Nuclear deterrent

Big nukes or little nukes

  • Expensive big nukes and no money for anything else

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Little nukes and more spent on conventional forces

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
Do we need a new Trident system, at £12bn or so, or could we ditch the ballistic missile in favour of far cheaper nuclear-tipped cruise missiles - whether launched by submarine or aircraft?

If we can't afford to run the Armed Forces as presently constituted, surely we can't afford a nuclear arsenal that we are not likely to use in any case.
So long as the warheads are big enough, so that if it's ever need (God forbid!), we could at least threaten to launch them at the heart of a city and the threat would be taken seriously.

There's no reason I can think of why our nuclear weapons need to be mounted on ICBMs. We're no longer in a Mutually Assured Destruction scenario; though perhaps we should consider what happens if we end up in one again? Might scrapping all our ICBMs put us at risk?

SLBM is still the closest thing to absotively, posolutely saying "from hell's heart I stab at thee" to any potential agressor.

It cannot effectively be negated by any current weapon system or other technology. So... Until it becomes vulnerable or something better comes along it's the way to go.

(Which is the way you want the other guy to think)

The flipside of the coin is that they're so potentially dangerous that we're very, very unlikely to ever be put in a position where we would seriously contemplate their use. This is generally a good thing.

I propse that we do away with the acronymn and simply call it "mad", it is.
It works.
What on earth does UK need a nuclear wepons system for ?
The days of Empire are long gone. Britian no longer has large armed forces or the power to project them around the world.
Get rid of these very exspensive weapons and give up the Seat on the Security Council, Germany or Japan would fill that role quite happily.
Then our navy could protect the fishing fleet and the troops could play Dads Army while the Crabs return to the occifers flying club of old.

We need to maintain the independent nuclear deterrent cos we just don't know what's going to happen 20 years down the line.
We are simply playing at having an independent nuclear weapons capability. Can anyone contemplate a situation in which we would (or would be allowed to) use nuclear weapons without a green light from the US or, indeed, where we would face a threat from nuclear weapons, without US intervention? We should get rid of our nuclear weapons and concentrate on getting our conventional forces up to scratch.
I do know what you are saying.
But I do wonder.
Just what/where is UK going ?
Conventional forces are slashed to bare bones, There was never enough infantry in my day, there can't be enough fighting troops in this day and age yet Blur seems to find commitments world wide.
And Africa, what is all this talk about WE must do something about Africa.
We tried, we introduce national states, Judges and jurys, a fair civil service, education systems, roads and railways, Airports.
WE us the Brits made slavery illigal in days gone by when Slavery was a way of accepted life. It had been since the first 'Democracy' Greece.
What price do you pay for the above?
Jonwilly, I seriously hope you're joking. Having a nuclear is about saying don't try to fcuk us over, because we can play too.

I think Biscuits Brown has my opinion in a nutshell. The UK and territories are just too small to make any fixed nuclear deterrent effective. Like it or not, we need to keep our nuclear deterrent up to date. We moan that for years governments have underspent on land forces; in 10 years time I can imagine a scenario where we are moaning about the poor state of the nuclear deterrent. Hell, it's already inadequate.
i think we do need to maintain some sort of a nuclear dertant

i would think that a number of small "tactial" wepons would be far more cost effective and if used (god forbid) then they would be able to be used in a more "surgigal"(sp) way tring to keep unnassery damage to a limit (as far as possibl with a nike)
Why don't we threaten a few countries and get our empire back? 1st up Zimbabwe(sp) if they don't give in drop a second sun on 'em.

21st century version of gunboat diplomacy.

Might work out cheaper and quicker than land invasion

Once we've used the big nukes we can save money and invest in smaller ones :D
Sadly, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and - more importantly - the means to deliver them are growing apace. Therefore, I think we do need an independant nuclear capability (and whether Trident is truely independant is open for debate given the missile's and submarine's reliance on US servicing and parts).

Assuming we accept that we need such a capability, SLBMs are the only true capability to guarantee delivery of said bucket of sunshine. They can be launched from thousands of miles away and credible ABM technology is too expensive for all but a very few nations. However, the UK cannot afford to purchase a like for like replacement for Trident and retain it's current conventional capabilities. One only has to see what the purchase of Polaris and Trident did to the RN for proof.

Cruise missiles such as RN TLAM or RAF Storm Shadow are then the next best option. However, these are limited in range and therefore require relatively close approach to hostile territory. They are also relatively easy to detect and engage in comparison to ballistic missiles.

Sadly then, UK PLC is in a no win situation. I fail to see how we can afford SLBMs. Therefore, despite their drawbacks, perhaps an advanced sub or air launched cruise missile with hypersonic dash capability is the best compromise. Even this would be an extremely expensive programme and perhaps an ideal target for Anglo US or French collaboration (although I'd be VERY surprised if the latter would wish to collaborate on nuclear delivery systems). Such a system should be able to deal with the majority of hostile defences and we should then hope that larger threats such as China are dealt with by the US nuclear and ABM umbrella.

AndyPipkin said:
Michael Portillo was arguing that the UK should drop its nukes in one of the weekend papers - sorry, can't remember which.
That's a tough question. Which weekend paper should the UK nuke? Anything from Mirror Group would be a start. Then the Mail on Sunday. Even though dailies don't seem to be a legitimate target, I wonder if someone could sneak a nuclear bomb into the Sun? Call it 'testing their security'.
AndyPipkin said:
Michael Portillo was arguing that the UK should drop its nukes in one of the weekend papers - sorry, can't remember which.
Sunday Telegraph. I'd find the article, but their website just crashed my browser. :twisted:

Can't find anything by Portillo in the current online Sunday Torygraph...

edit"'s in the Sunday Times. Searching for "nuclear" turned it up pretty quickly.

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