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The Nuclear Chain
The nuclear litany goes like this -
Where does Trident fit into this dangerous pattern?
One pretext on which Britain might possibly use Trident is to give legitimacy to a US nuclear attack by participating in it, (just as Tony Blair legitimised George Bush's invasion of Iraq). In a crisis the very existence of our Trident might make it harder for a UK prime minister to refuse to take part.
The truth is that Trident is not an independent deterrent. Essential components are leased from the US. UK Trident submarines have to return their missiles regularly to the US for maintenance.
Britain is no longer forced to be part of the Nuclear Chain. We would be safer without Trident. Its principal role now is to secure our seat at the Top Table.
The alternative would be to scrap Trident, rethink the nature of "security", and place Britain at the head of the non-nuclear powers - the majority of the countries in the world.
The 2021 Defence Review
The 2021 Defence Review said the UK would increase its nuclear arsenal by 40 per cent,
to 260 warheads. The UK had previously undertaken to cut its stockpile to 180 warheads
by the mid-2020s.
The UK remains a signatory of the Treaty on the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Article 6 of which commits countries
negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear
arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament".
|When will Trident submarines be ready?|
The Government has announced that production of the fourth Astute-class submarine HMS Audacious is nearly 17 months behind schedule, a delay that impacts on the timetable for building the Dreadnought-class submarines, which are scheduled to carry the UK's nuclear weapons system. HMS Audacious was due to be handed over to the Navy in August 2019 but, due to a fault, handover was postponed to 2021. Astute-class submarines are nuclear-powered but conventionally armed.
The immediate consequence of the current delay will be that the Trafalgar-class submarine which HMS Audacious was due to replace, HMS Trenchant, is likely to have its service life extended further than originally planned, meaning greater maintenance costs. There are delays to the next Astute-class submarine, due to be built in the space vacated by HMS Audacious, and to the third Dreadnought-class submarine, which will be built in the same space afterwards. The government no longer publishes in-service dates for the Dreadnought submarines, but it has been suggested that the MoD may struggle to keep the current nuclear-armed submarines at sea in the early 2030s, particularly if there are delays in building their successors.
This is only the latest in a series of delays and issues for replacing Trident, Britain's nuclear weapons system, casting further doubt on the viability of the programme.
At a time of financial austerity, who needs Trident? There are better ways to spend 200 bn pounds!