Trident

#1
If the leaks prove correct,it allows for a hole in the defence Budget-at least for the next 5 years-to be partially filled.There may well be additional maintenance meanwhile,on the existing sub fleet,to extend life,as well as warheads?

Come 2015,we will have had time to look at alternatives,new built subs etc.It may be that buying US built subs,complete with reactors and other base kit,may prove a good alternative.UK kit could then be fitted.This happened,after all,during the Apache heli programme.This option may well be cheaper than the UK going it alone,but would have consequences for our sub building capacity,in the future.After all we buy a good deal of US kit.can we afford to go it alone,in the long term?
 
#2
You have to bear in mind that buying US kit will probably come with a lot of unwanted conditions, and, as you say, we will loose expertise.

I am of the opinion that our nuclear deterrant should be just that- our nuclear deterrant. The less we are tied to the US the better. 'Special relationships' a joke.
 
#3
Special relationship (if any) aside, we need to be independent and not tied to US politics, IMNSHO.
 
#4
If the leaks prove correct,it allows for a hole in the defence Budget-at least for the next 5 years-to be partially filled.There may well be additional maintenance meanwhile,on the existing sub fleet,to extend life,as well as warheads?
The warheads are in a continuous maintenance programme and, IIRC, one sub of four at a time is in extended maintenance. They don't need the same full refits as the Polaris boats did because they were designed not to need reactor core changes.

Come 2015,we will have had time to look at alternatives,new built subs etc.It may be that buying US built subs,complete with reactors and other base kit,may prove a good alternative.UK kit could then be fitted.This happened,after all,during the Apache heli programme.This option may well be cheaper than the UK going it alone,but would have consequences for our sub building capacity,in the future.After all we buy a good deal of US kit.can we afford to go it alone,in the long term?
Well, we have a sub building programme and both of the last two times we've dropped the US missile into the middle (admittedly the V-boats are a comprehensive design not an extended T-boat unlike the R-boats which were Valiants with added bangy-bits) and fitted our warheads. I suspect that's what will happen again ...

What's the last large guided weapon we produced independently? Seaslug as opposed to Blue Streak? Both in the 1960s IIRC.

I don't think we ever managed to deploy a UK-designed rocket with a bucket of instant sunshine on the end?
 
#5
Perhaps we could buy from France? Then again, we would have to wait while they designed a downgraded export version.

Or perhaps we should be thinking out of the box here. If we can't weaponise BT's communications satellites because of international agreements, then we should be looking at future aircraft, anti gravity platforms, and robots programmed for revenge in case we all get wiped out.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
The County Class Seaslug GMDs had a 'Special Weapons' store but it was used for the Ship's Company beer storage (Jack being both thirsty and crafty and this compartment being reasonably secure).

Sea Dart, SeaCat and SeaWolf were/are all home brew.
 
#7
It's not as if we really have a choice. If the septics decide in the morning that they're going to upgrade/replace D5 we either follow suit or we've about 18 months/2 years until we no longer have a functioning deterrent force.

Wonder what the timescale on working up our own launch vehicles would be?
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
It's not just about keping level on the missile. Submarines don't last forever (quite apart from obsolecence in a military sense) and a political decision to string out the V boats could leave us with a gap some years down the line. As it is it is a racing certainty that whatever timescale is planned for the replacement boats, one way and another their delivery will be years late anyway. One day your children will be able to read what fun it was keeping the Rs going.
 
#10
Allowing that we like the idea of an independent nuclear deterrent, just because we want a big stick not MAD.

I remain to be convinced that we need MIRV/ICBMs and submarine launch platforms on continuous patrol.

It is not the eye watering expense of the Trident fleet and their successors with which I have reservations.

I do not accept the arguments which require us to maintain such a sophisticated system.

The threat may be even more tangible today, but it is not of a massive launch against multiple British strategic targets.

A more realistic strike or response capability is likely to be more credible and therefore a more effective deterrent.

Something along the lines of nuclear armed cruise missiles with the variety of launch platforms currently available.

Oh, and of course it would be more affordable. So we can maintain the teeth arms which guarantee our national interest.

B
 
#11
I don't believe anything other than an SLBM system is a credible deterrent.

It's effectively unstoppable & effectively unusable.

The perfect nuclear weapon.
 
#12
Oh, and of course it would be more affordable. So we can maintain the teeth arms which guarantee our national interest.
US has decommisioned all their Sub launched Tomahawks, so we would be forced to build our own.

You then move onto things like you cant stop a 13,000 MPH Trident missile easily, you can stop a 600MPH cruise missile if you are in the right place.

They are not going to be cheap, and they are of debatable effectiveness!
 
P

pp0470

Guest
#13
As any nuclear strike against us will be delivered in a suitcase, who are we going to point trident at... ? Baggage handlers?
 
#16
You have to bear in mind that buying US kit will probably come with a lot of unwanted conditions, and, as you say, we will loose expertise.

I am of the opinion that our nuclear deterrant should be just that- our nuclear deterrant. The less we are tied to the US the better. 'Special relationships' a joke.
You are funny.

The only way the UK got proper H-bombs in the first place was by kidding the Yanks that we had developed our own with Violet Club. We hadn't, but they fell for it. Yellow Sun Mk 2, which equipped the Victors and Vulcans, was an American bomb (the Mk 28) mildly re-jigged to British engineering standards -- and we used the same warhead in Blue Steel. The Valiant force used borrowed American bombs anyway, under Project Emily. Also, in the early 60s, we had Thors in the UK, under dual-key arrangements with the Yanks.

The replacement for the V-force was Polaris. Guess where we got that? And we only got it so cheap because Mac was really miffed about the cancellation of Skybolt.

The replacement for Polaris was Trident. Guess where we got that?

Guess where we're going to get our next bunch of nukes from, if we're mug enough to buy them?

"Independent", my arse.

All the best,

John.
 
#17
The delay will not close any hole in defence spending at all, main gate was expected in 2014, and may be put off until 2015, this is pure political BS so as not to allow disafected LibDems an excuse to get shirty even though they signed up to trident renewalin the coalition agreement.

Oh, and please don't start talking about alternatives, it's SLBMs or nothing TACTOM N (W80) was withdrawn by the Yanks and it would cost a great deal of money to build our own nuclear cruise missile not to mention we'd have to warn half the world every single time we wanted to fire a conventional tomahawk.
 
#18
John_D said:
....
"Independent", my arse.

All the best,

John.
You make some valid points. You overlook, however, that there has been no sharing of information on submarine nuclear power plants since the 60s, to the point that US citizens are not allowed in the machinery spaces on our boats, and vice versa.
 
#19
I love the way that people think we can save money by going from a supported system which works (Trident D5) to a brand new system whch offers less effect, and for which we would be the only user. How exactly is developing a brand new warhead, missile delivery system (it is likely that we wouldnt be able to modify TLAM under terms of the sale agreement between UK/US) and all the various sundry bits that go with that going to save money?

Ultimately its a really simple choice - we either do CASD with Trident, which means we get an affordable deterrent (relatively speaking) which is permanently available as a sign that any making mischief with us will face consequences, or we get out of this business all together. There is no alternative option - if you go back to about 2006, the MOD published a paper showing why Trident was cheapest and all of its findings remain current.
 
#20
When you look at the advertised costs of the Trident replacement, the worrying thing is not that it is too expensive but rather that it is too cheap.

What nasty 3rd world or oil rich country, seeing that these things are available for a mere 20bn, would baulk at that cost?

They are so cheap that soon, everyone will want one.
 

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