MoD to pay £20bn cost of Trident from own resources.

#3
Whilst I'll agree that the countries finances are in shit order, moving the cost of the Trident replacement to the MoD budget, to me is blatant political evasion by the government, regarding the decision on the future of the countries nuclear deterrent. By dropping this in the MoDs' lap the government is no longer directly responsible for the inevitable scrapping of Trident, due to lack of funding, and it will now be passed off as a Military decision.
 
S

Snoreador

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#4
I think this nicely sums up Osborne's view of things:

""All budgets have pressure. I don't think there's anything particularly unique about the Ministry of Defence.".

I don't think it needs any further comment from me...
 
#5
This was always going to happen.

Despite the undoubted supremacy of maintaining an SSBN based strategic deterrent, I question the value added. By all means maintain our nuclear weapons, but not on Ballistic submarines. This is primarily about maintaining our seat on the P5 and will significantly undermine the conventional capability of the UK.

The real crunch will come if Scotland gains independance from the UK in the next 30 years or so. This may well coincide with our having just signed the last cheque of our £20B SSBN project, just to have the one and only base capable of supporting it withdrawn from use.

Regards,
MM
 
#6
This was always going to happen.

Despite the undoubted supremacy of maintaining an SSBN based strategic deterrent, I question the value added. By all means maintain our nuclear weapons, but not on Ballistic submarines. This is primarily about maintaining our seat on the P5 and will significantly undermine the conventional capability of the UK.

The real crunch will come if Scotland gains independance from the UK in the next 30 years or so. This may well coincide with our having just signed the last cheque of our £20B SSBN project, just to have the one and only base capable of supporting it withdrawn from use.

Regards,
MM
Scottish independence isn't really an issue, the voting patterns are clear and no matter how much Salmond bleats about it there simply isn't a mandate from the Scottish electorate for independence

As for Trident being part of the defence budget, stupid idea. Trident is a political tool and as such should be treat as something completely seperate that just happens to be run by the RN on the nations behalf.
 
#7
I think that we need to be careful here. We know that the Chancellor has made a comment about the Defence budget - we do not know what will happen to the funding line allocated to the SSBN replacement project. At present there is the Equipment Plan (X Billion) and a seperate chunk of money which is ringfenced for Defence, but which is used by the Treasury to pay for Trident replacement costs. This money has been budgeted out for the next 20-30 years as part of the planning process.

There appear to be a number of options as to what is going on here - firstly, the Chancellor could mean that he wants to delete the funding line for Trident, and stick it into the Equipment Programme - doing so would nuke (no pun intended) the EP, and cause immense damage to the forces as a whole. This is quite literally the nuclear option, and the one which if followed through, would result in Liam Fox and possibly service chiefs resigning.

The second option is that the Treasury and the Chancellor view the line of money out there as 'Defence Budget money' and want to bring this into the Equipment Programme as part of the CSR settlement (making it one big pot of money) and then forcing the overall total down - e.g. EP totals roughly 60Bn over next 10 years, plus (roughly 10 Bn) trident costs - HMT wants to merge the two lines, but maybe take the total to 65Bn for efficiency savings.

Option three - Chancellor sees money as a MOD line, doesnt want to bring it into the core EP, but does want to see efficiencies to it - this ties into the wider review of Trident costs, which could be used to reduce the budget, or it could be as a continued sop to the Liberal Democrats (don't forget coalition politics here). The end result is that the line remains outside the core EP, but continues to be subject to efficiency savings over time.

Ultimately Option 1 is the worst case scenario and one that I think would be most unlikely. The PM needs Fox onboard, and risks a major backbench revolt from the Centre /Right of the party if it is perceived that the 'wet lefts' of Osbornes flank are screwing the armed forces to pay for Trident. Cameron cannot afford to lose Fox at the moment. I suspect both sides are escalating their war of words, but ultimately a fairly messy compromise will be agreed which will result in MOD footing some of the bill, and HMT continuing to tighten the screws on us.
 
#8
I'm all for SSBN's, Trident and their future replacement. But why do we have to develop our own boat? I assume the yanks are going to be buying an 'Ohio' replacement and that we'll be using the same missle. Can't we buy a couple of boats too?
 
#9
I'm all for SSBN's, Trident and their future replacement. But why do we have to develop our own boat? I assume the yanks are going to be buying an 'Ohio' replacement and that we'll be using the same missle. Can't we buy a couple of boats too?
Ours are better.
Not entirely convinced the US would sell us theirs either. In addition to that the projected lifespan is an awful long time and I susect we might not be quite as tied to the Americans apron strings by delivery time.
 
#10
Is it the missiles or boats that need to be replaced??

If it is just the boats why not just build me boats and remove the systems from the Vanguard class (save a fortune!)??
 
#11
Oh dear!

We have Mr. Cameron dashing about the globe like the vacuous Blair before him, despite the fact that the country has a most able Foreign Secretary.

Now we have Mr. Osborne mimicking the recalcitrant oaf Brown and assuming the role of de facto prime minister.

I detect the limp wrist of 'Sven/Whet's' former friends in all this.

The decision on this matter MUST be made by the prime minister with TOTAL Cabinet support and not by a over-promoted bean counter and his nerds in the Treasury.

PS: Please do not resign Dr. Fox, stay in pors and cause mayhem until you are sacked.

Ditto for General Richards as CDS, and for CNS and CGS. I predict the CAS will stay in post and follow the 'Stirrup - yes minister, certainly minister, of course you are right minister' line.
 
#12
Jagman - you say ours are better - but do they only need to be as good as the Americans' boats or are they a bit tonk? I only ask through pure ignorance and after reading the Nimrod thread yesterday where someone said they are a world beater. This is fine but do we have too much capability - could we pay a little less and still have the best?
 
#15
Jagman - you say ours are better - but do they only need to be as good as the Americans' boats or are they a bit tonk? I only ask through pure ignorance and after reading the Nimrod thread yesterday where someone said they are a world beater. This is fine but do we have too much capability - could we pay a little less and still have the best?
The Americans have 18 Ohio's (4 of them carrying cruise rather than ballistic missiles) so its easier for them to keep an appropriate quantity at sea than it is for the RN with 4 boats. With only one at sea at a time the UK has all its eggs in one basket so it has to be pretty good, otherwise there isn't much point.
I'm no expert either but I believe there are cheaper options (like less missiles and smaller submarines). Personally I think the cost for Trident isn't that expensive over its lifespan.
As I understand it, the boats are ours, the warheads are our own but the Trident missiles themselves are leased from the USA.
I also understand that there is the option of life extending the Vanguards but it isn't an ideal option, everytime they are re-fitted there is a reduction in capability (each tum the hull is cut open diving depth is reduced) and reality is that the Vanguards have a limited lifespan.
Perhaps there is the option of building a new Vanguard class and replacing the oldest in service with like for like to enable a new class of boats tobe put back another 5 years or so? We'd need one of the resident experts to tell us if that is a viable option.

On reflection I am wondering if the Treasury is simply trying to push the decision over what constitutes the nuclear deterrent onto the MoD, a bit of moral cowardice involved if that is the case. I suspect that once Cameron is back in Downing Street from his travels we willsee a bit more clarity on this one. Isquared might well be right and Osbourne is trying it on a little while the boss is out of town?
 
#16
"Perhaps there is the option of building a new Vanguard class and replacing the oldest in service with like for like to enable a new class of boats tobe put back another 5 years or so? We'd need one of the resident experts to tell us if that is a viable option."

Unlikely in the extreme - the basic V boat design is nearly 30 years old now, and would take 6 - 8 years to build another. It relies on a reactor no longer in production as well as a lot of other kit not easily sourced now. Yes you could theoretically do it, but the cost would be astronomical.

The SSBN(F) seems to be settling on a smaller design with 12 missile tubes anyway, so its not going to be as large as Vanguard. It will incorporate things like the new generation reactor and sonar etc.

My understanding is that the problem of the boats approaching OSD is the ability to maintain a continual deterrent - if you can't do this then the deterrent mission will have failed. The point of being in the SSBN business is to keep one at sea permanently, regardless of what else is going on - the moment you lose this, then you lose the invulnerability that a sea based deterrent provides.

Running SSBNs is seriously expensive - its not just the boats, its the missiles, the C3 required to keep them under control, the supporting assets (escorts, MPA, helos, MCMVs, hydrography etc). Buying the Sub is just one part of the puzzle to keep the deterrent going.
 
#17
"Perhaps there is the option of building a new Vanguard class and replacing the oldest in service with like for like to enable a new class of boats tobe put back another 5 years or so? We'd need one of the resident experts to tell us if that is a viable option."

Unlikely in the extreme - the basic V boat design is nearly 30 years old now, and would take 6 - 8 years to build another. It relies on a reactor no longer in production as well as a lot of other kit not easily sourced now. Yes you could theoretically do it, but the cost would be astronomical.

The SSBN(F) seems to be settling on a smaller design with 12 missile tubes anyway, so its not going to be as large as Vanguard. It will incorporate things like the new generation reactor and sonar etc.

My understanding is that the problem of the boats approaching OSD is the ability to maintain a continual deterrent - if you can't do this then the deterrent mission will have failed. The point of being in the SSBN business is to keep one at sea permanently, regardless of what else is going on - the moment you lose this, then you lose the invulnerability that a sea based deterrent provides.

Running SSBNs is seriously expensive - its not just the boats, its the missiles, the C3 required to keep them under control, the supporting assets (escorts, MPA, helos, MCMVs, hydrography etc). Buying the Sub is just one part of the puzzle to keep the deterrent going.
Cheers Jim30, as I say, I'm not an expert!
Are we looking at something akin to a stretched Astute or a whole new class?
 
#18
More to the point, the US are replacing the D5, and it's replacement won't fit into a V Boat; nor will it go into an A Boat which is "cut and shut" to accept a plug.

If Gideon is being clever, then I can see CASD going, and with it probably SoS Defence. An interesting Political question for "Dave"....
 
#19
Jag - I believe its partly Astute, partly new (but I could be wrong). The other wider factor is that if we scrap SSBN(F), then we lose the drumbeat ability to build SSNs in this country - no new SSNs will come on line until after SSBN(F) is in service. That means we'd have lost all the skills necessary to build new SSNs to replace Astutes in about 15 years time - not a good move!
 
#20
Jag - I believe its partly Astute, partly new (but I could be wrong). The other wider factor is that if we scrap SSBN(F), then we lose the drumbeat ability to build SSNs in this country - no new SSNs will come on line until after SSBN(F) is in service. That means we'd have lost all the skills necessary to build new SSNs to replace Astutes in about 15 years time - not a good move!
Jim, you forgot to use the word 'again'. Not the first time we would have lost our indigenous nuclear submarine construction capability.