Royal Navy Vanguard class submarine

Trouble ahead for the UK nuclear programme?

Yesterday the Nuclear Information Service published their report “Trouble ahead risks and rising Costs in the UK nuclear weapons programme”. This is a brief response to some of the points and recommendations made in the report.

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Royal Navy celebrates 50 years of continuous at sea deterrent patrols

2019 is a landmark year in the history of the Royal Navy. For fifty years submarines have conducted Operation Relentless, carrying the UK’s nuclear deterrent to sea. To mark the achievement a series of high-profile public events will be held this year.

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Has the time come to the move the cost of Trident replacement out of the MoD budget?

On 29th July 2010 the then Chancellor, George Osborne, announced that the MoD would have to fund the capital costs of replacing the Vanguard class submarines (Successor) from within its own core equipment procurement budget, instead of from the Treasury Reserve as had been expected. Defence Minister at the time, Liam Fox argued strongly that funding Successor from within the MoD would be hugely damaging to the rest of defence. He lost his argument with Osborne, but time has proved him right about the consequences.

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Theresa May aboard HMS Ocean

Can defence issues impact the election debate?

Ironically perhaps, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s pacifist stance has caused defence issues to take slightly greater prominence in the election campaign that might be expected. Tories have been quick to seize on Labour’s “weakness” on defence. Although they are right about Corbyn, the Tories are on very shaky ground saddled by their own poor record on defence. The electorate is again largely faced with a choosing between the lesser of two evils. While global threats continue to intensify, the sorry state of UK defence urgently needs to be treated as more than just a sideshow in the pre-election political Punch and Judy.

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Nicola Sturgeon Royal Navy

Nicola Sturgeon has left politics to join the Royal Navy

Today it has emerged that the First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party has resigned from public life to pursue a career in the navy. Speaking recently she said, “I’ve been a politician for 30 years but the navy has finally given me a purpose and a chance to turn my life around”.

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Submarine Trident missile launch

Why we should have every confidence in the Trident missile system

On 22nd January the Sunday Times revealed that a routine Trident missile test conducted by HMS Vengeance off the US coast in June 2016 had been a failure. A telemetry problem had caused the unarmed missile to be destroyed in flight. Previous test-firings have been announced to the media but this test had remained secret. Government stands accused of hiding a politically inconvenient fact close to the time when Parliament was due to approve the Trident renewal program.

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Trident Submarine scotland

Why relocating Trident away from Scotland is virtually impossible

On 18th July the House of Commons voted to construct new Successor submarines to replace the current Vanguard boats that carry the UK nuclear deterrent. The arguments in favour of the deterrent are compelling, delivering cross-party support and carrying the vote overwhelmingly. Unsurprisingly the 58 of 59 Scottish MPs voted against and their defeat will be another ‘grievance’ used by nationalists to push for another referendum on independence. Many in Britain seem to think we could simply move the deterrent from its base in Scotland to England. Here we will look at the extensive Scottish infrastructure that supports Trident and the very limited options for moving it south.

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