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ian potter

This article is absolutely true.We gain security and international respect on the top table by having trident .
The cretins who believe they are not a necessity have indeed experienced life relatively free from conflict and in a secure life style .
People like the labour leader should enter the real world .
I for one have no doubt trident is an absolute must ..
I also believe our defence spending should be at least 3%.


Defence spending is too low I agree. Interesting that we are slated to spend at least 300 Million GBP on foreign aid over the next 30 years! Think of all the flood defences, hospitals, schools etc that would build.


does trident need a submarine as a platform? the new successor programmes could cost more than theri gional scaled down type 45 and 26 programmes

Andrew Wilde

You idiot. Mind you there is a funny side to your comment if you consider the complete lack of a surface to surface missile on either Type 45 or Type 26 warships. Trident may be over-doing it a bit though!

Andy Coombes

Cretin. 🙂


LOL, yes, I noticed that one too ! Can’t speak for all comments, but have noticed that a large number of comments ‘for Trident’ feel the need to resort to unsavioury language to get their point across. Very skeptical about articles from people whos job it is to take part or fight in wars. Although the article does try for balance, still slightly biased in my view.


if we are so short of submarines why are there 19′ laid up’ at rosyth and devonport, including the decomissioned trafalgars, and just about the entire swiftsure class


They are laid up because their operational life is over, much the same as when you scrap a car. Only because of the reactor compartments (they are de-cored) still have low levels of residual radiation, they are left in one piece until the break up and proper disposal process is undertaken once it is finally agreed what that should be.


Perhaps a return to the 90’s when we actually invested in our people would make the Navy great once again. It’s not all about the latest gear and tech, if we can’t man our ships and submarines with enthused and quality sailors and engineers what’s the point spending billions on the tech?

Oscar Taylor

I see nothing about the revolution in undersea drone technology that will render the secret nature of the deterrent obsolete. If we are to have nuclear weapons surely the way forward is a coordinated strategy of icbms, slbms and carrier jet launched weapons, like the French, rather than an expensive American bought system that will soon become significantly less reliable as a supposed deterrent.


Terrorists would need to gain access to nuclear material from a state. Knowledge that a Nuclear response could be a result of handing over the material may make a state reconsider. Additionally the terror that Hussein may have released on Coallition forces in Gulf was negated by his knowledge that Nuclear response may be the outcome

Malcolm Purvis

A very well thought out piece, totally agree with the conclusions, I would go further and bolster all our armed services to combat future adversaries, hoping we would be OK simply by not being seen as a force to be feared by potential enemies through diverting defense spending to building hospitals is very dangerous.


sick warmongers if you ask me,, it was the war to end all wars… if we have not evolved if we cant use dialect then we are finished , I see not one valid reason for annihilation , first strike second wave,, if they throw a bomb at us as humans we survive but who wants to survive in a world stained with ego`s greed and a ruse to hood wink us into thinking this way,, scrap our nuclear deterrent and lets get by on a home guard, defending and in no way attacking,, its sick to even consider this weapon of mass destruction,, its devide and conquer, I’m sorry I’m not a patriot but a human.. let us observe this my sheeple because you nod and wave flags for a Nazi queen, you my best imbecilic non entities must know this;; you can research the hell out of it;; you scared rabbits in the head light cant survive or think for your selves,, we are ruled by patients of a mental calibre hell bent on destruction of others,, my friend you sheep are ruled by a different type of human, from the pyramids to the now, you are ruled and controlled by RH negative blood types that make up only 7% of the population of earth, you are there fodder , your not like them because you are all the same 93% of you ruled by a minority and sold to you through your tv licences you pay to be lied to, most watch gladiator football do Monday to Friday, you not only make me sick but I feel very sorry for you and your children,, you are slowly be eroded of what it means to be human, I hope if they do build it that they turn it on you


You are not very intelligent are you. Maybe you should come down and join the real world for once

Andrew Wilde

Are you Putin in disguise?


I’m sure the Swedish steel industry will be very glad of the huge order for the raw material as britain can apparently no longer make its own. And when the Swedish Democrats gain power (or a lot more say) the muslims kicked out will be welcomed by Corbyn, Boris and Galloway. Waving rainbow flags probably in the soon to be Londinistan. What then for Trident? Launch it straight up and down on the enemys within?


We dont own trident. It is a system bought from USA. We cannot launch a nuclear strike without the Americans permission. Therefore all of the above arguments are moot. We would be better off loaning nuclear warheads from nato, the same as other non-nuclear states such as Turkey has done.

David Stephen

You are wrong. You are also a clown shoe.


Turkey doesn’t have any nuclear weapons, loaned or not. NATO doesn’t have any nuclear weapons either (to loan or use). Three nations who make up a part of NATO do, but they don’t loan them.
And yes we can launch Trident missiles without US permission. We bought the missiles (but not the warheads or submarines) from the USA and we also pay for them to maintain them for us (just the missiles). When in our hands however, there is nothing to stop the UK launching independent of US actions and/or approval.
As the author said, the “we can’t launch without US permission” argument is frequently trotted out but it’s not true and spacious repetition won’t make true.


Whenever Trident is referred to by the UK, it is referred to as an ‘independent’ nuclear deterrent. This ISN’T technically accurate. From what I have read, the UK is the ONLY country to both have to PURCHASE it’s nukes AND have them MAINTAINED by another country (USA). If at any point in the future, we ever fell out with America, that would effectively render Trident useless (never mind the point about whether it’s really relevant or not in todays world). So it ISN’T completely ‘independent’. Also, it’s being stated that we can fire without permission from USA. Whilst technically this is TRUE, it has been suggested that it’s highly unlikely that America would let the UK fire at will without its consent. The idea that its in use every day (in other words, that it’s an insurance policy), is also HIGHLY debatable.


Sadly sir you have been misinformed or have misunderstood information’s and facts and most of your utterational statements are totally incorrect. I would be shame to find out the hard way, who can do what with who’s deterrent, especially if your stood at the other end! Trust me …. our system is completely INDEPENDENT, that is what Independent means in terms of our independent deterrent. Sadly many of the commenters on this thread are not informed of the facts…..


It is independant in terms of once a boat is at sea it can launch without further support from either UK or US, that is the point of a second strike weapon it has to be able to launch even if UK is devestated.
Independence however does not really matter if UK, US and France all agree on policy, it only matters if we want to use it and the US disagrees. I can not think of a scenario but say PM Boris wants to blow up Argentina the next time they make a noise about the Falklands. I cannot see the US carrying on as normal the next time we turn up at Kings Bay asking for some fresh missiles.
I think it is independant to use once, realistically it would take a lot of investment to make it fully independant of the yanks, and as a last resort that is what you really need.
If you can depend on the yanks you don’t really need it at all.


The US does ‘loan’ nuclear weapons as part of a combined NATO response, those are under control of US in peacetime but based in and planned to be used in wartime by air forces in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Turkey. There is a regular debate over whether they should be finally be withdrawn back to the US.


I accept the argument that as a true strategic detterant aimed at another nuclear power where we would have to be in a position to survive a first strike and then hit back needs to be an SSBN force, and I accept the argument that if we need to provide CASD then 4 boats are a minimum.
A minimum force to threaten a future Saddam or Iran or Ghadaffi or Galtieri could be a much smaller and cheaper force, it would be an irrelevance in a WW3 v Russia scenario but which is more likely.
However as you accept in the article when Trident replaced Polaris in the 80’s we were spending 4.5% of GDP we are now spending 2%. However much want to argue you wish that was not true it is not going to change.
Brexit will either be bad for the economy (say remainer) or a few tough years but worth it in the long run (the leavers). Either way defence will get 2% of a smaller overall economy over the next few years. The drop in the £ means the price of F-35 and P-9 just went up.
Is there anyway to keep the present boats going longer, delay successor till new Frigates are in place?

Andrew Wilde

With what authority and knowledge do you make this statement Paul.


What Royal Navy ? Smaller than Holland’s Big carriers .. No planes .. No crews.. level of Seamanship shocking. A class not fit for purpose. Destroyers constant engine failures.


Trident is essentially a bluff, eventually someone will pluck up the courage to call it, and if the only moral choice will be to not retaliate.


and god forbid its not jeremy corbyn’s call

Andrew Wilde

Trident is only a bluff when you have well equipped conventional Armed Forces that will make a prospective enemy give you a second look and think ‘maybe not’. Trident becomes an absolute reality when it becomes your first line of defence in the absence of any credible conventional defence.


Anyone ever thought of using Cruise missiles instead? After all that is what they were designed for.


There is one question that this article doesn’t seem to answer – “would we ever use it?”
If we used Trident to – just as an example – destroy Murmansk, there would certainly be a retaliatory strike, probably against one of the largest UK cities. We have to assume a second-strike capability, presumably nuclear but conceivably chemical or biological.
So a PM deciding to use Trident would know that he was probably trading, say, Manchester for Murmansk. Would any PM do this? Would he or she be right to do it? If there is any doubt over preparedness to use it, a deterrent loses its value.
With the possible exception of Mrs Thatcher, I can’t think of one PM would I could be sure would use it. Eden or Alec Douglas Home would have dithered. Wilson wouldn’t have used it, and neither would Major. Callaghan might have – just possibly – and it’s hard to know about Blair or Brown. David Cameron simply wouldn’t have the backbone.
So, if you’re sitting in Moscow (or wherever) and think you can win a conventional war, does Britain’s Trident really deter? Somehow, I doubt it.

Iain Gillespie

Its not welcome in Scotland—- if you want it so much then base it in South England waters


I believe that there are some fairly comprehensive contingency plans for just such a scenario if Nicola gets her way!
30-50 thousand new jobs to build new facilities in the remaining part of the Union. Around 15 thousand on-going base jobs and all the enterprise that brings to a regions economy would be good for Blighty! I’m with you mate, move it all out of Scotland and the sooner the better!!

Andrew Wilde

Is it possible to turn the steel from the de-commissioned subs in Rosyth Dockyard into barbed wire. Not that I can think of a use for the barbed wire of course!!

Davy B

i welcome it in Scotland think where it is based makes a difference ? fallout from an attack on England wouldn’t stop at the border

Andrew Wilde

Love to but it would mean taking tens of thousands of Haggis eaters down south to support it.

Terry Frost

Life is simple, If you have no locks on your doors some bastard will steal your stuff or just move in and fit their own locks. We have to have a deterrent.


Stop storing up earthly treasures then where thieves can break in and steal them. Instead store up riches in heaven.


Google “the wrath of the lamb”


It is immoral to kill a human being


Jesus is coming

Darran sadler

Listening to a documentary where a professor of something or another has said and I quote “At current birth rates the UK will be a Muslim majority by the year 2045-50 and as such we can safely assume that they will choose and elect a Muslim prime minister as they have done with mayors wherever there was a Muslim majority. The maths are a fact, irrefutable.
So in 30 years as this weapon system is about to come into service in all likely Ness it will do so and straight into the hands of an Islamic government is that really wise. My worry is that Israel will see the changes happening in our country will see a Muslim majority and the inevitable Islamic government on the horizon, and will ask itself can they afford to let these weapons come under the control of such a government, they know once the weapon system is in service and the submarines at see the chance to take them out will be gone, so they will have to be destroyed before that happens. So it would appear to me to spend billions of pounds on a weapon system we will essentially be giving to an Islamic government just as it comes into service is not only dangerous irresponsible but a total waste of money because the Israelis will destroy it in a pre-emptive strike rather than risk letting a Islamic government have control of it so far from making us safe it’s going to invite danger, and God alone knows what environmental damage it will cause once Israeli fighter jets have blown it to smithereens.


Whatever your taking, I want some !
That is a fantastic WHAT IF, WHAT IF, WHAT IF worthy of one of those near future films where everything has gone mad.
Sadly you also assume that all Muslims want to destroy anything ‘WEST’ or take it over.
Also if ‘Your Maths facts are irrefutable then what difference would having or not having a deterrent make to the scenario you suggest as they would simply take over the human race including the Israeli’s!
We could ALL sit and invent some fantastic and extreme circumstances to try and strengthen a particular view or if your up for it, we can take a realistic measure based on reality. We need to be careful when we become too paranoid about maybe’s or we’ll all end up in the asylum…
The Deterrent is to ensure peace by the RETURN threat of Mutual Destruction against a nasty minded superpower or other nation with nuclear weapons that COULD be thinking about having a go at you.
In that context it is not part of our CHEST of waging war against other types of threat, NOT related to Nuclear Weapons.
Hence the truth that we have never had cause to deploy-launch our deterrent since they came into service in their various forms and only since the 1960’s on submarines.
So history tells us that since 1945 til now we have had plenty of strife, conflict and war across the globe that we as a nation have been involved in. It maybe would have been on occasion perhaps simpler or more convenient to just drop a sunshine bucket Polaris or Trident payload here or there to make a problem go away or settle the conflict early. This could have been justified by some as it would reduce British, NATO & Other Friendly casualties. It could also be argued that war or conflict casualties for a region could also be reduced overall by the use of nuclear weapons as long you accept the initial massive death bloom.
For the best of reasons (The Deterrent Theory) we haven’t deemed it appropriate to ‘press the buttons’. Why not you ask ? Because as we are an advanced responsible nation our deterrent purpose, is in potential retaliation to NUCLEAR attack from others and not outward aggression or minor problem solvers.
As I began writing this response I realised that it is so easy to wander off the core argument on this emotive subject which has hooks into all sorts of debate but hopefully I have kept my focus on the REAL issue here and hopefully other contributors will be able to hold focus as well.
If I am lucky enough to live another 30 years, I will try to remember Darran’s prediction above and take a measure of its nearness of outcome. I am fairly certain that the world will adjust our population figures for us in the not to distant future as we have not been very good caretakers of the Earth. Our little squabbles about religion, borders, wealth, ownership and so on will seem rather silly then.


Given my sense of the current threat environment, I believe the Navy to be the most important arm of the armed forces. In particular, I believe the long term threat to the current rules-based international order requires a strong eye on the Pacific in order to deter any unfortunate miscalculations. To this end, a strong naval capability is key. However, my sense is that Trident is not a wise allocation of resources within the Royal Navy. Frankly, my sense is that in any situation requiring their use, the US would step up to the plate and provide nuclear deterrence for the UK. I admittedly assume that if the money were not invested in Trident that the RN would be able to re-allocate for other purposes, and not that the money would be re-allocated to the other services or for non-military purposes. On what could the money be better spent within the RN? I’ll list some ideas (I’m not an expert on the RN specifically, so take with an appropriate grain of salt should any of the following be impractical):
– upgrade Type 45s in order to include a Ballistic Missile Defence capability, and to improve long-range ASuW capabilities
– upgrade current plan for Type 26s to have a more robust local area air defence capability
– convert QE Class carriers to carry the longer-legged F-35C and – crucially – procure E-2Ds to fly off them as well.
– purchase a larger fleet of SSNs
I believe that UK (and indeed, Western) interests are best served by maintaining a strong conventional naval deterrent in the Pacific. FWIW, I agree with the short shrift given to media quoting entire lifecycle cost for military acquisition projects, as the main effect seems to be to simply undermine the project in the eyes of the public. Nevertheless, 100B GBPs over 30 years remains a significant sum, one that I believe could be put to better use within the RN.

T B D'Agostino

The problem here is financial and we need to cut our coats according to the cloth available. We are talking here of a weapon of last resort, that because of our continued underfunding of the RN is slowly moving towards our only weapon of choice to deter powerful aggressors and that is worrying.
Our strategic goals need to be more focused to deal with this underfunding.
We are part of NATO, an organisation that is made up of underfunded component nations and we need to address that first and foremost. We should sit down with our partners and plan our strategic aims, then agree on each nation providing a balanced contribution. With the USA providing the big stick of trident and the UK providing our skill set, hunter killer submarines to track the Russians, strike carriers and amphibious capabilities. The rest of NATO supply the greater escort units. This would provide the true deterrent of a strong balanced NATO.

Trevor Drury MBA

In view of the number of potential nuclear weapons capable adversaries would it not be better to build 4 new subs but with similar missiles to our conventional subs which could at times of increased tension have tipped with nuclear war heads to any of our subs at other times increase the size of the fleet that can be deployed

We must at all cost Keep our country safe and sound by keeping our Nuclear Deterent, which has done for 50 years

Meirion X

I very much think the Dreadnought program is the main source of drain of the Royal Navy’s budget, over the next crucial decade for RN fleet procurement. Priced at around £9 billion per sub. is of poor value of money for CASD, and needs to be cancelled. The UK does not need the range of Trident D5 missile. A Trident C4 or like type missile should fit in a Astute class sub. and will be sufficient to cover the range of the North east Atlantic to Eurasia. Only the USA needs Trident D5 for the range, of the vast Pacific ocean as well as all of the North Atlantic.
If the UK needed to threaten China now, without war with Russia as well, a Vanguard sub. would need to be sent to the Pacific anyway, just think about it please!
So why not develop the Astute class for CASD with 4 new build ‘stretched Astute’s with a added missile compartment equipped with a new missile. Cost should be around £2 billion per sub.
Maybe UK could buy USA’s old C4 missiles and upgrade them.
Some of the money saved should be spent on a more capable mid range fleet escorts and BMD for UK base’s.

Steve Coltman

Exactly! C4 might be a tight squeeze but how much would it cost to develop a ballistic missile from scratch? Think about it. Its not like building a new fighter aircraft which requires state of the art technology. For a missile we don’t need anything vastly better than the 50-year old Polaris. £9bn is an obscene amount to spend on one submarine especially as at least two out of four will be sitting ducks for Russian conventional cruise missiles. The Dreadnaught program is a dreadful mistake, we need a less expensive and more distributed / dispersed deterrent than this. All the existing Astutes could be retrospectively converted with an extra missile compartment as well as new builds giving a dual-purpose fleet of a dozen or so SSBNs.


The right and wrong attitudes to have with nuclear weapons-
The right attitude –
”If we did our job well they would never be used”
French nuclear forces veteran
The wrong attitude-
”As far as I’m concerned the russians were going to bomb us so I was going to bomb them”
Whiskey sodden rant at the RAF bar by v-force veteran.
Wrong attitude 2 –
”….You’d have probably been more than delighted to hit the button”
Rum soaked rant from former RN Polaris sub captain propping up the bar. Before tests weeded out the nut jobs.

Dexter Fishborn

All points accepted. The weakness though, is the US support piece. Any international crisis, would take months to develop, by which time the US support would have long since disappeared if it were contrary to US policy. As such it generous at best to say it is partially independent, but practically we are wholly dependent on the US.

John Mark

Es necesario tener una fuerza nuclear disuasoria en mínimos, porque la nación necesita defenderse de halcones internacionales qué no respetan la democracia y gobiernan con mano de hierro en Estados seudodemocraticos, ejemplos tenemos en Irán, Turquía, Rusia, China, etc.


The Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons with Russia, UK and US guaranteeing its independence, wether we like it or not if Ukraine had a nuclear arsenal I am confident Russia would have thought twice about invading.

in the past Russia has confirmed it had plans to use tactical nukes for European countries that did not have their own deterrent, so wether we like this or not it is critical that the UK maintains its nuclear capability and its seat at 5he top table where I believe we stand up for fairness and those who can’t.

Oh dear

Haynes manual How to run the country says on page 112
”the UK nuclear arsenal is American in origin;in effect it would never be fired without prior consent from the white house”
While page 193 states
”Trident is a US supplied system and britain could not realistically use its weapons independently ”