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Britain's 30 billion pounds Nuclear insurance policy - Trident II

Politics / UK Politics Dec 04, 2006 - 10:22 PM GMT

By: John_York

Politics

The UK Labour government led by Tony Blair has revealed plans for the successor to the Trident submarine nuclear deterrent. The plan is for 3 smaller nuclear submarines, in some 20 years time. The initial estimate is for £20 billion, but given the history of defence spending over-runs this could easily reach £30 billion, ($60 billions). Additionally there would be running costs of at least £1 billion.

Britain's £30 billion Nuclear insurance policy - Trident II


Tony Blair argued that Britain needs the new generation of nuclear weapons because it might not be able to rely on the USA to protect it if it were attacked, "Our co-operation with America is very close. But close as it is, the independent nature of the British deterrent is an additional insurance against circumstances where we are threatened but America is not". Though the new submarines will rely on the D5 missiles to be developed primarily by the United States, therefore not entirely independent, and if the USA chose not to develop the D5 missiles then programme could turn into a very costly white elephant.Opposition leader, David Cameron said he would support the government in its decision.

Tony Blair also said Britain may cut back on its stock of nuclear warheads from 200 to 160, which is an attempt at placating the left wing of the Labour Party.

One of the main beneficiaries of the announcement will be BAE Systems, which built and maintains the current Trident system at its plant in Barrow-on-Furness in Cumbria. Another beneficiary is Rolls Royce which will build the nuclear generators for any new submarines.

Topol-M missiles, capable of hitting targets more than 10,000 kilometres away

Meanwhile the Russians announced that they were commissioning its first unit of new intercontinental ballistic missiles mounted on mobile launchers. The Topol-M missiles, capable of hitting targets more than 10,000 kilometres away, have so far been deployed only in silos. Its new version, which will be mounted on a heavy off-road vehicle, makes it harder for an enemy to track it down. .


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