Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Britain Risks Losing Its Nuclear Deterrent

Posted by K.E. White on March 19, 2009

Britain might lose its nuclear deterrent owing to construction delays in revamping  UK submarine forces. It’s a good thing PM Brown is talking about cutting back their nuclear forces. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, British nuclear forces are in American hands.

From Bloomberg:

The U.K. risks losing its nuclear weapons deterrent if its plan to build a new generation of Trident nuclear submarines falls behind schedule as many other defense projects have, a panel of lawmakers said today.

The Public Accounts Committee, including members of Parliament from the three main parties, said the submarine program is still in the “concept phase” and needs critical decisions by next September to remain on time. The Ministry of Defense plans to begin building the ships before the design is complete to maintain its schedule, the report said.

“The department’s timetable for completing the design and build process for the replacement of the submarines is extremely tight,” Edward Leigh, a Conservative member of Parliament who leads the committee, said in a statement in London. Its track record on delivering projects on time “is not exemplary.” 

And from BBC News:

“Our programme to have a renewed nuclear deterrent will depend on yet to be taken decisions by the US on the dimensions of the successor missile,” he said.

“The MoD is taking steps to reduce the risk of a new missile not fitting in our submarines but there is no guarantee it will.”

But the MoD said there was no doubt that missiles and missile components in future submarines would be compatible.

Defence procurement minister Quentin Davies said the UK’s ability to maintain the submarine deterrent on a continuous basis was not in doubt.

Gordon Brown said earlier this week that he was prepared to include the UK’s nuclear arsenal in multilateral arms control talks. 

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