Tuesday, July 19, 2016

UK to Keep Nuclear Deterrent,Build New Ballistic Missile Submarines

The British House of Commons voted yesterday to preserve the UK's independent nuclear deterrent and take the necessary steps required to maintain its current posture by replacing the Vanguard-class submarine with four of the new Successor-class ballistic missile submarines.The Conservatives,led by new Prime Minister Theresa May,secured a strong majority vote of 472-117 to approve the motion.The UK will now proceed with the building of the new Trident II D5 missile submarines by the BAE Systems Barrow shipyard at a cost of 31 billion dollars with a contingency of an extra 10 billion over 35 years.It is one of the largest expenditures in the history of the UK,besides also being a project of great complexity and scale,involving hundreds of subcontractors in addition to prime BAE.*
Two parliamentary Strategic Defence and Security Reviews approved the Successor programme in 2010 and 2015.For her part,Mrs.May said it would be sheer madness to contemplate even for a moment giving up Britain's independent nuclear deterrent.We cannot abandon our ultimate safeguard out of misplaced idealism.That would be a reckless gamble,a gamble that would enfeeble our allies and embolden our enemies.The nuclear threat has not gone away.If anything,it has increased,the new Prime Minster pointed out,citing a newly assertive Russia and countries such as North Korea who are seeking nuclear weapons.We will not leave NATO and our European allies behind,Mrs.May promised.*
Construction of the Successor-class is to begin in late 2016,with the first of the four vessels entering service in 2028.A minimum of four submarines is required to sustain the continuous at sea deterrence (CASD) posture which Britain has today,according to the formula of,at any given time,one armed submarine being on patrol;one in maintenance;and two in port or on training manoeuvres.All UK ballistic missile and nuclear powered submarines are based at HM Naval Base Clyde in Faslane,Scotland,which is 25 miles/40 kilometers west of Glasgow.The base is secured by Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines.*
As a crucial element of their special relationship,the US and UK now coordinate both nuclear strategy and hardware.Both countries endorsed the Trident II D5 Service Life Extension Programme that extends the life of the missiles out to 2042.Both will also be installing a common 12-missile compartment in the Royal Navy Successor-class and the US Navy SSBN-X successor to the Ohio-class submarine.*
BAE Systems PLC (London:BA/),BAE Systems PLC ADR (OTC:BAESY)

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