Trident – An Election Problem

For the past several years there has been an on and off debate about the future of the United Kingdom’s nuclear deterrent, commonly referred to as Trident. It is the subject of discussion as the submarines that carry the Trident missiles are due for replacement Because of the formidable cost of designing and building new submarines and various onshore facilities it is seen by many politicians as low hanging fruit, ripe for the plucking and redistributing to their favourite cause.

Noticeably, none of the opponents see the savings from cancelling the programme in terms of paying down the eye watering national debt that will be causing misery for all our children and grandchildren in the future, but that’s another story.

It is a subject we have discussed at length and I have written about many times.

Plagued by coalition politics and a mile wide yellow streak, the Conservative party dragged its feet in the last Parliament and so made 100% sure it would be a problem for the next but hey are committed to a 4 boat Successor programme. The Liberal Democrats at heart want to disarm so we can all get round a campfire and sing Kumbaya but they haven’t got the political sack to just come out and say so and thus, keep pushing at the ‘lower cost’ door, despite their own Alternatives Study concluding it was nonsense. The Labour Party also have a significant body of MP’s and candidates that want to get rid, especially in the new cohort this time around but officially, want a replacement. At least the Scottish National Party (SNP) have the balls to come out say they would cancel it, lock stock and barrel.

No sane person wants to have nuclear weapons, they are an abomination, but want is not the issue.

Need is.

So what are the issues?

Who Are We Kidding

We are not a leading world nation, a member of the G8, UN Security Council and NATO.

Oh, hang on, yes we are.

This means we have obligations, expectations and duties.

It also means we are a target and if we actually want to ensure that Blighty never again is invaded, attacked or blackmailed by another nuclear power then the ultimate means of doing so is with the worlds ultimate weapon, nuclear weapons.

We can discuss the means of delivery but to me at least, giving away such a significant defence advantage seems rather foolish and naive given the length of time they will be in service and the uncertain times we live in.

We Can Downgrade the Posture

We are doing that to some extent anyway, Successor will carry fewer Trident missiles and each will carry fewer warheads from a smaller pool of warheads. The problem with going to non permanently deployed deterrent cuts to the heart of deterrence theory, that deterrent has to be credible.

It has to be on a hair trigger, always lurking, always unseen, always available.

Put yourself in the shoes of a ne’er do well looking through the letter box of a house you intend to break into.

In one house you see this

Gub Cabinet

The house owner has guns, but they look like they are locked in a cabinet so if I am really interested in breaking in I think the risk might be worth it, I could get to the cabinet before the owner and put them beyond use.

My risk calculation has uncertainty, it tempts me into making a calculated risk.

This is the same as deploying a part time deterrent, one or two submarines that are deployed to a known schedule or in times of heightened tensions (despite that act actually escalating tensions)

Now consider what my risk calculation is when I pop next door, look through the letterbox and see this…

Shotgun

This is what continuous at sea deterrent is, a double barrel shotgun looking right back at you.

Ask yourself what the risk calculation is now.

To mangle my metaphors, do you feel lucky?

There are Cheaper Alternatives

I am ALWAYS interested in looking at cheaper ways of doing things and I don’t buy for one minute the position that says we must have the best or nothing at all.

There are cheaper ways of delivering nuclear weapons.

We could put a Trident warhead on the back of a truck, we could buy a free-fall nuclear bomb or we could buy a nuclear tipped Tomahawk.

Unfortunately, all these suffer from a distinct lack of credibility (see points about credibility above) and either don’t exist or would need to be developed. The funny thing about this whole debate is the missiles already exist, all we are doing is buying a replacement vehicle to launch them from.

No cruise missile exists that is 100% survivable against modern integrated air defence systems and which has the range to enable launch from safe patrol areas against all target possibilities.

But what about Tomahawk I hear you say, yes, a nuclear armed Tomahawk existed, once, but not any more.

In 2010 the US announced the phasing out of the nuclear TLAM that would be completed in the following couple of years

We reached a point of mutual confidence that the [Tomahawk] was a redundant system not necessary for effective, extended deterrence

Principal Deputy Defense Undersecretary James Miller

Perhaps the most sobering aspect of using the TLAM-N is the simple fact that during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 some ten (1.5%) of conventional missiles were lost, crashing into Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey.

Consider that for a moment and compare it against the success rate of Trident, it doesn’t miss.

Read more about the TLAM-N if you really need convincing it is not a good idea, click here.

We might shave a small amount by going for a 3 boat solution but that increases the risk of non availability because of mishaps, bumps, slips, trips and falls.

A 3 boat solution would be cheaper by a bit, no doubt, but it would carry a greater risk and therefore lower credibility.

The cheaper way of doing things is an illusion, of course it possible, there is always a cheaper way of doing something. But in seeking to reduce costs by a relatively small amount we would actually increase costs in other areas or massively reduce effectiveness and credibility, or both at the same time as they are joined at the hip.

The actual cost estimates of a like for like replacement vary, it will be expensive but compared to what, the annual public sector budget is about £750 Billion, the £3 Billion commonly tossed about (even assuming that is what it is) is about 0.4% of the annual spend.

Interest payments on UK public sector debt is twenty times that amount and it is slightly less than spent on ‘Broadcasting’ in a year.

In short, despite the fact that it is a lot of money, for what it delivers, it is the bargain of the century and efforts to reduce the cost slightly are simply not worth it.

We Can Invest the Savings in Conventional Capabilities and Deterrence

There is an argument that says Successor will distort the defence budget for several years and so there exists an opportunity to spend it on something else instead. Conventional deterrence is seen as having greater utility against the kind f threats we face. Of course we could buy some decent shiny new baubbles with £3b a year for the next several decades but in reality, would it tip the balance decisively in our favour in any future scenario, I doubt it, would those extra conventional capabilities offer the same kind of political clout that Trident does, I doubt it?

Would an extra carrier, brigade and squadron count for much when an aggressor has nuclear weapons, not in a gazillion years.

And in any case, would that money stay within defence?

Can I sell you a bridge

London_Bridge,_Lake_Havasu_City,_Arizona_(3227888290)

The Morning After

This is one area of the debate that many seem to ignore.

Supposing the UK retires the Vanguard and Trident system next week, the week after there would pretty much be zero impact.

Defence would still be both under funded and wasteful, ISIS would still be exactly the same threat to the UK as they were yesterday (practically zero) and Freddo’s would still cost an extortionate amount of money.

But the months and years after the UK would pay a hefty political price, the world would certainly not suddenly follow the UK’s leadership on disarmament and one day, it would be us looking at someone else’s double barrel shotgun and ruing the day the steaming fetid pile of dogshit that comprises many of our political class traded the one system that guarantees our security to get a few extra votes and 5 years in power.

To Summarise

Continuous At Sea Deterrence with 4 submarines and Trident provides the ultimate protection in an uncertain world.

It does not help the Falklands or counter the threat of suicide bombers on the Tube but it is not meant to, other capabilities do that, we don’t counter the threat of tanks with submarines do we?

Cruise missiles might reduce cost but because they would have to be designed, tested and manufactured would not provide the cost savings people think. They would also be less effective, less credible and add a whole load of other problems of their own.

A reduced posture and lower availability from either a non continuous at sea model or reduction in boats from 4 to 3 would reduce costs but add risk and reduce credibility.

The whole point of this capability is to establish and maintain credibility.

The C word is not something we should trade away so easily.

So, 4 boats CASD with a smaller number of Trident missiles and warheads seems to me to be the one thing we shouldn’t compromise on, even if it means a reduced conventional capability.

At least that’s my thinking.

Finally

Do we really want to live in a world where the French have a weapon we don’t.

Really.

I mean, really.

 

266 Comments
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Joe B
Joe B
April 20, 2015 8:57 pm

Here here.

However the conservatives didn’t drag its feet on successor, it was in the coalition agreement that they wouldn’t go ahead with their build. It was the Lib Dems that vetoed it

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
April 20, 2015 9:20 pm

Impossible to argue with any of that…but somebody will be along in a few minutes to try… :-(

GNB

as
as
April 20, 2015 9:27 pm

“Do we really want to live in a world where the French have a weapon we don’t”
Like it or not there are going to get more countries with this technology.
I would prefer to have a deterrence to the nuts of this world then not.
I think the French agree.

Mike Barker MBE
Mike Barker MBE
April 20, 2015 9:35 pm

Man is the worst of all animal species in settling its territorial disputes despite the fact we are deemed to have more intelligence.

United Nations were formed by the five countries who had nuclear weapons in 1948 who are now the permanent Security Council members. A further 10 members selected rotational basis from all the other hundred 92 countries are invited on a temporary to your membership after which they have to give it up. They do not have the right of veto.

There is no legal basis in international law that gives authority to these five countries to demand that no other country must equip themselves with nuclear weapons in self defence against those countries who have them.

In fact they even impose sanctions on countries that try India and Pakistan I ran and North Korea again with no basis for doing so. These five countries the US, Russia, China, France and the UK have formed themselves into first-class club members with nuclear weapons while the rest of the world has to make do with having none hope that they won’t be used against them. The nuclear weapon non-proliferation treaty is in agreement that countries that have nuclear weapons will not use them against those that haven’t nor will they use the threat of using nuclear weapons against those who have not got.

However in 2002 George Bush broke these terms because he tossed his defence Ministry to prepare contingency plans for the use of nuclear weapons against China who have them so that would be legal but also against Iraq’s Syria part Russia and I ran. So this establishes beyond any shadow of a doubt the NPT is not worth the paper it is written.

I am the world leading scientist in bomb disposal of all sorts including nuclear bombs I’m very confident with and I will be proposing we replace United Nations with a new world government which will bring all the countries together with equal membership to ever Every country providing their agree to terms of membership.

This requires the members are not to have nuclear weapons or the means of producing such they will abide by tribunal of 12 judges selected from countries which have no vested interest in the dispute brought before them and every member will agree to buy by the decision of the tribunal whence considered all the evidence is from both sides.

Will have a single set of laws and punishments reply to every member. Many of the bodies will be absorbed from the United Nations including a new world WMD Inspectorate to ensure compliance with every country that no WMD is art been stockpiled.

We will replace the readiness with which all politicians gone past their sell by date who can’t decide their differences around a table and to readily send the younger generation to kill one another with the best weapons they can give them.

This is appalling to treat the younger generation was content that they are just human chess pieces in a debate which should be held and had around the table.

These so called first class club members have shown they got devoted with getting on with each other let alone all the other countries who have to suffer in silence and feel very vulnerable to those countries that on a whim could wipe their people out.

Every leader including Tim John of North Korea has a duty and moral responsibility to protect his people from any weapons that might be used against them which includes nuclear weapons.

The author is quite right considering the Trident replacement that other vehicles of delivery should be included and there is none better than has placed by terrorists covertly in a country without aircraft submarines or ballistic missiles.

Outsider
Outsider
April 20, 2015 9:36 pm

The fact that out of the parties in the running for this election, only two have made noises committing support to Britain remaining a nuclear power and only one of them has done so with any sort of gusto is terrifying.

WiseApe
April 20, 2015 9:57 pm

If we gave up all our weapons, UN seat, NATO membership, the whole shebang, we would still be a target. Why? Because we believe in individual liberty, freedom of (and indeed from) religion, gender equality and freedom of speech. It’s not our place in the world that paints a big bullseye on our foreheads – it’s our very way of life. Which we continue to enjoy thanks to the sacrifice and continued vigilance of others.

WhitestElephant
WhitestElephant
April 20, 2015 10:00 pm

Excellent post TD, very welcomed indeed.

as brings up the point of other nations who will seek to develop this sort of technology too. I believe this is one of the fundamental reasons for Britain’s continuation as a nuclear power, as we have to make sure we continue to play a leading role in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Personally, I believe it is a failing of the international community that countries like Pakistan and India are allowed to developed ever more deadly delivery systems. After all, on the Fragile States Index, Pakistan is classed ‘High Alert’, India is classed ‘High Warning’. Are these the sorts of nations we really want having nuclear weapons?

Also, I would most certainly be distressed if the French had a weapon we did not.

as
as
April 20, 2015 10:03 pm


This is why Iceland is a member of NATO.

Chris
Chris
April 20, 2015 10:08 pm

Outsider – I count three (just re-read them) – Tories Labour and UKIP – that say CASD is their policy. LibDems want 75% solution which they accept would not give full-time cover. Greens and Plaid Cymru want to scrap the whole lot and I think SNP might be a little anti. A score of 3.5 out of 7 then.

WhitestElephant
WhitestElephant
April 20, 2015 10:17 pm

@Mike Barker

This so called “first class club” of nations (i.e the UNSC), are, along with Japan and Germany, the worlds leading and most influential powers on the planet. Nations are not equal, no good will come of stripping the very tools of power from the powerful, likewise, no good will come from rising lesser nations above their station and hand them “equal membership”.

Human nature, even if it may be a bit psychopathic to some.

The formation of the UNSC and nuclear weapons are arguably the primary reason WW3 never broke out, and the fact the West has enjoyed over 70 years of unparalleled peace and prosperity.

cky7
cky7
April 20, 2015 10:19 pm

Couldn’t it be paid for by the DFID? Ensuring Britain’s independence and survival does a lot more good for poorer, less developed nations than many of the handouts and time-wasting schemes currently employed with our £12billion a year. Without us and our allies (Ok so the US does a LOT more) who’d be there to prevent bullies taking over? IMO our continued guaranteed security and liberty does a lot more to protect the world’s impoverished than handing them food rather than teaching letting them maybe learn to provide for themselves (like the west, the only successful example of modern human development had to) or god forbid maybe control their populations to a level they’re capable of feeding and paying for themselves. :) :)

dukeofurl
dukeofurl
April 20, 2015 10:24 pm

Trouble is the Treasury takes its ‘capital charge’ every year out of the operational defence budget for any assets including major equipment. When it was indroduced, the budget was adjusted to allow for the ‘cost increase’ but a massive cost project like Trident replacement is way way above what its predecessor cost and the budget for the capital charge hasnt increased to the same extent

as
as
April 20, 2015 10:28 pm

The US navy is carrying out its own Ohio Replacement Submarine program. It involves a lot of the same companies as our Vanguard-class replacement program. There is a technology sharing agreement on nuclear technology. How many systems can we get to a common spec. on to bring down cost?

Ok I posted this earlier in the open thread.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
April 20, 2015 10:35 pm

…@WiseApe…also strongly related to our history since around 1600 (about which we can do nothing)…and worth noting that the first Islamist attacks on the West came before even GW1…and the horrible offence against which Al Quada originally ranged itself was the presence of US troops in The Kingdom (including women not covered in black sacks who were allowed to drive)…troops who arrived at the invitation of the Al Saud in the aftermath of a UN sanctioned and very limited War against a secular and oppressive regime who invaded their next door neighbour…

We are where we are, and in reality it started long before 9/11…which was to a large extent unprovoked other than by our existence, the nature of our society as described by yourself…and the fact that our comparative material and cultural success is deemed to be a calculated insult for which we deserve to be punished.

GNB

as
as
April 20, 2015 10:35 pm

An example of this is the Common missile compartment (CMC).
It is designed and built by the General Dynamics Electric Boat Corporation.
The CMC will house SLBMs in quad packs and will used on both British and American future replacements.

as
as
April 20, 2015 10:43 pm

@GMB
Islamic attacks on the UK go back a lot further then that.
In Cornwall and Devon there are stories of pirates from Spain (when it was run by the Moors in the 1400s) raiding the villages.
Taking back white slaves to North Africa.

S O
S O
April 20, 2015 10:59 pm

“No cruise missile exists that is 100% survivable against modern integrated air defence systems and which has the range to enable launch from safe patrol areas against all target possibilities.”

This is wrong thinking.

Deterrence doesn’t need be 100%; it only needs to be scary. A 50/50 chance of having one’s society destroyed is scary.
Lots of Americans are shitting themselves at the idea of Iran getting a single crude nuke even though no even only 10% delivery system is in sight.

Another wrong thinking is the implication that NATIONAL nuclear deterrence has to be effective. Imagine being an Italian or German for a few seconds. How effective are their national nuclear deterrence forces again?
It’s the alliance effort that matters, and let’s not kid ourselves; no UK nuclear deterrence was ever 100% nor will it ever be. The uncertainty of political decisionmaking on the topic alone guarantees that no nuclear deterrence – even the U.S. one – will ever be a 100% solution.

as
as
April 20, 2015 11:15 pm

Germany and Italy along with Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey are covered by the NATO nuclear weapons sharing agreement so there. So there F-16s and Panavia Tornados deliver B61 nuclear bomb provided by the Americans. So in that eventuality its F-16s and Tornados vs Air defence system.

S O
S O
April 20, 2015 11:20 pm

That’s nonsense. There’s no German or Italian control over nukes. Us having lent the Americans a hand so they didn’t need to keep hundreds more jets in Europe was in no way comparable to having own nukes.

I was picking at three things
* the extremely limited national-only perspective
* the extremism (considering only extreme ambitions acceptable)
* the conservatism (the feeling that a change would be dangerous)

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
April 20, 2015 11:23 pm

@as…indeed…I was thinking of the late twentieth century re-emergence of the “long war” between Islam and the West…which as I am sure you know started when they destroyed the overwhelmingly Christian Kingdoms of North Africa and Spain in the seventh and eighth centuries, Kingdoms which were taking forward much of the best of the Roman World…and simultaneously started their offensive against the Byzantine iteration of the Roman Empire, then still dominant in the near and mid-east, Greece and the Balkans… :-(

GNB

as
as
April 21, 2015 12:29 am

@GMB
The insurgents still use the crusades as part of there excuse for attacking the west.

Are history in the middle east in more recent times is complicate and filed with some unfortunate decisions.
The Cold War and its proxy wars made us make some stupid decisions that are still effecting us.

Providing the Iraq’s with weapons during the Iran/Iraq war was not bright for example.

as
as
April 21, 2015 1:26 am
Tim
Tim
April 21, 2015 1:26 am

Seems crazy we will be spending 25B for a deterrent of 8 missiles. Surely a longer range nuclear TLAM deployed to a far larger fleet of Astutes and Daring Class would gives us a deeper nuclear and conventional power.

jon livesey
jon livesey
April 21, 2015 2:17 am

“Noticeably, none of the opponents see the savings from cancelling the programme in terms of paying down the eye watering national debt that will be causing misery for all our children and grandchildren in the future, but that’s another story.”

Please stick to defence and stop dragging in this stuff. Yes, we will be leaving our children and grandchildren the job of paying the interest on the debt, but we are also leaving them *the* *debt*.

Government debt isn’t something we owe to Mars. It is something we use as the plumbing of the financial system. The Government issues debt. The debt is bought by pension, insurance and other financial institutions. The taxpayer pays interest to the financial institutions, who in turn pay our pensions and insurance claims.

Financial institutions need default free AAA investments, and government debt is it. The reason Government debt is safe is because paying the interest depends only on the power to tax. As long as the Government system survives, the debt is safe.

Institutions that buy Government debt are really buying a small sliver of future tax payments. Taxpayers pay taxes, a portion of taxes are paid out as debt interest, and that debt interest is ultimately paid out to the beneficiaries of the pension, insurance, and other financial institutions.

Taxpayers who pay taxes to pay debt interest today, will eventually become the beneficiaries of that interest in their turn. Money is being re-routed through the system, not consumed.

If you want a real economic issue to worry about, worry about the jobs lost if Trident is cancelled, the loss of technological credibility, the loss of nuclear know-how and so on.

Nick
Nick
April 21, 2015 6:16 am

@TD

you set out the pro-case well. I didn’t need to be convinced (although I am not 100 % about whether the UK needs Trident or indeed owning nuclear weapons is actually in the long term interests of the UK).

The “problem” I have is that the case you set out (plus others commenting) is one that convinces the already convinced and isn’t one that will convince the unconvinced. I also don’t think that it really addresses the question of whether, like our P5 seat at the UN, we aren’t continuing to live in the shadow of our imperial past.

Go back to 1945, we were a major world power (alone plus empire), that had fought and won the second world war (alone and in alliance), a nation which had been the sole (pretty much anyway) world power for the previous 150 years and a leading manufacturing and technology power for the future. The shame is that we were also completely financially and morally (due to imperialism) bankrupt.

Given the circumstances how could we not be a founding P5 member and seek nuclear weapons. It was surely seen as a continuation of our destiny in 1945 (just as surely that neither Japan nor Germany could ever be leading military powers again).

Just 20 years later, everything had changed. The empire had gone, our technological lead had largely gone, our manufacturing was going, our global military presence was severely reduced and would reduce further. And yet, our attitude remained unchanged. Did we not still think of ourselves in 1945 terms ? Much of this pretty much remains true today. Surely Dean Acheson never spoke truer. What is the UK’s role in the world today and what do we want it to actually be ? [btw the post war governance of the UK really has to be pretty much the low point in our history even if 1945 left us exhausted and bankrupt notwithstanding the highlights like the dismantling of the Empire].

So just why does the UK need to retain nuclear weapons ? Who are we deterring with them ? Are they deterred ? Do we really believe that even in 10 years time, Russia will invade the UK or launch a first strike against us ? If we do why ?

The analysis @TD set out above ought to apply to just about any reasonably wealthy, technologically advance nation. So why is there no German, Japanese,Italian, Spanish, Brazilian, Argentinian (et al) nuclear weapons programme ? Really what makes the UK and France different from the rest (except for 1945 and imperial hang over) ? Perhaps we don’t actually trust the US to retaliate ? I’m sure a long and more comprehensive list of question and topics could be discussed along these lines.

Worse, has public opinion now moved on from our 1945 mindset and accepted what we are today, when our politicians and military haven’t ? What is the UK in 2015 ? We seem to have no wish to be a global policeman anymore, we certainly aren’t funding our military forces sufficiently well and our ability to participate alongside the US decreases annually.

We are the 5th or 6th largest economy in the world, but somewhere between 24 and 27th wealthiest on a per capita basis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita), although I’d argue that the small rich countries like UAE, should be ignored, which would put us higher position. Whilst we are poorer than many, we are certainly not poor as a nation and yet…

Isn’t our political outlook more inward looking today than it has ever been ? We are in the middle of an election campaign, noted by the absence of pretty much any discussion of foreign policy, the EU and Eurozone woes, Russian aggression, growth of China (the coming Chinese hard landing). What does this say about us as a nation and our national priorities ?

It seems to me that our failure to actually address the big picture and present a coherent argument why we should be different from Germany et al (and why Germany et al should actually change if you like) is exactly why our defence spending and capabilities are in decline. Did the Iraq/Afghanistan campaigns not show us clearly we are already living well beyond our means ?

My concern is, if we can’t actually address questions of this sort in a national debate, then UK ownership of nuclear deterrence and expeditionary warfare capability is at risk and sooner or later will go.

Dan
Dan
April 21, 2015 7:21 am

There are two issues one is should we have nuclear weapons and the other is if we have them is the correct posture CASD with a minimum of 4 boats.

At the time of the Cold War we had more than just Trident we had a variety of other nuclear weapons from free fall bombs to artillery shells to depth charges.

After the Cold War we gave up everything except Trident, so having another option now becomes much more expensive as we do not have the infrastructure to develop or deploy anything else.

The French also reduced dramatically after the Cold War BUT they kept some options open by keeping free fall bombs and the infrastructure to develop other forms of warhead such as for the ASMP missile.

If the threat is Russia then realistically CASD is the right response, but until recently the response would have been Russia is no longer a threat, post Crimeia that is now a different discussion.

If the threat is a rogue state with potentially a single or handful of weapons, then a free fall bomb or missile is potentially a perfectly adequate response.

The UN Security Council seat has become a linkage which is a nonsense, someone further in the comments suggested the 5 permanent members were chosen because they were the 5 who had nuclear weapons in 1948. That is simply nonsense the agreement on who became permanent members was as part of setting up the UN in 1944-5 and the discussions had started before even the U.S. had nuclear weapons and were concluded before anyone other than the U.S. had weapons.

There is a long and ongoing campaign to expand the permanent members of the council, to reflect the reality of today not 1945, countries being discussed include Japan, Germany, Brazil, India, South Africa. Only India has nuclear weapons.

Of the 5 permanent members the 3 western members stick to CASD deterrence not because of a fear of immediate attack but because of a fear of spending cuts! If we admit they could be put into storage in times of low tension the politicians would cut the budget. Russia has not operated CASD since the time of the Soviet Union, and China never has.

Of the other nuclear powers none of them have an SLBM capability though Israel has a short range cruise missile capability, but not CASD and India is developing an SLBM.

The reality is you last comment was the truth.
If the French decide they are keeping it our political class would never want to admit we are in some way less than the French.

We need to keep our “totally independent” detterant based on a bomb design that is a copy of a U.S. Design built in a bomb factory managed by a U.S. company mounted on a missile that is part of a shared pool with the USN on submarines which will share lots of development and equipment with USN successor boat.

Simon257
Simon257
April 21, 2015 7:26 am

TD
Jim Hacker had the same problem:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IX_d_vMKswE

lindermyer
lindermyer
April 21, 2015 7:40 am

United Nations were formed by the five countries who had nuclear weapons in 1948 who are now the permanent Security Council members.
Rubbish, Only the US was a Nuclear power before 1950*
1st Nuclear Weapons tests UK 1952, Russia 1949, China 1964, France 1960,
Admittedly the UK had been heavily involved in the US effort, But France didn’t even start Developing Nuclear weapons until the 50s.

It was the 5 (Great power )winners of WW2, that formed it.

*Russia had tested but not built its 1st bombs

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
April 21, 2015 7:50 am

The trouble with the deterrent is that it is a typical British fudge. We are down to the bare minimum of subs required to protect the deterrent and a CBG and now that it is coming from the core budget for all aspects of the system then it needs to be held to the same evaluation as every other weapon system.

Dan touched on some of the issues and so did RUSI.

‘The UK is the only one of the eight established nuclear-armed states with a single nuclear delivery system.

The US and Russia both have strategic ‘triads ’of air-, land- and sea-based systems. Israel is believed to have a triad of medium range ballistic missiles, submarine launched cruise missiles and air-delivered nuclear bombs. India, Pakistan and China appear set on building such a capability. Even France, the nearest comparator to the UK, complements its force of four strategic submarines with an air-based nuclear force. The UK’s reliance on a single system means that the future of its position as a nuclear-armed state is vulnerable to a single point of failure’

Almost every other weapon system we have has redundancy or overlap built in either by numbers, complimentary systems or layers.

In the long term, however, technological breakthroughs by potential adversaries may pose a more serious threat to the nuclear force than technical failure at home. The rapid development of nano technology and robotics, to take just one example, could pose serious new risks to the ability of the UK’s submarines to operate covertly when on patrol. US success in deploying effective strategic ballistic-missile defences could also, as a result of inevitable technology transfer, increasingly call into question the viability of a deterrent force based on inflicting unacceptable damage with as few as eight ballistic missiles launched from a single submarine. The UK would not be helpless in the face of such risks and could develop technological countermeasures of its own. In contrast to other nuclear-armed states, however, it could not compensate for vulnerabilities in one leg of the nuclear force by shifting investment into other legs. The TAR made clear that it could take the UK twenty-four years (at some risk) to design and deliver a nuclear warhead for an alternative, cruise-missile-based nuclear system. This time scale is too extended to provide a credible back-up option were technological change to begin to erode either the invisibility of submarines or the penetrability of ballistic missiles.

‘President Sarkozy also declared at Cherbourg that British and French vital interests are so close that ‘there can be no situation in which the vital interests of either of our nations could be threatened without the vital interests of the other also being threatened,’ and re-stated French commitment to Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty which states that an attack on one member of NATO is an attack on all.90 France’s nuclear weapons should, he went on, be seen in this context as a key element available for the defence of European and not only French security’

Is there some way we could work with the French without giving up our independence? Maybe purchase some Air-Sol Moyenne Portée-Amélioré ASMP-A from the French to compliment our Trident system, or have an arrangement with shared patrol’s.

The way I see it, is that our deterrent will not deter any of the major nuclear powers in the future due to it’s numbers and technological advances in missile defence within those nations. So who are we really deterring? and is Trident over kill for the types of threats of rogue states and not enough for a credible deterrent for other ICBM/BM capable nations? Would the money be better spent on strategic ballistic-missile defences?

Rocket Banana
April 21, 2015 8:02 am

Ignoring the pathetic time-to-target of about three hours for a 2500km cruise missile and the very fact that we’d need to loiter in many places on earth in order to provide a timely retaliation.

Option 1: 4 x Vanguard/Trident + (7 Astute + TLAM) + (Extra Typhoon/Tornado + Storm Shadow)
Option 2: 12 x Astute/Astute2 + Long-Range Bomber + silos on FF/DD + UK Cruise Missile and warheads

Which is cheaper?
Which is more effective?
Which looks like warmongering and nuclear proliferation?
Which is safer?

The Other Chris
April 21, 2015 8:54 am

Not that the UK has this many warheads these days, however the theoretical maximum for a single Vanguard is 16 x Trident D5 with MIRV payload delivering 14 x Warheads each for a grand horrifying total of 224 x 475kT detonations.

The START series and other disarmament/employment policies reduced maximum warheads per D5 to 8 and also dial down the fusion boost of the reaction. I’d would be amazed if the other warhead positions in the missile payload weren’t filled with decoys and other “conventional” tricks to ensure delivery of those remaining 8 mind.

If you’re looking at a “bare minimum” nuclear deterrent, we’re pretty much there already as highlighted above numerous times. It doesn’t get much cheaper than four boats, reduced missiles, fewer/throttled warheads, a couple of handling facilities and a restricted/known number of personnel to exercise increased care for.

Richard_L
Richard_L
April 21, 2015 9:30 am

@ DavidNiven,

Interesting post…

I think that part of the reason that the smaller nuclear armed states have ended up with multiple delivery methods including cruise missiles and free-fall bombs is because their weapons are more focused on a regional threat with less sophisticated defences. You don’t need to create your own space program with the sole aim of sending a warhead to the edge of space and back just to irradiate your neighbour’s back garden.

As for having a back-up system like France’s ASMP, well, it would be useful primarily for redundancy purposes but under what circumstances could it be actually be advantageous to possess a smaller, single warhead tactical nuke? Wiping out the core of IS in Raqqah or Dabiq? Any other potential uses?

As for any alternative to a submarine based system? Is that even possible now? Just look at the fuss that a planning application for a wind farm or fracking causes :(

brianm
brianm
April 21, 2015 9:31 am

I’m sure I recall reading somewhere that if we cancelled the Trident replacement programme, we either have to build a new class of attack submarines in their place or lose our ability to build them, seeing as the replacements for the Astutes won’t be needed until something like the 2040s.

Remember the problems we had with the early parts of the Astute programme after a relatively short gap in building?

I can’t see us wanting to give up that capability so how much will a new class of attack subs cost and what saving (if any) does that leave us against the cost of Trident, given that the bulk of the costs for Trident replacement are in the costs of the submarines…?

mickp
mickp
April 21, 2015 9:31 am

@TOC “If you’re looking at a “bare minimum” nuclear deterrent, we’re pretty much there already as highlighted above numerous times”

Absolutely – we’ll have 12 tubes at sea on CASD, but only 8 missiles and 40 warheads across them – an enormous reduction from cold war heights of 224 warheads at sea.

monkey
monkey
April 21, 2015 9:40 am

On the Chinese building upto eight SSBN based on reliability of the whole system and the range of their SLBM combined with the most likely opposition being the huge USN trying to keep track of them so I doubt they will stop at eight . On this subject for a UK SSBN to retaliate against China the sub would need to move up into the high Arctic or western med. Will four Successors be enough? Or should we have two boats at sea at once covering both ends of the Asia.

The Other Chris
April 21, 2015 9:45 am

Congress to help fund the US Ohio Replacement Program rather than put the pressure solely on the USN budget:

http://www.dodbuzz.com/2015/04/20/congress-adds-cash-to-special-account-to-build-new-nuclear-submarines/

The Other Chris
April 21, 2015 10:01 am

On the “who had nukes” at the formation of the Security Council point worth remembering that Canada, the USA and the UK were utterly complicit leading up to the conclusion of the Manhattan Project, ratified in the Quebec and Hyde Park agreements before the McMahon Act.

mickp
mickp
April 21, 2015 10:06 am

Question – will the new tubes for the common missile compartment take say Tomahawks (quad packed?) without significant modification to the tube or sub?

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
April 21, 2015 10:52 am

Probably. Although whether TLAM will still be in service by the time the boats commission is another question.

mickp
mickp
April 21, 2015 11:40 am

@NAB, thanks – just wondering on the flexibility of the tubes.

The savings from Successor are illusory unless we abandon N boat construction in full. If we want to keep that capability, we’d still need to build 4 new SSNs or SSGNs over the same timeframe to keep the skills and line going, surely?

Divorce the boats from the system – we are proposing to build 4 highly capable N subs with the ultimate flexibility in payloads. For the foreseeable future we will use them to carry Trident in the form of CASD, which incidentally uses existing missiles and existing facilities. In future, they could have other payloads if we choose to abandon CASD (now is not the time though). What’s the incremental cost then of designing and building 4 Successors over building 4 more slightly improved Astutes?

WhitestElephant
WhitestElephant
April 21, 2015 11:40 am

I grow tired of the often used ‘imperial hangover’ cliche that people use to argue against Britain’s foreign and security policy, nuclear weapons, and our ‘role in the world’.

When we consider Britain’s role in the world today, we must acknowledge and not shy away from the fact our Imperial past affords us a certain prestige and influence in the world, especially in regions that were once part of the Empire. Its one of the reasons why some well to do nations in Asia, the Middle East and Africa are keen to maintain military links with Britain in the forms of alliances or partnerships – ditto the White Commonwealth.

The British Empire laid the foundations of this international rules based system, including global trade and banking. In many ways we were the worlds first globalized nation. The rule of law is now championed by the United States, whose interests have remarkable similarities to those of the British Empire. So it is little surprise that Britain’s interests today so often coincide with Americas.

Britain is also a nation that has always been on the winning side, fighting for freedom and liberty. Think Napoleonic Wars, WW1, WW2 and the Cold War. We are not a nation that has suffered the humiliation of defeat, or the disgrace of holocaust and genocide that the failed empires of Japan and Germany have- we are, in every way, a triumphant nation.

This reality has shaped our nations attitudes towards how we engage with world. Why we may no longer be the global hegemon, we are still willing to pull our weight and do our part. As such, we do not shy away from using military force when necessary and maintain some very impressive capabilities, giving us a status of one of the worlds few military powers.

It is no secret that the public attitudes in Japan and Germany are very different than those in Britain or France. History is, whether we like it or not, an important factor in shaping national identity. Given the history of both Japan and Germany, it would be fallacy to compare them to Britain, and as such, arguing what Britain should be doing or what they should be doing instead.

We are the worlds 5th economic power, a major trading nation, a global financial command center, a military power, a nuclear power, a leading member and pillar of NATO, allies and partners around the world, a seat at the highest table (UNSC), a member of the G7 and G8, senior positions in the IMF and World Bank etc, one of the EU-3, the Commonwealth and so on and so forth.

Our international profile is very impressive, few nations are as well placed as Britain in the international community. Little wonder that many academics still consider Britain to be a Great Power.

Who are we kidding, if we think we are not the above, or we are not as important as our international profile suggests.

wf
wf
April 21, 2015 12:00 pm

@DavidNiven: bear in mind the 24 year estimate to regenerate an air launched nuke option is a result of utilising CFD nuclear weapon design only. If you decided to test, that timescale would drop to less than ten years.

@thread: the other thing about Successor is that by increasing the number of nuclear subs, we probably make a continuance of SSN production possible. Seven SSN’s over 25 years is not enough I suspect.

Nigel
Nigel
April 21, 2015 12:08 pm

As several comments have already made, but it is worth reiterating –

1. Deterence does not have to be 100%, it only has to be scary enough. In that light ownership of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them meets all of our objectives. That suggests a cruise missile, with a suitable warhead, carried aboard a fleet of Astutes would be more than sufficient
2. I am not certain, but do all of the commentators here understand that the £25bn budget for 4 SSBNs + missiles + warheads comes from the rest of the defence budget – ie everything else suffers as a result
3. For less than £25bn we could buy another 5 Astutes (for a fleet of 12) + develop a new sea launched cruise missile (which we need anyway both as a TLAM and Harpoon replacement) + the warhead to go with it + start work on an Astute replacement. We would then have 12 SSNs useable for duties other than deterance + a much needed new cruise missile – I am struggling to see the draw back here

Nick
Nick
April 21, 2015 12:14 pm

@whitest

You have just described exactly what Imperial overhang comprises. Well done. However, UK tax payers are currently writing the tax cheques for us to pay for it.

What happens if they don’t want to ? Perhaps they would in fact prefer some or even all of that money to be spent on healthcare, pensions, education and other things that might just improve their standard of living. You never know, some of it may actually be invested in things that generate national wealth (although to be honest, UK governments seem to be pretty poor at that these days) and actually increase our financial standard of living (GDP/capita).

How do you convince a skeptical electorate to continue to write cheques to pay for this legacy today in preference to expensive cancer medicine for granddad, a decent pension when they retire and all the other things promised on the basis of a working lifetime’s worth of tax payments ?

Chris
Chris
April 21, 2015 12:18 pm

Nigel – as also commented before its by no means a given that any CASD elimination savings (if there are any once funding to develop the alternative ‘scary enough’ option is put aside) would be spent on Defence. SNP is the one party that has publicly stated it would use savings from scrapping Trident on schools welfare and NHS; the other parties I have few doubts would do the same if Trident went. Its all about the votes. Nothing to do with security of the nation.

x
x
April 21, 2015 12:47 pm

My main concern with CASD isn’t the why or the how but the organisation tasked with running it.

Time to give a bootneck the job of 2SL perhaps?

Cue APATS mad ramblings in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1………….

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
April 21, 2015 12:51 pm

@Richard_L

‘weapons are more focused on a regional threat with less sophisticated defences’

In the case of India and China they are both developing ABM systems.

‘but under what circumstances could it be actually be advantageous to possess a smaller, single warhead tactical nuke? Wiping out the core of IS in Raqqah or Dabiq? Any other potential uses?’

It would give us the ability to launch a strike from the carriers (which will be something else for any potential adversary to plan for every time a carrier is at sea) and to have an ability to escalate without going for the instant big ticket missile from the SSBN.

The 24 years is probably the worst case scenario, which is what we should plan for and hope for something sooner if we needed to develop an alternative warhead.

Are we not banned from testing due to treaty obligations?

Donald ot Tokyo
Donald ot Tokyo
April 21, 2015 12:59 pm

SSBN looks reasonable answer to the nuclear deterrent. It looks like, only its high cost is the issue.

Then, why not think much heavily of cost cut?

– Why not have a tube of only 8, not 12 per boat? The tube hybrid is based on 4 tubes module, to my understanding, so 8 tube (=2 module) design looks OK.

– Why not base your boat design to the Astute class, just “add” the tube part within (this is the way George Washington class SSBN was build out of Skipjack class). This will reduce the training cost, operation cost, as well as design cost?

– Do you really need torpedo tubes? Can you go without it? (This will reduce significant cost). If needed, can you go with only 4 torpedoes in the tube, with No reload? (This will reduce a certain cost, at least significant amount of crew number?)

In other words, is the current Trident replacement plan really optimized?

Shackvan
Shackvan
April 21, 2015 1:09 pm

I have seen a few posts floating the Cruise missile idea as Credible/scary enough for the job of deterrence, and if you could launch them in large enough numbers I would tend to agree but that is only in the context of right now and for maybe the next 10 years at the outside. The technologies that makes cruise missiles vulnerable today are only going to improve and proliferate, so when you factor in the 30 year timescale required here for thinking about successor systems, cruise (IMHO) just doesn’t cut the mustard. Contrast with a proper SLBM and even in 30-40 years time countering multiple warheads bearing down on you, in a complex Decoy environment, at 6000m/s is still likely to be a prohibitive activity on the grounds of cost even if the technology becomes widespread, just consider how long it has taken the US to achieve even a rudimentary anti missile capability even with all the crazy Star wars money that was being thrown at the program in the 80’s and 90’s.

Martin
Editor
April 21, 2015 1:47 pm

I wonder how pro Trident UKIP or the Tories would be if the weapons in Coalport where moved to Gravesend?

seems funny that politically the further away a party has seats from Faslane the more it’s support grows for a like for like replacement.

It amazes me that given their is a very very high probability that Scotland will achieve independence long before the successor program is retired no one wants to move the system down south.

I seem to remember James Bond talking about the Polaris Pens outside of London before. Maybe a time to give that a try.

The Other Chris
April 21, 2015 1:52 pm

Sweeping generalisation there Martin. Unfounded. Sweeping.

You’ll always find opposition and you’ll always find support in the areas. Wylfa is a great recent example.

You may not remember the campaigns at Faslane to keep the deterrent based there?

Chris
Chris
April 21, 2015 2:02 pm

Martin – the suggestion of rampant nimbyism might have credibility were it not for the fact that the design manufacture support and disposal of the warheads is the job of AWE, nestled in the Tory heartland of Berkshire just outside the M25…

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
April 21, 2015 2:08 pm

@Shackvan
‘even in 30-40 years time countering multiple warheads bearing down on you, in a complex Decoy environment, at 6000m/s is still likely to be a prohibitive activity on the grounds of cost even if the technology becomes widespread’

I don’t agree with that assessment especially considering the number of nations now developing systems coupled, with recent successful tests by more than one of those. After all the hardest part has been proved now it’s development which in most technologies comes at a faster rate.

Granted to stop an attack by someone like Russia or the US it would be prohibitively expensive when you consider the number of deployed strategic warheads and number of ICBM’s available to them, but when we have no more than 40 warheads deployed at sea at any one time I think we are going to find that our deterrent is going to be the first amongst the nuclear weapon states to become redundant as a credible threat to any of our peers.

WhitestElephant
WhitestElephant
April 21, 2015 2:26 pm

@Nick,

I think you have missed the point entirely. The ‘Imperial hangover’ cliche is used, more often that not, by those with ‘Imperial guilt’ to argue that Westminster still thinks its a superpower, or that Britain thinks it is more important than it really is. As such, it is used to argue against Britain’s foreign and security policy and possession nuclear weapons – because they want to see a Britain that retreats from the world.

I on the other hand, understand that the world still lives to some extent in the shadows of imperialism. I understand that many of Britain’s interests, allies and partners are a direct result of our imperial past. I understand that because of this, and for many other reasons, Britain is uniquely placed in the world and is afforded a great deal of influence.

As for the British public, a 2015 YouGov poll shows that a substantial majority support Britain sticking to the NATO target of 2% of GDP on defence. The same goes for foreign aid spending, where the overwhelming majority want to see it cut (a 2013 YouGov poll).

We all probably remember the 2013 RUSI analysis that found 70-80% of the population think it is important that Britain is a leading voice in NATO, the EU and the UNSC and just over 50% think it is important Britain has nuclear weapons. 69% thought it important Britain had aircraft carriers and remained an expeditionary power.

There is a clear perception amoung the British population that we have an important role to play in the world and that its important we continue to play it. So I completely refute your assertion that they would want the money spent on healthcare or welfare – polls don’t indicate it.

Who Knows
Who Knows
April 21, 2015 2:28 pm

Can Trident function without Nimrod?
How traceable are the submarines?
There was an article in FT (me thinks) that was suggesting that even as it is , the submarines can be traced.

Daniel Hodges
Daniel Hodges
April 21, 2015 2:34 pm

@ theard all this talk of casd is redundent the only question is 3 or 4 boats the long lead items for boat 1 has been ordered and contracted for

For all we are are in the midest of a election all sort of things are said and theratend i trust none of it what will happen after will depend on how well the libdems do if they get wiped out there will be no collaltion if aganist all odds they keep most of there seats then we mite get a labour libdem or con libdem again i don’t think at all any of the 2 main partys will go into collaition with snp because the english electriote won’t forgive them

J
J
April 21, 2015 2:40 pm

I think abandoning CASD (particularly pushed for by the LibDems) to replace it with a ‘Normally-CASD’ or ‘CASD-Capable’ force sets a very dangerous precedent.

In this scenario where a UK SSBN is not deployed as part of a permanent deterrent cycle, due to increased tensions with say, Russia, we decide to deploy one of our “uber-SSGN-with-nuclear-cruise-missiles” – this will be seen as an ‘unacceptable escalation’ by someone like Putin, which the world press would love to circulate and could trigger a major incident.

Remember Able Archer 83 anyone?

While this may not seem like a very realistic scenario at this moment in time, abandoning CASD could make nuclear war more, not less likely.

Every time this argument comes up, the answer in terms of necessity, utility, safety, effectiveness and cost always comes to 4 SSBNs and CASD.

The fact that there’s any “debate” about this at all is ridiculous and is nothing but scaremongering and petty political point scoring by parties who care more about their careers than the safety of the country and a public too uneducated and easily brainwashed to know any better.

ForcesReviewUK
ForcesReviewUK
April 21, 2015 2:42 pm

Question:

If a UK citizen or citizens die in a WMD attack on British soil by a state actor, will/should the UK government use “Trident” against that state?

If a far away British Overseas Territory (I’m not naming, there are still several) received the fall out from a WMD attack, will/should the government fire a nuclear warhead against that state?

If an allied (NATO, non-NATO, just great friend of the UK) suffers a WMD attack or a massive invasion with massive casualties, will/should the government retaliate on behalf of that nation if a conventional strike is ineffective/not capable of ending the solution (evne if British citizens cant be safely evacuated?)

Bottom line: Exactly when should the “fire back” or usage occur?

I know most of your are rational people so I would like to see rational arguments.

Chris
Chris
April 21, 2015 2:42 pm

Whitest – while the Great British Public might understand the importance of sound responsible defence, the politicians and the media lackeys in attendance have been blinded by their obsession of Political Correctness which demands that they only talk about, create policies for and plan to implement nice universal socially justifiable caring projects for which they can gain bragging rights against their equally PC opponents. Defence is not Politically Correct because it might harm someone which is of course really horrid. All well & good until hostile elements start hurting UK citizens, at which point the pacifist ideals will be shown to have caused far more hurt than the Defence they should have funded.

The Other Chris
April 21, 2015 2:48 pm

Unblock our accounts from commenting on what you write on Twitter and some of us would consider answering you.

We’re allowed to disagree with you.

Rocket Banana
April 21, 2015 2:49 pm

If you look at the costs then there’s very little point in going for 3 x SSBN. If anything you have to drop to 2 to save a meaningful amount, even this only saves around two thirds of the total cost.

I think it was £16b for four, £14b for three, and £10b for two.

…which, given the US Ohio costing estimates is interesting to say the least.

Daniel Hodges
Daniel Hodges
April 21, 2015 2:50 pm

@ the theard

The british public have qutie clearly have stated that the issues that the want answers to have not been answered and as such that is why no one party will have a majority some on this thread think the british public are stupied they are not and as such will force the politic class to sit up and raise the game not for this term but for the next one

Shackvan
Shackvan
April 21, 2015 2:55 pm

@DavidNiven

Agreed that there have been some successful tests of limited systems but nobody has made a missile yet that can shoot down an ICBM warhead and, to my knowledge, nobody is even considering a missile that can. Available systems i know of are:
THAAD- was built as a scud killer essentially with some limited performance against terminal phase IRBM’s
SM-3 – hasn’t got the speed or the range to hit an ICBM midcourse as they fly too high and too fast
GMD – Same as SM-3 above
Partiot PAC-3 – Same problems as THAAD to a greater degree
S-400/500 – Likely to lie in-between Patriot and THAAD in terms of ABM ability
ASTER 30 Block II – Limited anti theatre ballistic missile ability
Not sure about Indian or Israeli products but I have no reason to believe performance is greater than what is available elsewhere.

Couple that to the fact that even if you have a missile that can reliably hit an ICBM the kill chain for doing so would be huge, complex, expensive and vulnerable and therefore likely to be out of reach of all but America and maybe China in the future. Consider that the only reliable method of detecting and targeting incoming warheads is very long range high power radar systems, which as the Americans discovered in there last set of high altitude nuclear tests, can be completely blinded by a single high altitude detonation (even if the EMP doesn’t fry your radars the residual radiation creates a temporary “brick wall” that your radars cant see through). Once the remaining warheads cross that threshold they are largely protected by the laws of physics due to the fact they are just moving so quickly and the window of time for a defender to react would be so small.

So if you want an effective counter to an ICBM in a nuclear scenario you not only need a quantum leap in interceptor technology, and cost, but also an effective long range replacement to Radar targeting or some kind of assault on the laws of physics to allow them to see through dense clouds of charged particles. Which I would suspect if a greater than 50 year problem.

To caveat I am by no means an expert and throw in my 2 penith only as a semi-informed layman. I would invite any evidence to contradict my understanding as above!

Simon257
Simon257
April 21, 2015 2:56 pm

@ Martin

Plaid Cymru are dead against anything Nuclear. But as Wylfa PS is vital to Anglesey. The local Plaid MP will tell you a very different story!

Because of the uncertainty on the future of power generation at Wylfa. Anglesey Aluminium closed it operations on the Island. Because it could not be guaranteed a long term contract.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglesey_Aluminium

ASH
ASH
April 21, 2015 2:58 pm

Time to get real…

4 boats has to be a minimum for a CASD but there are variations on a theme perhaps we should also consider:

1) Share ‘boat’ development with the Ohio replacement (lowest cost surely)
2) Consider an equivalent 3 boat CASD warhead count but using a 6/8 boat class – therby having the opportunity for a 2 boat at sea minimum with a mixed inventory (D5/6 and VLS/MAC) – increasing the detection problem
3) Augment with conventional warheads on the MIRV as the Chinese have now made the conventionally armed ballistic missile an accepted reality
4) The real cost is in the handling/security of the nuclear warheads and not running the boats necessarily

The overall aim should be for a more effective weapons system/deterent at the lowest cost

Jennings
Jennings
April 21, 2015 3:20 pm

This may be an unpopular view, but it is mine:: Far from dropping or de-scoping the Strategic Deterrent, we should be expanding our nuclear capability to sub-strategic level as our ability to provide meaningful conventional forces is in seemingly irrecoverable decline. We need something which is not just straight to 11 – We should be seeking improvements to nuclear capabilities and delivery platforms.

I say this as I think it is possible we could be on our own again at some time in the not too distant future, the NATO alliance appears close to having run it’s course.

monkey
monkey
April 21, 2015 3:29 pm

The Successor is pretty much designed in terms of the kit it will have. The reactor for the first boat , the PWR3 , is already started at Rolls Royce , the rest of the power plant is on order , the 12 Common Missile Compartments for the first boat are being made by General Dynamics in the US ,the new construction shed at Barrow is underway . Its not say that if by some miracle the Greens , the SNP and a few others form a coalition and decide to scrap the Successor programme eating whatever penalties are no doubt written into the contract , it could happen :-) If it came to an open vote in parliament , with no party whip IMHO Successor would be voted through and even if Labour had agreed to cancel it to get a coalition partnership going enough Labour MP’s would still vote for it anyway ,party whip or not.

Nick
Nick
April 21, 2015 3:52 pm

@whitest

Not sure I disagree with you, but I’m afraid the great British public hasn’t been faced with the real hard choice that we just can’t afford to do everything that they’d like or our politicians promise. For example, whenever a new cancer drug arrives which NICE decide isn’t cost effective, there are always major campaigns to over turn the decision (which is why Cameron invented the additional special fund – now fully spent – to pay for these drugs outside the NHS budget). Just what does the public really think ? Let’s talk election turkey.

Where does the extra 8 billion pa (in 2020) NHS spending commitment come from ? There are two choices at the end of the day:

1. Growth above the governments forecast or
2. From within the current governments 5 year forecast.

If the former it can’t be assured that it will actually happen (in fact the OBR and IMF already thinks growth will be lower than the government expects). If its the latter there must be an offsetting cut from non-protected spending departments (Defence etc).

In any case, the whole amount is predicated on the assumption NHS can find a cumulative 22 billion pa saving by 2020 (which may well be wishful thinking in any case and certainly isn’t identified in any absolute way).

The truth is that you can’t cut the government spending in the way the Tories want to, fund additional NHS spending increases and tax reductions out of thin air. Given the 5 year plan is “fixed” and has major spending reductions (c 5% of GDP) then finding anything on top must mean you need bigger cuts than already planned (but not announced) or a longer period to cut the government current account deficit to zero (ie Labour/Libdem/SNP policy). Once you take Health, Pensions, Education, Overseas aid (which are all going to increase anyway) and allow Tax cuts on top; it follows that the axe falls heavily elsewhere.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
April 21, 2015 4:07 pm

@Shackvan

‘nobody is even considering a missile that can.’

Prithvi Defence Vehicle test: ‘Enemy’ ballistic missile to be downed in space next month

http://ajaishukla.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/prithvi-defence-vehicle-test-enemy.html

‘Meanwhile, DRDO is working on Phase-II of the anti-ballistic missile defence programme, capable of downing enemy inter-continental ballistic missiles fired from up to 5,000 km away. DRDO says the Phase-II shield would be deployed by 2016.’

I don’t think that they are even remotely close to meeting the 2016 target especially as the last test failed to hit the target but they are working on it. they also claim to have a viable radar for the system but it is the Indian defence industry and they do tend to exaggerate.

WiseApe
April 21, 2015 4:13 pm

@WhitestElephant – “Britain is also a nation that has always been on the winning side, fighting for freedom and liberty.” – The Hundred Years War? The American War of Independence?

Vinny
Vinny
April 21, 2015 4:22 pm

CASD is certainly the best option but it doesn’t require Trident. Having 4 SSBNs is like having all of your eggs in one basket. If an enemy finds a way to disable the sole at sea SSBN it could launch an attack. Not only could an SSN stumble across it, it could be disabled by sabotage or even a STUXNET type electronic exploit.

Cruise missiles are a very effective deterrent, just look at how worried about them the USSR was. You could have multiple platforms at sea at all times and those platforms would be useful in a conventional conflict, which is much more likely than a nuclear one anyway.

I haven’t really seen an argument against cruise missiles, other than the claim that a Trident would be 100% successful and a cruise missile wouldn’t be based on comparing actual combat performance of Tomahawk against controlled test performance of Trident.

A three hour flight time is meaningless. No one is going to decide to launch an attack because they would have an extra 2 1/3 hours before retaliation arrives. The fact that the nuclear armed version of Tomahawk is out of production is meaningless because you wouldn’t want an obsolete version from the 80’s anyway. You would want a missile based on a modern stealthy version of Tomahawk. Or Scalp. Or a new purpose designed missile.

The idea that a modern cruise missile will be easy to intercept is nonsense. Air defenses don’t have a good record against older versions and newer versions have improved stealth charismatics.

A nuclear cruise missile could also be launched from surface ships and carrier or land based aircraft. Eliminating the entire deterrence capability at a stroke would be impossible.

More to the point, a major power like Russia isn’t going to risk nuclear devastation of even one of it’s major cities or military installations to take out the smallest nuclear power in NATO. The fact that a cruise missile can’t hit some of a the targets that Trident can is irrelevant for the same reason.

If you think about a madman scenario where some Iranian Ayatollah orders an attack without fear of retaliation then Trident wouldn’t work as a deterrent any better than a cruise missile would. You would be much better off spending the money on a ABM capability, and maybe a screening capability so that he can’t simply send a warhead in an IMO container.

The only thing a SSBN would be good for would be pride, and it drains money from conventional forces where it is needed. It isn’t even a superior deterrent.

WhitestElephant
WhitestElephant
April 21, 2015 4:35 pm

,

Okay, I concede, not always. But with the examples I gave, its obvious what I was getting at.

WiseApe
April 21, 2015 4:51 pm

We are glorious enough without having to over-egg it :D

PJS
PJS
April 21, 2015 5:02 pm

thanks to the wide, informative views held on this forum I am very much better placed to challenge those who argue against CASD…but I am curious to know one thing …

While I understand the very persuasive reason that you dont want your common or garden Astute /SSNs carrying SLBMs as your opponents wont know whether its a bucket of sunshine or just a cruise missle about to give you a very bad headache…does it work the other way round… that is, could the SSBN not carry a few cruise missiles [quad packed in the vacant silos if possible/necessary] and contribute to/increase our conventional response.

Its not as if we are offering the baddies advanced warning of/ and provenance of incoming conventional TLAMs [“I say chaps we are about to bomb you with a few cruise missiles, just to let you know they’re not coming from our Astutes, but our new Successor, hope you don’t mind, cheers…”]

Fedaykin
April 21, 2015 5:02 pm

@Vinny

1) Cruise missiles are a first strike weapon system, that is why the Russians were so worried about them in the cold war. The UK has a 2nd strike capability and that is all we want.

2) The UK already owns a pool of UGM-133A Trident II D5 ballistic missiles, they have a projected OSD of 2042.

3) There is no cruise missile system available off the shelf so we would have the cost of developing it and then buying it in huge numbers to saturate any target.

4) Point 3 is a pointless and costly exercise when you consider point 2.

There are your reasons.

S O
S O
April 21, 2015 5:03 pm

@WhitestElephant:

England created a colonial empire by oppressing hundreds of millions of people over hundreds of years.

“Britain is also a nation that has always been on the winning side, fighting for freedom and liberty.”
is a very, very and obviously delusional quote.

England’s history of being oppressor and evil is easily in the top 10 of history.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
April 21, 2015 5:08 pm

@Vinny

cruise missiles lack range and contary to your assumption are vulnerable to a modern integrated air defence network. The Fact that you write of the flight time as irrelevant astounds me. Especially in an Intel driven first strike scenario vs some of the potential rogue states using liquid fuelled missiles.
Then you come to the practical problems.
1. If you do not announce the nuke carrying boats you open up all sorts of water space management issuea for your entire Ssn fleet, if you do then you are no better in fact you are worse off.
2. Every time you launch a cruise missile the question becomes whether it is nuclear or conventional. The risk of you firing a conventional cruise missile and triggering a chemical or biological if not nuclear response goes through the roof. the Us had enormous difficulty sitting on the Israelis in 91 when Scuds were landing in Tel Aviv. If one had been chemical they would have made Baghdad glow in the daRk.

Numerous problems in real life I am afraid, an ICBM will always be a supwrior Deterent.

WhitestElephant
WhitestElephant
April 21, 2015 5:11 pm
S O
S O
April 21, 2015 5:12 pm

Apats, there are no first strike scenarios for nuclear arms uses, period.

Besides, you made the mistake of writing “ICBM” instead of “SLBM”.

@WhitestElephant;

your nonsense was so extreme it deserved more repudiation than his harmless one.

The Other Chris
April 21, 2015 5:13 pm

Indeed. No nation is without sin, ikke?

monkey
monkey
April 21, 2015 5:16 pm

@S O
“England’s history of being oppressor and evil is easily in the top 10 of history.”
Quite possibly true but we have fought and destroyed much worse , The German Second and Third Reich from dominating Europe with their allies the Hapsburg Empire, the Japanese Empire from dominating the whole of Asia , the French Empire from dominating all of Europe, the Italian Empire from dominating the Balkans , Greece and North and East Africa, the Ottoman Empire from dominating the middle east , Egypt and the Balkans , various Kings , Moguls, Princes of the Indian sub-continent from their incessant wars with each other to name a few.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
April 21, 2015 5:21 pm

@So

If you really believe there are no first strike scenarios you are incredibly naive.

WhitestElephant
WhitestElephant
April 21, 2015 5:22 pm

@S O,

You know full well what I meant. Perhaps ‘always’ was a poor choice of word – and it was. But you, I, and everyone else knew what I meant and what I was trying to get at. That is what is important here.

PJS
PJS
April 21, 2015 5:24 pm

@ S O

evil? oppressor?

Isn’t that rather over the top -might you care to list the top 10?

are you part of the commentariat who would have me wake up everyday and apologise to the world for the acts of those who went before me?

Are you also insisting that the Germans and the Japanese {my great uncle captured in Singapore, enough said] do the same… perhaps the Spanish [how many indigenous tribes did they wipe out in south America], the French are hardly unblemished, by any measure Belgium in the Conga was appalling, but do they have the same chattering class insisting we say sorry for everything … I could go on but then Europe in general is so “evil” and filled with “oppressors” that I can’t think why now, in the 21st Century, so many are risking their lives to come here…

and before you accuse me of being a zenophobic white fascist et al… I am the son of an immigrant whose father came from one of the oppresed countries of empire and fought, like hundreds of thousands did, against, hmmm, the greater “evil”….

I’m sorry [hahaha] if this reply offends anyone, but I am tired of hearing such drivel espoused… empire happened, it had its down side, many of those countries are quite happily making their people’s lives a misery, thank you very much, all on their own … get over it.

Rocket Banana
April 21, 2015 5:36 pm

Vinny,

We are going to be fielding Sea Ceptor, a relatively cheap missile system that is almost completely designed to intercept and destroy exactly the kind of threat you are suggesting (subsonic, sea skimming, cruise missiles). A sub £500m frigate will be armed with 48 of them.

Intercepting a mach 24 reentry vehicle isn’t going to be as easy.

You simply can’t compare a 300 m/s, 2500 km range cruise missile (02:20 to target) and a 8000 m/s, 8000 km range Trident D5 (~5 minutes to the same target).

The latter doesn’t even give you time to finish on the loo ;-)

Fedaykin
April 21, 2015 5:41 pm

@S O

If we are playing the game of pedants then it is worth pointing out that an “SLBM” can be a type of “ICBM”. An SLBM can also be a “SRBM”, “MRBM” or “IRBM”. “ICBM” is purely the acronym for Intercontinental Ballistic Missile and does not preclude different launch platforms be it Submarine, Silo, Truck or Train based.

If you are going to go about correcting people at least get your facts straight.

as
as
April 21, 2015 5:45 pm

@ S O

evil? oppressor?
Context is the thing you need to research.
History is nothing without context.
You can not judge a countries actions in the 17 and 18 century by modern standard.

By all accounts the British empire was more based on business agreement’s then it was on evil acts and oppression.
Yes we did some terrible things but we also did things that we can be prowled off as well.

Rocket Banana
April 21, 2015 5:46 pm

If we’re going to have a go at APATS then perhaps we should pick up on Elmer Fudd’s “…supwrior Deterent” :-)

Sneak into my theater will you, you wasically wabbit?

Tiny Toy
Tiny Toy
April 21, 2015 5:53 pm

Let’s talk about credibility since that seems to be the main theme of the article. The stated purpose of the nuclear deterrent is to deter against invasion, attack, or blackmail by another nuclear power as the author explains:

Invasion: realistically you are not going to irradiate a place that you intend to invade. Not only would your own invading army die but you’d also have destroyed or seriously impaired the natural resources and assets that made the place worth capturing in the first place. So that’s out.

Attack: are we talking conventional attack or nuclear attack? If conventional, retaliation with nuclear weapons would be counter to the proportionality principle of jus ad bellum, so we would be able to do this in any way legally. If we did then international powers would be quite justified in levelling us. What about nuclear attack? Nobody can legally attack us either with nuclear weapons, they themselves would face extreme international reprisals, so threats to do so could be ignored as nobody is that mad. If they were actually that mad, then the threat of retaliation would be useless as they’d be perfectly happy to sacrifice a few of their own cities to prove their insane point. Deterrence theory is all based on your opponent not actually being mad. So this one isn’t credible either.

Lastly, blackmail. This depends on the threat of an actual attack which as we just worked out is not credible.

So in fact none of the conditions which the deterrent seeks to deter are in fact credible threats.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
April 21, 2015 6:01 pm

Brilliant article.

Nothing more to say.

as
as
April 21, 2015 6:05 pm

There are three types of nuclear weapon use.
The first is limited nuclear war that would be the use of nuclear weapons in a tactical sense.
Then there is full-scale nuclear war based between two countries attacking each other in the attempt to destroy each other.
Then there is the largest option which is the MAD based total annihilation of the entire world.

as
as
April 21, 2015 6:09 pm

Nuclear utilization target selection (NUTS)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_utilization_target_selection
Is it possible for a limited nuclear exchange?

Rocket Banana
April 21, 2015 6:25 pm

Tiny Toy,

You’re seriously missing the point in the word “deterrent”.

Having the ability to effectively level an enemy simply means that it makes them think twice before they attack or hold us to ransom.

What “international powers” do you mean when we’ve saved our country from invasion? The ones with nuclear weapons? They are the only ones we’d have to listen to. In itself demonstrating why we are such an “international power” as we stand. We hold the biggest stick (well, one of them) for prosecution of the evil.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
April 21, 2015 6:38 pm

God help us if this happens.

Somehow, some ISIS nutter gets hold of a nuclear bomb. Even a primitive one. Or even a few barrels of nuclear waste.

Then he puts it in a rusty old boat and motors up the Thames. Bang.

What then?

as
as
April 21, 2015 6:44 pm

@RT
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_terrorism

I have never heard if our government has a policy for what to do in this eventuality.
Scary idea anyway. It is also a real one.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
April 21, 2015 6:53 pm

– location of nukes:

If your concern is terrorism, Faslane holds a small quantity of nuclear material under tight security for a short time after it gets back from it’s cruise, and before it sets off on it…there are much better, bigger and more vulnerable targets.

If it is targeting, then Glasgow is clearly on the list…as is London, Birmingham, Merseyside, Manchester, West Yorkshire and Tyneside…along in all probability with big military bases all over the shop.

If it is convoys, they spend far longer in England than Scotland…and this might be a useful time to remind younger readers that when the Soviet Union shut up shop and the KGB Memoirs started to emerge it became clear that CND, along with much of the Left, fully intended to commit treason by disrupting them on the run up to war…a service bought and paid for by Moscow Gold.

That’s a BBC Documentary I’d love to see :-) but never will :-(

@WhitestElephant/ WiseApe…be fair about the American Revolution…that Mel Gibson abomination notwithstanding, it was mostly fought by True-born Englishmen on both sides, and was in many respects the final huzzah of our own Civil Wars in the previous century. :-)

@SO – Have you read anything about the actual history of the British Empire? Worth observing that whatever it’s flaws (which were many) it also had considerable virtues…abolishing slavery, thuggee and suttee, building railways, establishing systems of administration and government still in use today, creating the worlds largest democracy, establishing a world language, creating what might be the most successful multi-racial society in Europe (why do those Roma come here? that would be the pogroms… and have all those Gastarbeiter become German yet, is that “Deutsches Volk” thing still operative?)

Have you established a flourishing commonwealth based on the Reichs Generalgouverment yet? Just asking… :-)

Toodle-pip!

GNB

Chris
Chris
April 21, 2015 6:53 pm

RT – probably initiates the Tenth Crusade…

Rocket Banana
April 21, 2015 6:59 pm

RT,

…gets hold of a nuclear bomb…

Given how much effort nations go to to produce them I think we’re pretty safe.

However, should an evil nation let one slip into the wrong person’s hands then prior to this happening they need to have a stiff talk with the other nuclear nations that will in no uncertain terms explain that if enriched uranium from their facilities makes it into a warhead that gets detonated in a, b or c, they will be held liable and blatted.

A latent retaliation after analysis of the evidence is still a deterrent against back-handing some weapons grade elements.

I admit, that it is possible that we may not be able to identify the nation’s atomic signature. However, we’ll have the remainder of eternity to find out who did it and where they got the stuff from… and then, even 20 years later, bang! Promise kept.

It’s chemical and biological that scares me in terms of terrorism. In fact of those, it’s really only biological. Things like drinking water contamination or bio-bombs that go off sometime in the future within all air-conditioning units fitted by company X :-(

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
April 21, 2015 7:07 pm

@ Chris, a superficially attractive idea. I even have some Templar blood in me, and the arms were originally granted by the Duke of Lorraine before being anglicised about 300 years ago. But I’m too old and past it now to go crusading.

I think the scenario (or chemical, bio, whatever) is too frightening but also getting realistic.

I may break with TD tradition by being really quite happy to see the Security Service being very generously funded. Rather that than some useless Nellie, FRES or asthmatic jet for the Kevins.

monkey
monkey
April 21, 2015 7:23 pm

@RT
I recall reading that due to cut backs the CIA had very limited contacts and on the ground people of their own prior to 911. The emphasis had shifted heavily to satellites, telecoms intercepts etc . AQ being aware of this kept themselves dispersed and used messages passed by hand thus going unnoticed mostly prior to the attacks . Obviously the funding for electronic gathering methods needs to be sustained and increased but intel from on the ground by human operatives needs boosting even if £9,999 out of £10,000 is wasted on duff Intel that quids worth so to speak could be invaluable in completing a picture.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
April 21, 2015 7:24 pm

@RT “I even have some Templar blood in me”…errr…they were warrior-monks…poverty, chastity and obedience and all that…clearly the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree! :-)

GNB

Rocket Banana
April 21, 2015 7:30 pm

I think MI5, MI6 and GCHQ do a pretty good job for £2b a year.

I wonder how reliant they are on DI funds?

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
April 21, 2015 7:54 pm

GNB, it’s my mother’s side. My boy rejoices in his third and fourth Christian names being Templeman Lorraine after his paternal great uncle, which he doesn’t really appreciate but will one day. He has a normal first name. He also doesn’t like the double barrel surname, but that’s Spaniards for you. He chooses to use only the first half (chiefly only now famous as James IV hanged three generations from the battlements of Edinburgh Castle at the same time, all for a poxy rebellion), but I’m not fussed as its mine. His mother gets upset however.

Not sure what you mean about chastity and obedience. I have difficulty with the concepts. I am however forced to know about poverty (relatively).

Mark
Mark
April 21, 2015 8:00 pm

Trident has one purpose and one function it is has been and remains a weapon bought to deliver a second strike capability against Moscow it has no other purpose no other deterrent value. It’s a weapon of superpowers.

Yes we are leading global nation on the G7, NATO and the security council so is Germany. Our permanent seat was granted as a result of our Second World War victory and was conferred prior to this country attaining it nuclear status.

“Blighty never again is invaded, attacked or blackmailed by another nuclear power then the ultimate means of doing so is with the worlds ultimate weapon, nuclear weapons.”

I’m afraid it won’t our territory was invaded those islands that shall not be named and we have been blackmailed by a nuclear power as America did in 1956 in years to come China maybe able to do exactly as America did then.

“Perhaps the most sobering aspect of using the TLAM-N is the simple fact that during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 some ten (1.5%) of conventional missiles were lost, crashing into Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey.Consider that for a moment and compare it against the success rate of Trident, it doesn’t miss.”

An interesting play on statistics, have we test fired trident missiles on the same scale that we have launched air and sea based cruise missiles to make a claim that trident doesn’t miss. It’s a mechanical system I don’t think I need to tell you some will fail some will definitely miss. Considering trident has only ever been tested under prearranged test conditions it’s reliably is artificially high. Compared to the hundreds of cruise missiles fired in countless wars.

The nuclear cruise is an interest subject. The pentagon are this year asking for funding for the next generation of air launched nuclear cruise missiles. The argument that you don’t know if it’s nuclear or conventional tipped and that it causes confusion does not hold much water in the real world. The United States has held both weapons for decades and have fired hundreds of cruise missiles during that time it obviously did not care much for that theory.

Not only that ever time a b2, b52, b1 took off to head for there target this last half century was there target country reaching for there weapon of mass destruction to retailiate? Did saddam in 91 when we sent tornados on strike missions, we177 was in are armoury then? If you start shooting at Russia or China you need not concern yourself with the confusion issue because outside of a very limited boarder skirmish you’ll only be shooting at those countries with nuclear weapons.

It is not trident but this

“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”

That remains the cornerstone and foundation of our national defence. The funding of trident can be compared with whatever national government spending number you like to make it look good value but it’s meaningless the only number relevant to defence is its percentage of the equipment budget for the decade the subs will be under construction and that is close to 1/3rd of all spending in that area provided there is no further cuts. That is why ambition/capability in other areas will be affected.

There does however remain one selling point for trident and that is never again will a generation have to give their today in a million man army/airforce/navy to fight hedgerow by hedgerow, hill by hill, across the fields of Europe to ensure we have a tomorrow free from persecution or Tyranny.
comment image
For their sake it may be a price that needs to be paid.

The Other Chris
April 21, 2015 8:04 pm

@Simon

£2b official funding. FRES, MRA4, ASTOVL, TSR2…

President Thomas Whitmore: I don’t understand, where does all this come from? How do you get funding for something like this?
Julius Levinson: You don’t actually think they spend $20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat, do you?

/TinFoilHat

And I apologise to everyone who’ll be watching this for the rest of the evening, and those in the future who’ll ultimately see a take-down notice on YouTube.

Repulse
April 21, 2015 8:08 pm

Small point, but as the money for the Vanguard upgrade is coming from the defence budget, surely it is a matter of how much it takes for other things rather than savings that get spent elsewhere?

Repulse
April 21, 2015 8:17 pm

I’ve stated my opinion before that I would go for tactical nuclear weapons combined with BMD rather than MAD nuclear weapons any day – hence my preference for a primarily naval cruise missile based solution. I’d rather be a man with a shotgun and bullet proof vest than a reluctant suicide bomber.

as
as
April 21, 2015 8:17 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_triad
A nuclear triad refers to the nuclear weapons delivery of a strategic nuclear arsenal which consists of three components, traditionally strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The purpose of having a three-branched nuclear capability is to significantly reduce the possibility that an enemy could destroy all of a nation’s nuclear forces in a first-strike attack; this, in turn, ensures a credible threat of a second strike, and thus increases a nation’s nuclear deterrence

We are now not a nuclear triad now but for a short time in the 50s and 60s we could have been. If we had carried on development of the V force and other bomber aircraft we would now still have useful aircraft for conventional attack as well as nuclear.
We stopped development and use of land intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) as they are more of a first strike weapon as there launch sites would be attack in the first strike.
It does appear that submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) have the best survivability of all the systems. So if you can only have one system it is probable the best one to have.

Tiny Toy
Tiny Toy
April 21, 2015 8:18 pm

Simon,

It doesn’t act as a deterrent for conventional attack or blackmail since we could not use the deterrent in retaliation for that – an empty threat is not a deterrent. This is what I’m talking about when I say credible threat.

International powers are everyone, not just those with nukes. If Russia bombed Chinese cities with nukes, do you think we’d be talking to them? Trading with them? They’d be pariahs, they’d have lost all diplomatic credibility. Probably the UN would sanction every single other nation on the face of the planet to take them apart.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
April 21, 2015 8:25 pm

@Tiny Toy – Russia wouldn’t drop nukes on China because they could retaliate; and if they dropped nukes on Uzbekistan we wouldn’t drop nukes on them because they could retaliate…I think that’s rather the point… :-)

GNB

S O
S O
April 21, 2015 8:54 pm

@ Fedaykin
April 21, 2015 at 5:41 pm

No, no, no, no, no. All wrong.
A submarine is no continent, thus its missiles are no ICBMs, ever.
SRBM, MRBM, IRBM and ICBM are separate categories and none overlap with SLBM.
“SLBM” does not depend on range, but on launch platform – the other are ground-launched missiles defined by range.

@ PJS
April 21, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Nobody was talking about being sorry.
He produced a fantasy version of English history in which England was the shining white knight and the reality is it was oppressing hundreds of millions of people for centuries, period.
Besides, listing the others in the top 10 is irrelevant. Feel free to provide 10 countries who did worse if you want to cast doubts on the top 10 status. Your examples fall well short of counting up to ten. In fact, England probably fits into top five with only Russia, Spain and Germany having done worse (and Germany’s evil deeds were essentially a four years straw fire, not centuries). The Mongols and Roman Empire(s) are ancient history, not countries, and difficult to fit into such a list.

Never having been beaten to pulp at home, England’s bloated self-image is probably the biggest hindrance to an efficient resource allocation towards defence today.

Rocket Banana
April 21, 2015 8:59 pm

Tiny Toy,

It doesn’t act as a deterrent for conventional attack or blackmail since we could not use the deterrent in retaliation for that – an empty threat is not a deterrent. This is what I’m talking about when I say credible threat.

We should not, but we can and probably would if we had to. It depends what is at stake.

monkey
monkey
April 21, 2015 9:05 pm

@RT
Perhaps your Templar ancestor managed to escape the Friday the Thirteen round up by King Philip’s troops and as the Order formally ceased to exist any vows of chastity would be null and void by then or he might just have been a monk with a dirty habit :-)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
April 21, 2015 9:20 pm

No Monkey, I was just trained dirty in early years by a school nurse. She was sacked when she made extra money by appearing in Penthouse (1981).

That and a rather odd summer when I was on my own, nominally a family holiday with my French penfriend family at their villa in Annecy. But it was only ever the mother and me for days on end.

Still remember.

as
as
April 21, 2015 9:25 pm

@S O
Just checking some thing.
You do realise this is a Blog/forum about British defence issues. So people on here are going to defence the British.
Since the majority of British population are English there’s a reasonable chance quite a lot of the people on here are English so may take offence at being called evil oppressors.
Oddly enough our history is quite important to us.

monkey
monkey
April 21, 2015 9:26 pm

@RT
I almost certainly saw your school nurse in Penthouse as at that time my best friends dad was a subscriber and I enjoyed reviewing the articles on cars etc ;-)

S O
S O
April 21, 2015 9:37 pm

@as
Grow some thicker skin.

Better even, go to school. Your grammar and spelling are the most horrid I’ve seen in a long time. I’m still shuddering because of “prowled”.
Your text comprehension is lacking as well. I didn’t call anybody ‘evil oppressor’.

as
as
April 21, 2015 9:48 pm

@S O
I suggest you read the small print section in connect- about think defence section above.
No. 4 of the posting rules:- Comments that attack a person individually will be deleted.

Fedaykin
April 21, 2015 9:53 pm

@S O

Oh please do carry on digging your hole. Alas you are rather comically wrong in your assertions.

An SLBM can be an ICBM, it has nothing to do with continents. It is everything to do with range! An ICBM is a missile with a range greater than 5,500KM. The UGM-133A Trident II D5 is a Sub launched ICBM based upon the range of the missile which is over 11,000KM

BRBM,SRBM, MRBM, IRBM and ICBM are all definitions of a missiles range and are not dependent on what the launch platform is hence why all of them can be an SLBM.

Again if you are going to be a pedant and swing your knowledge d1ck around at least get your facts straight.

S O
S O
April 21, 2015 9:53 pm

To write truth is never offensive.

Fedaykin
April 21, 2015 9:59 pm

@S O

“Never having been beaten to pulp at home, England’s bloated self-image is probably the biggest hindrance to an efficient resource allocation towards defence today.”

But you are forgetting England is the greatest place in the World period. You are clearly just envious of our awesomeness. I know you will deny it which is very humble of you but really you want to be English so you could also be as amazing as us!

WhitestElephant
WhitestElephant
April 21, 2015 9:59 pm

@S O,

You keep deliberately banging on about what I said, yet you refuse to accept what I really meant. Furthermore, it was easily evident to everybody else on this thread what I meant, given the context in which I said it. So please do yourself a favour.

Following on from as, you will also find that a good many of us here subscribe to right-wing views and are extremely proud of our nations history. So what did you really expect the response here would be after labeling Britain an evil oppressor? Especially since your most recent post suggests we are worse the the Japanese! Seriously?

If we were so bloody evil, then why do Commonwealth members wish to remain so? Surely the constant reminder of how evil and oppressive we were would make them want to leave?

I think Fedaykin hit the nail on the head. All I can add is, “Remember that you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life.”

WhitestElephant
WhitestElephant
April 21, 2015 10:11 pm

@S O,

“To write truth is never offensive.”

It is, when it becomes unnecessarily petty and purposely meant to be a dig at someone.

As Margaret Thatcher once said; “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”

ixion
April 21, 2015 10:19 pm

SO

Any Post seeking to minimise Germany’s wrongdoings, is going to be just a little bit suspect.

3 humungus wars in 80 years directly responsible for the destruction of the European Empirial civilisations as world powers and trashing and bancrupting a whole continent.

Oh and did someone mention 100 million dead. The creation of the cold war and the trabant.

Having said that WEs WASAWPYK routine STILL doesnt deal with issues like just what did we get benefit wise out of gulf2 and Afghanistan? And his post colonial fantasies are almost at the level of ‘land of the great white Queen’ thinking.

And why we need Trident but the Geramans or the Italians dont.

We dont need casd, Who is going to nuke us without warning destroying the whole country?

as
as
April 21, 2015 10:21 pm

The Letter of Last Resort
The decision about nuclear apocalypse lying in a safe at the bottom of the sea.
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_spectator/2009/01/the_letter_of_last_resort.html

It is about the letter each prime minister has to write to the captain of Trident/Polaris subs.

Aubrey's Shadow
Aubrey's Shadow
April 21, 2015 10:47 pm

It’s a shame that whilst we knock about the politicians for claiming defence of the realm as the priority, and they then conduct reviews focused primarily on cost, there are are then so many posts which also attack the issue from the same cost angle. I think that for those of us that accept the need for credible nuclear weapons in the this world today, and the world we don’t yet know about in the next 30-40 years, the only question should be the selection of the most effective and potent deterrent against known and likely unknown threats we might face. I don’t see any serious evidence that there is any better system than Trident on CASD patrol, with 4 boats. Other suggestions are primarily generated from a need to be economical, and I don’t accept that as a starting point. If we are to have this capability, then there should be no compromises to potency and safety, on grounds of cost, which are negligible in the scheme of things within an economy and country of our clout.

I’d add further points, in brief:

1. Warhead pool – at bare minimum and I would increase slightly
2. Remove strategic deterrent costs from the mainstream defence budget to avoid distorting the conventional forces and inflaming the nukes for conventional debates
3. I don’t know, but might 5 boats be cheaper, given the marginal capital cost of a 5th boat, against the reduced hull wear and tear, and therefore greater life of the class/fleet ?
4. 5 boats would greatly increase credibility, ability to ‘surge’ without provocation (with more ‘training missions’) and ultimately greater potential hitting power if push came to shove, as 8 missiles I think is at the low end of credibility in one boat
5. Alternative delivery method. Again, if we are looking at this from a pure deterrent perspective, we should really consider an air-launched cruise missile, like the French have, if only for some diversity. Generic nuclear propulsion problem which grounds entire fleet for a year ? Couldn’t happen could it ….?
6. I mentioned moving the bases before, and I think we have to be realistic and recognise that the Fal / Devonport option, whilst operationally inferior, provides the only security of base tenure. We have to bite the bullet.

as
as
April 21, 2015 10:47 pm

TD can I add:-

Anglophobia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglophobia
Anti-British_sentiment
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-British_sentiment

International relations are so complicated.

as
as
April 21, 2015 10:57 pm

@Aubrey’s Shadow
“1. Warhead pool – at bare minimum and I would increase slightly”
Can we do that with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons?

Are any of the treaties we signed still valid.
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) 1 & 2.
START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) .
New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty).
etc.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
April 21, 2015 11:21 pm

@Thread…just a few random facts to help things along:

SLAVERY: Practised on their own people as Serfdom by Spain, Russia and Germany until well into the nineteenth century, having been abolished by England by about 1400; chattel slavery re-introduced into European Life by the Spanish, having borrowed the idea from the Ottoman Empire (plantations, galleys and building fortifications); most European Countries (most successfully Great Britain) then took to slave trading…but the British had white as well as black slaves in the seventeenth century (the ones Judge Jeffreys didn’t hang), started to get cold feet quite quickly, made slavery illegal in GB in 1772 (see the film “Belle); made slave trading illegal in 1807; and slavery in 1833 – by which time we were spending 40% of the Navy Bill putting the trade down, and the one of the longest-lasting humanitarian charities on earth had been founded (London Anti-Slavery Society, 1823)…Gordon was in Khartoum on their behalf (amongst other things)…and in fact much of our involvement in East Africa was about putting down the Arab Slave Trade (still extant, I believe).

Worth adding that one of the underlying reasons for the American Revolution was the unease felt by some colonies about growing anti-slavery sentiment in GB…and amongst others about Crown determination to honour treaties with the agrarian First Nations of the Eastern Seaboard, not to push them off their land, and not to commit…

GENOCIDE: Which was brought to the Americas by Spain, who killed the Caribs because they would not work…but not practised by the British Crown…meaning both First Nation Peoples and escaped slaves sought out the “Flag of Freedom” (ours) in Canada until well into the nineteenth century…and then also not practised by us in our Indian Empire (still inhabited, one observes, by Indians) or our African Empire (ditto, Africans)…although we did certainly have a bad record on managing famines in Ireland, India and amongst the Boer in the original “Concentration Camps”. The difference being that ours “concentrated” people in one place in order to manage a guerilla war but were badly run…as opposed to those of the Third Reich which were very efficiently run in order to concentrate about six million people into soap, hair to stuff mattresses, gold teeth and jewellery and so on…a real example to the Russians, who rather less efficiently still managed twenty million Kulaks, and various Tartars, Kazakhs and others in very big numbers…which takes us to…

RACISM: Pretty common in all European Cultures (possibly all cultures) but carefully codified by the Spanish (Creoles and such)…and I believe still the basis of Latin American social stratification – not many “Indios” in the Argentine cabinet (or indeed Patagonia)…turned into a full scale science by one Hitler, A and taken up with some enthusiasm in the Third Reich…less of an issue in Russia, in fairness…were we Racist…yes…but it didn’t stop us recruiting local Civil Servants and Soldiers…cheerfully fighting alongside them…and in the end leaving a trained cadre of Generals, Judges and Permanent Secretaries behind us as we left, mostly peacefully…or after a bumpy start establishing what might be Europe’s most inclusive multi-cultural society…the one with Black and Asian Brits in all political parties and both front benches (albeit not enough)…and for that matter lots of Roma in Gloomyville because they don’t fancy their chances in Romania, Hungary or the Czech Republic.

Not sure what anybody else’s Dad (or Grandad, or Great Grandad) was doing on VE Night…but mine was helping his Brother Officers from the Eleventh Armoured Division to get shedded after they felt obliged to give him the scant details of Bergen-Belsen…to get him teed up for his new job in British Zone, sorting out the shambles and tracking down some of those responsible…

GNB

as
as
April 21, 2015 11:44 pm

Thank you GNB.
History is nothing with out context.
I think you add some international context to what was going on.
History teachers and lecturers love the word context.

S O
S O
April 22, 2015 6:01 am

Context was irrelevant here. He essentially pretended there was no list of sins and England was an always victorious force for good. He pretended there were only good deeds, so the mere existence of a long list of bad deeds was the relevant counterpoint.

Some Americans have the same delusion of exceptionality. They too think that their country was always or usually victorious and a force for good. This influences the attitude towards war; war is more perceived as going to battle as shining white knight, doing good. In reality, it’s about messing mankind up, almost always doing more harm than good – including to the supposed ‘winners’.
The end result of such delusions is a high tolerance for interventions that turn into a mess and for inflated military budgets to prepare for interventions (‘for capabilities’).

It’s not nice when someone shows you the repulsive grimace of war and great power games in reality, and the defensive reactions were predictable. They merely showed that pointing at the grimace was necessary.
A UK with a long track record of military actions improving the fate of mankind would of course deserve a lot more budget for ‘capabilities’ in the future than one which waged the First World War for no gain, committed horrendous war crimes in WW2, was used to oppress hundreds of millions of people for centuries, an messed up lots of military great power games for hardly any real benefit to 99% of the people in the UK during the last hundred years alone.
A reality check is needed.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
April 22, 2015 6:26 am

The UK committed horrendous war crimes in WW2? Go on, that bit was missing from my education.

There was me thinking the UK in WW2 was mostly about stopping Hitler, rightly, and resisting Japanese attempts to takeover our Asian colonies (and neither country was right there to want to retain/gain foreign resources).

S O
S O
April 22, 2015 6:57 am

Then you’ve missed the terror bombing campaign against civilians, which murdered much more people than the Rwanda genocide, for example. You won’t find much non-English literature that’s as lenient as the English one on the subject. The whitewashing is almost entirely limited to English publications.

Nick
Nick
April 22, 2015 6:59 am

@Aubrey’s Shadow @thread

Since the financial crisis of 2007/8, with the attendant collapse of tax revenue, the creation of truly massive tax losses, the financial bail-out, asset purchase schemses, special lending schemes etc, Government expenditure has been very heavily constrained. Even now, 7 years after the crisis, we are still running a government overdraft of around 100 billion pa (c5 % of GDP), with a current government which intends to create a deficit within 5 years and an opposition which would certainly take longer than that.

Whatever we might like to think, getting he deficit to at least 2.5 % of GDP in 5 years is going to require massive expenditure cuts (notwithstanding the forecast increase in tax revenue due to growth) in an global environment stuffed full of significant economic risks. Being realistic, government expenditure is going to be constrained for at least another 10 years (to 2025).

Keeping to the current defence expenditure forecast is going to be very challenging as it is highly likely that expenditure in the currently protected areas of the budget will turn out to be higher than forecast (and is predicated on efficiency savings, which as we all know never tend to materialize to the extent all governments plan). Worst still new defence equipment tends to be very complex and difficult to forecast the cost of let alone deliver on time. This seems to be exacerbated by government flip flops and apparently woolly thinking from the MoD.

It seems to me that it is entirely possible that in the 2020’s we will be facing a real tradeoff between the cost of replacing the V class boats and conventional defence purchases (F35, Type 26, Army equipment etc) even if the current expenditure forecast purports to show we can do both.

This is the background to the current election; we face hard choices whatever we do and vote for. Unsurprisingly our politicians fail to mention this and our media seems to be going along with the pretense.

You might think I’m being pessimistic, perhaps I am. I really hope I am.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
April 22, 2015 7:02 am

It’s all pretty much a mute point as we will get either 3 or 4 replacement subs after the general election.

The real crux of the issue is that the budget for the replacement will be drawn from the core defence budget and procurement budget. This is going to have a very large impact on the ability to afford future equipment purchases, as I have shown before from the likes of RUSI .

‘If a further 10 percent real reduction in total spending were to take place, peak nuclear spending could reach as much as 14 percent of total defence spending by the mid-2020s. In both cases, nuclear spending would fall to around 5–6 per cent of total defence in the late 2030s before starting to rise again in the early 2040s, as preparations began for introducing ‘Son of Successor’ into service in the 2050s. The opportunity costs involved in the successor programme will be particularly evident during the period between2018 and 2035,when the bulk of capital spending on new submarines is due to take place. According to the latest MoD Equipment Plan, around 35 per cent of total committed MoD spending on new equipment procurement is due to be on submarine and deterrent systems by 2021/22.

So I would not hold any breath for more than 8 at the most Type 26, Ocean replacement? any more than 3 sqns of F35 probably, Puma replacement? what is the OSD for Bulldog and Mastiff again, 2030ish? I’m starting to see why, let alone all the smaller unglamorous bits of kit that will not get any media attention that need will modernising during that time.

As a nation can we afford the deterrent? Yes undoubtedly, but can we afford the deterrent with the current defence budget (which we all know will be cut again in real terms along with all the further cuts the public sector will need to make) and still maintain a credible conventional capability? I’d argue no.

We are as a nation committed to building high speed rail links on the notion that it is for the national good, surely funding of the SSBN renewal should come from the national purse?

I would have no problem with the day to day running costs of the system coming from the defence core budget (although I see no reason why Department for Business Innovation & Skill could not throw some money in the pot for the system) of the total budget which would surely be a large enough part of the budget for any single use system. When added to the acquisition costs it is going to have a detrimental effect on our conventional capability I cannot see any way in which it cannot.

Is a ‘Think Defence’ campaign required to get the acquisition costs of the renewal out of the core defence budget? There are a lot of learned, articulate and passionate gentlemen who comment on this site, is this something that could be done?

monkey
monkey
April 22, 2015 7:16 am

@S O
“messed up lots of military great power games for hardly any real benefit to 99% of the people in the UK during the last hundred years alone.”
Are you saying Great Britain should of not interfered in European politics by other means to quote Von Clausewitz? Should we of let the Second Reich and the Hapsburg Empire conquer France , Italy and Eastern Europe including Russia? The Third Reich been appeased so the could ‘purify’ Europe from the Urals to the Atlantic? Allowed Japan to conquer and enslave all of Asia? There is at least 10% of British Citizen , defended from the old Empire who wouldn’t be here today as their ancestors would be dead long before they were born. A Greater Germania eh.

Chris
Chris
April 22, 2015 7:16 am

DN – ref moving CASD update costs away from MOD budgets – that would instantly highlight a seriously sub-2% GDP defence spend. If that were the case, I would expect our conscientious MPs to ‘rationalise’ or ‘simplify’ departmental divisions such that the likes of DfID would be MOD departments, the MOD budget would include mass contributions to NHS and similar organisations to cover care of PTSD veterans and so on. Moving the big black boats out of Defence’s Piggy Bank is not going to miraculously invent more funding for non-CASD defence aspects; the only issue for the politicians is their embarrassment of falling far short of the spend target they themselves demanded all NATO members meet.

Rocket Banana
April 22, 2015 7:20 am

Taking the successor cost out of the core defence budget does nothing to the funds we have as a nation to afford it and our conventional forces.

I don’t understand the 3 or 4 boat thing. The cost models suggest boat 4 will cost £2b.

Three boats: £14b
Four boats: £16b

It’s two boats that is the real money saver at £10b.

If you use the American Ohio replacement figures then boats 2-4 all cost £3.3b with the first of class costing about £8.3b. A model I think is much more realistic.

Question for Gloomy (I accept opinion),

Was the world safer and more stable before or after the collapse of the British Empire?

Nick
Nick
April 22, 2015 7:26 am

Chris

we’re heading below 2 % already (I read someone suggest that we’d by at 1.9 % now in FY 2015/16). The only real question is how much below ?

In any case, even if replacement was funded outside the Defence budget, it would still count as Defence in any stats compiled. David’s solution is correct (imo), but omits the difficulty in finding the additional cash from somewhere else.

I don’t see any politicians being embarrassed; Germany is pretty much the only European government capable of increasing spending from current levels.

Nick
Nick
April 22, 2015 7:29 am

Simon

you might say the last time the world was “stable” was in the 1860’s. Bismarck has a lot to answer for !

S O
S O
April 22, 2015 7:31 am

@monkey
“Should we of let the Second Reich and the Hapsburg Empire conquer France , Italy and Eastern Europe including Russia?”

Your fantasy version of history isn’t relevant. The British and Americans are still ill-informed about what Germany was up to in WWI after a hundred years because they bought into British wartime propaganda and never learned afterwards. The actual war goals were less extreme, and not even adopted officially. Italy wasn’t even threatened by the Central Powers when the UK joined the war. Russia WAS “Eastern Europe”.
This draft was showed the worst case:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septemberprogramm

PJS
PJS
April 22, 2015 7:38 am

@ S O

to quote you directly ‘England’s history of being oppressor and evil is easily in the top 10 of history.’ So, when you then state, ‘I didn’t call anybody ‘evil oppressor’.’ perhaps I misunderstand you and something is lost in translation?

Further it was you, sir, that suggested England was ‘easily in the top 10 of history’ so I feel entitled to challenge you on your statement…

Moreover, like most revisionists, why let facts get in the way of a good headline.

Immediately you qualify any list by a caveat, ‘The Mongols and Roman Empire(s) are ancient history, not countries, and difficult to fit into such a list.’ Not unreasonable, though suggests any list you compile is not only highly subjective [isn’t all history?] but, may I ask, when does your, timeline for ‘evil, oppression’ start, then?

Then the classic apologist argument, to quote you, ‘Germany’s evil deeds were essentially a four years straw fire’ … so your list is about the length of time that oppression existed and not the extent of the evil deeds? Help me out, please, as I dont want to go to the effort of a list and you move the goalposts…

Nick
Nick
April 22, 2015 7:47 am

@SO

I’m not sure I understand your point.

I know this is simplistic and the detail was much much more complicated.. but

Following German unification and the creation of the Imperial German Empire, after the Franco-Prussian war, the UK became increasingly focused on Europe. Whilst the UK had little interest in dominating Europe per se, as with Napoleon it wasn’t seen to be in our national interest to have Europe dominated by one power, especially a hostile one. World War 1 was surely inevitable.

monkey
monkey
April 22, 2015 8:00 am

@S O
“The great territorial gains proposed in the Septemberprogramm required making vassal states of Belgium and France, in Western Europe, and seizing great stretches of Russia, in Eastern Europe.”
As I said a Greater Germania. Perhaps we should of stayed out of it let it happen , we could of still imported French wine and we had little interest for anything in the east and the EU would of formed a lot earlier , who’s version of history is fantasy?

The Other Chris
April 22, 2015 8:00 am

Want to know why we can’t all just lay down our arms and all get along nicely?

Read the tone of the recent comments above.

It doesn’t matter which country you’re from, your country (and mine) has done some fucked up shit to people in another country as well as their own.

As a result, you may (or may not) be shocked to find out that there is some genuine, still living and breathing, utter hatred that will be exhibited towards you personally, merely because you happen to have been born and share a nationality with some dickwads who performed some fucked up shit at some point.

So can we tone down the country bashing and personal insults please? Nobody here can cast a first stone, so get off your soapboxes and/or quit trolling*.

* Delete as applicable.

Rocket Banana
April 22, 2015 8:07 am

Pax Romana
Pax Mongolica
Pax Britannica
Pax Americana

Who’s next?

S O
S O
April 22, 2015 8:50 am

Wow, monkey. The link spells out that the “plan” was but a draft by a mere staffer who was influenced by some lobbyists and you pretend it was official policy. I showed the link because even the flimsiest bit of evidence of expansion plans was actually more modest than the propaganda people still believe in.

When people believe that a war was fought to avert a great evil when in reality it was fought for basically no good reason whatsoever*, that influences their attitude towards war. This distortion led and leads to death, mutilation, crimes, destruction and waste of wealth.

Just as people fall prey to other delusions.
A single crude imaginary nuke in Iran’s hands lets freak out millions of anglophone people, but as a nuclear armament of the UK nothing short of the most expensive approach possible (SSBN/SLBM) may suffice as scary enough.
How exactly fits this into one brain at the same time? How much insularity of thought is required for not paying attention to the very real deterrence value of for example the very, very limited nuke delivery capabilities of Pakistan?
THEY HID USAMA BIN LADEN FOR YEARS IN AN ARMY GARRISON CITY and the Americans still played nice to Pakistan. How much evidence for the effective deterrence by nuclear warheads without super-sophisticated delivery means alone would be required to prove the point if this doesn’t suffice?

*: Considering Belgium: The British could have offered a separate peace in exchange for a withdrawal from Belgium, feel free to find such an offer.
Belgium was never the real reason for the London’s involvement. The government in London WANTED to participate in the war, without having any proportionate reasons for it.