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.