UK and France in talks on Trident maintenance

#1
UK and France in talks on Trident maintenance

By James Blitz in London and Ben Hall in Paris

Published: October 7 2010 22:30 | Last updated: October 7 2010 22:30

An agreement being negotiated by the UK and France would see British nuclear warheads serviced by French scientists and break with half a century in which neither country has collaborated on its independent deterrent.

Ahead of a summit in three weeks, the governments are close to agreeing that Britain would use a French laboratory to help maintain and service its 160 nuclear warheads, officials in both countries say.

A deal to share the secrets of their nuclear programmes would boost powerfully defence collaboration between the countries and save money at a time when their defence budgets are under stress.

Britain and France run completely different deterrent systems with all details kept secret. The scheme would give Britain access for the first time to France’s Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique, which maintains about 300 warheads in the French force de frappe.

In effect, the CEA would service UK nuclear warheads, raising concerns among politicians in both countries about whether their governments were maintaining an independent deterrent.

FT.com / UK / Politics & policy - UK and France in talks on Trident maintenance
 
#3
Ze Americaines will spit ze dummies out at this one.

Ze Eenglish buckets de sunshine instante are just anglicized copies of ze Americaine W76 design and zey will say NON!
 
#4
Of all the things we were to share with any other country our nuclear deterrent should not be it, I might have the wrong end of the stick here but was is the point in being one of the trusted nuclear powers if we do not have 100% control over said power 100% of the time, I know it's servicing but presumably awe would have to actually give the warheads over for that to be achieved, also meaning the readiness of out nuclear deterrent is in the hands of the French? I'd rather share an aircraft carrier.
 
#6
Article 1 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty seems fairly specific:

Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly or indirectly; and ...
I can't see any exclusions or limitations such as "except if it's just to give them a quick polish and an MOT".
 
#7
Ze Americaines will spit ze dummies out at this one.

Ze Eenglish buckets de sunshine instante are just anglicized copies of ze Americaine W76 design and zey will say NON!
They have apparently already talked to the yanks.
 
#8
To look at it from another perspective, if you were working on a foreign nuke, how commited would you be do doing a perfect job? Even if you always do your best as a matter of pride, if your boss says you have to be finished in one day and you still have 3 days' work left to do, you will have to cut corners. If there is a bigger picture involving a British-French superstate then it is a sensible move, but the workers should be told now, otherwise neither country can depend on its deterrent. The innards will be held together with chewing gum and bungee clips.


What would you call a consolidated British-French state? Britance? Frantaine?
 
#9
Of all the things we were to share with any other country our nuclear deterrent should not be it, I might have the wrong end of the stick here but was is the point in being one of the trusted nuclear powers if we do not have 100% control over said power 100% of the time, I know it's servicing but presumably awe would have to actually give the warheads over for that to be achieved, also meaning the readiness of out nuclear deterrent is in the hands of the French? I'd rather share an aircraft carrier.
I think the main idea is to use the French simulation center they built, the UK wouldn't need one then...It's very expensive the Frogs spent over 6 Billion Euros on it last year alone.
 
#10
In recent weeks, however, there have been signs that both sides are finally prepared to talk nuclear to each other. British officials were recently invited for the first time to visit the French deterrent fleet while in port at Brest. A return visit was then paid by French officials to the Vanguard fleet at Faslane in Scotland.
“We were finally able to see for ourselves what the other side has,” says an official involved in one of the visits. “It was a moving moment.”

Finding a point of collaboration on the deterrent is not easy, however. The idea of performing joint work on Britain’s new submarine platform or on missile systems has never been seriously considered. There has been speculation that both sides could co-ordinate submarine patrols in the Atlantic, allowing them to reduce fleet sizes, but it has never been seen as a realistic option.
An agreement to work on joint maintenance of nuclear warheads – which in both France and the UK are constructed domestically – might have potential, however.
Since 1996, France, like the UK, has been a signatory to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In the years since then, the operation and readiness of weapons in the French deterrent force have therefore been guaranteed by means of computer simulations of nuclear explosions, rather than by conducting the real thing.
France has invested heavily in its research facilities, pouring €6.6bn (£5.8bn) into its simulation programme in 2009 alone. It recently installed Europe’s most powerful supercomputer to analyse the results.
By contrast, defence experts say Britain has fallen behind in its nuclear research capacity. As a result, it makes sense for the UK to participate in the French simulation programme, rather than build a large new facility at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston.
Another FT story on it.
 
#11
To look at it from another perspective, if you were working on a foreign nuke, how commited would you be do doing a perfect job? Even if you always do your best as a matter of pride, if your boss says you have to be finished in one day and you still have 3 days' work left to do, you will have to cut corners. If there is a bigger picture involving a British-French superstate then it is a sensible move, but the workers should be told now, otherwise neither country can depend on its deterrent. The innards will be held together with chewing gum and bungee clips.


What would you call a consolidated British-French state? Britance? Frantaine?
There was an idea of a Franco-British union back in the 50's wasn't there?
It was raised pretty high up.
 
#13
Article 1 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty seems fairly specific:



I can't see any exclusions or limitations such as "except if it's just to give them a quick polish and an MOT".
I think it depends on the meaning of "transfer" (which convienently isn't defined in the act). To expand your analogy when I send my car in for service/mot I don't "transfer" ownership of the car, that only happens if I fill in the V5.
So I suspect we can get away with it because Franch is a nuclear-weapon state signatory of the treaty, otherwise the subsequent paras would prevent it
 
#14
They have apparently already talked to the yanks.

Then it would make sense to drop Trident and switch to the Phroggie M51, cheaper, somewhat smaller but everything we need in an instant sunshine delivery system.
 

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top