a crash program to develop our own maintainance facility
Okay. So there is no requirement for the Americans to release some kind of code before the order to launch can be given?
 
#8
The united states of america has no control of our nuclear weapons release authority. We want too we can.

Its already been said in this thread.
 
#10
#11
Are you sure about that? In 2009, there was a to-do over Japan's objection to the USN's proposed withdrawal of TLAM-N, which would have compromised their security. US Secretary of State got involved. I believe TLAM-N is still hanging in there. Try a Google search.


TLAM-N, BGM-109A, was deactivated by the USN as a nuclear weapons system in 1991

"The "BGM-109A" strategic nuclear variant, also known as the "Tomahawk Land Attack Missile Nuclear (TLAM-N)". The BGM-109A was introduced into US Navy service in 1984, and the last of them was delivered in 1992. However, in accordance with US President George Bush's unilateral nuclear arms limitation measures in 1991, the BGM-109A was withdrawn from active service in 1991 and stockpiled. Some of the stockpiled missiles may have been converted to other Tomahawk variants."

[4.0] ALCM & SLCM
 
#12
Oxygen Thief status or not, this particular piece of garbage is worth a bite... (see bold and underline)

Semper_Flexibilis said:
TLAM-N, BGM-109A, was deactivated by the USN as a nuclear weapons system in 1991

"The "BGM-109A" strategic nuclear variant, also known as the "Tomahawk Land Attack Missile Nuclear (TLAM-N)". The BGM-109A was introduced into US Navy service in 1984, and the last of them was delivered in 1992. However, in accordance with US President George Bush's unilateral nuclear arms limitation measures in 1991, the BGM-109A was withdrawn from active service in 1991 and stockpiled. Some of the stockpiled missiles may have been converted to other Tomahawk variants."
[4.0] ALCM & SLCM
Even your own quotes show your stupidity... :)

So, where does it say they no longer exist and cannot be returned to active service?

Remember your words...
Semper_Flexibilis said:
No such thing as a nuclear armed Tomahawk , they were banned in 1988 as part of the INF treaty so a nuclear tipped version is a complete non starter.
Pleased that you use such an authoritive source.

I suggest you read this ather more authoritive source from May last year that indicates they will remain in existence until at least 2013:


Page 26. :wink:
 
#14
Exactamundo. If deliveries took place between 1984 and 1992, how could they have been banned in 1983 by treaty?

It seems they are presently in storage, and the Nips were concerned about them being permanently retired. The USN wanted to do this, because at present they have to have a few boats fitted to fire them and blokes trained on them, which I imagine is a costly business with nuclear weapons.
I DID edit the typo.

The missiles are no longer nuclear, all the wearheads were removed. some were converted to conventional weapons.

All utterly academic as nuclear tipped Tomahawks are specifically banned from Europe under the INF treat so they Yanks will NOT be rebuilding some new TLAM-N for our benefit… and being as how we don't have the ability to develop a small nuclear warhead to fit in a Storm Shadow, (The much vaunted 'British' warheads in Trident are an American design), it's Trident or nothing.
 
#15
Oxygen Thief status or not, this particular piece of garbage is worth a bite... (see bold and underline)



Even your own quotes show your stupidity... :)

So, where does it say they no longer exist and cannot be returned to active service?

Remember your words...


Pleased that you use such an authoritive source.

I suggest you read this ather more authoritive source from May last year that indicates they will remain in existence until at least 2013:


Page 26. :wink:




Japan ♥ TLAM/N
BY JEFFREY | 8 MAY 2009 | 4 COMMENTS
The Strategic Posture Commission Report contains at least one outright howler — the claim that the deployment of nuclear-armed cruise missiles is essential to extended deterrence in Asia:

In Asia, extended deterrence relies heavily on the deployment of nuclear cruise missiles on some Los Angeles class attack submarines—the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile/Nuclear (TLAM/N). This capability will be retired in 2013 unless steps are taken to maintain it. U.S. allies in Asia are not integrated in the same way into nuclear planning and have not been asked to make commitments to delivery systems. In our work as a Commission it has become clear to us that some U.S. allies in Asia would be very concerned by TLAM/N retirement.

Let’s be very, very clear that “as a result of the President’s 1991 Nuclear Initiatives, all TLAM/N nuclear weapons have been removed from U.S. Navy vessels.”

So, if extended deterrence to Japan relied heavily on the deployment of nuclear cruise missiles on some Los Angeles-class attack submarines, we would be hosed.

Look, I really don’t care if we store some TLAM/Ns at SWFPAC to make the Japanese feel better. Hell, I’d even let DOD commission some bizarre TLAM/N anime, like Rocket Girls (below), if I thought it would ease anxiety in Tokyo. Whatever floats your boat; just leave me out of it.

But let’s not pretend these useless relics of the Cold War sitting in a climate-controlled warehouse are all that stand between us and nuclear-armed Japan. Because they aren’t.

Jeffrey Lewis • Japan
 
#16
Semper_Flexibilis said:
Japan ♥ TLAM/N
BY JEFFREY | 8 MAY 2009 | 4 COMMENTS
The Strategic Posture Commission Report contains at least one outright howler — the claim that the deployment of nuclear-armed cruise missiles is essential to extended deterrence in Asia:

In Asia, extended deterrence relies heavily on the deployment of nuclear cruise missiles on some Los Angeles class attack submarines—the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile/Nuclear (TLAM/N). This capability will be retired in 2013 unless steps are taken to maintain it. U.S. allies in Asia are not integrated in the same way into nuclear planning and have not been asked to make commitments to delivery systems. In our work as a Commission it has become clear to us that some U.S. allies in Asia would be very concerned by TLAM/N retirement.

Let’s be very, very clear that “as a result of the President’s 1991 Nuclear Initiatives, all TLAM/N nuclear weapons have been removed from U.S. Navy vessels.”

So, if extended deterrence to Japan relied heavily on the deployment of nuclear cruise missiles on some Los Angeles-class attack submarines, we would be hosed.

Look, I really don’t care if we store some TLAM/Ns at SWFPAC to make the Japanese feel better. Hell, I’d even let DOD commission some bizarre TLAM/N anime, like Rocket Girls (below), if I thought it would ease anxiety in Tokyo. Whatever floats your boat; just leave me out of it.

But let’s not pretend these useless relics of the Cold War sitting in a climate-controlled warehouse are all that stand between us and nuclear-armed Japan. Because they aren’t.

Jeffrey Lewis • Japan
EXACTLY!

They still exist contrary to your post and belief...



Edited to add:
Once again Semper_Flexibilis makes a shocking factual howler that he thinks people will believe if he says it forcefully, and then backs up his assertion with a quote which says the complete opposite.

Semper_Flexibilis you are a Sven/Whet sock puppet and I claim my £5.
 
#17
The TLAMs covered by the INF Treaty were the BGM-109G GLCMs - the ones which prompted a number of er... lovely, fragrant and often Sapphically-inclined ladies to embark upon a campaign of perimeter fence reconstruction activities at a number of locations in the 'Herm Cynties' in the early and mid-1980s.

The source SF quotes (Jeffrey - presumably the chap didn't write that in between keeping Zippy, Bungle and George out of mischief) is slightly out, in that it was Clinton in 94 who reduced yet further the USN's nuclear capable ships; the last estimate I've seen (public domain, naturally) is that there are about 20 USN SSNs capable of using TLAM-N.

The weapons themselves are kept in storage bunkers, in the same way that the RAF's V-force weapons were largely kept at RAF Faldingworth and moved at times of tension (as in 1962).

In theory, we could have TLAM-N, but this isn't that credible a platform given the relative ease of interception.

Moving into the realms of the possible - the only potentially viable alternative to Trident would be a nuclear warhead upon a high-speed missile which stands a reasonable chance of penetrating enemy AD from reasonable stand-off distance. As things stand, there's not really a credible missile that meets the bill yet, combining speed and range; a further upgrade of the MBDA ASMP-A to increase range might fit the bill, as might an operational variant of the Lockheed RATTLRS project (in which the US arm of RR is making the engine).

That, though, is theoretical, and CASD with Trident remains the most credible form of detterance as far as UK nuclear posture is concerned. If we ever get to the stage of a Mach 5, 5,000 mile range air-launched weapon, then we might be able to consider a different approach - but again, the question of whether the nuclear posture needs to remain as robust as it is with CASD would have to factor in, and that isn't going to be resolved here on arrse any time in the next few decades...
 
#19
To qoute myself - from Do we need an Independant Nuclear Deterrant? - Page 9 - PPRuNe Forums

1. Some of the posters here seem to think that deterrence does not work - but fail to say why. BHR outlines possible scenarios for nuclear weapon use - yet fails to mention the possibility that an attack was prevented by deterrence. The evidence suggests that it does work - consider Saddam's Hussein's decision not to use chemical or biological weapons in 1991. As I mentioned before there was a programme on BBC1 in 1996 in which one of his Generals (who had defected) said as much.

2. If you think nuclear deterrence does not work, then presumably you dismiss non nuclear deterrence Again the evidence suggests that it does work - in 2003 Saddam's air force covered itself in sand and not glory, no doubt thinking of all the USAF, USN, RAF, and RAAF fighters that they would face.

3. Where exactly does the figure of £100 billion that you hear come from?

4. What are the geopolitical implications of not proceeding, or proceeding with a less capable/survivable system? In the Cold War, possession of nuclear weapons by the UK and France helped dissuade the USA and USSR from fighting World War Three in Europe. They also were to dissuade the (West) Germans from developing their own nuclear capability, which would have be seen as provocative by Moscow?

5. Despite what some parts of the media tell you, nuclear weapons are hard to develop or build. It is very unlikely that terrorists or other non state groups could do this without the help of a nation state, not only would this generate intelligence warnings, but it would provide an opportunity for the nation involved to be stopped. In any case, analysis of any explosion and the fallout should give clues as to the makeup of the weapon and the source of the fissile materiel.

6. What are the political and technological spin-offs from possession of a)a nuclear deterrent, b)a SLBM system, and c)a US sourced missile system?
Some of the technologies and other areas of expertise at AWE, for example, have been applied to other scientific problems and helps our national technological base. Use of a US missile involves scientific exchanges, and access to certain technical facilities. Intelligence sharing is another benefit.

Some of the equipment developed for the V boats was later fitted to other submarine classes, and in some cases, surface ships. The Devonshire Dock Hall at Barrow in Furness was built to build the V boats, but is now being used to build the Astute SSNs. I believe it was also used to build the LPDs Albion and Bulwark. The facilities built to support the V boats at Devonport and Faslane are used to support all UK submarines. Likewise things such as submarine communications facilities.

7. To the best of my knowledge, the four V boats are the only units dedicated EXCLUSIVELY to the deterrent role. However, having SSBNs may help dissuade politicians (current or future) from cutting assets that may support them at times, such as frigates, SSNs, Nimrods or others. None of these are dedicated to supporting the deterrent - yet there is danger that losing or reducing the deterrent will cause them to be cut.
 

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