Report: U.K. Plans for New Submarines Require More Debate

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
Global Security Newswire Staff
Feb. 11, 2014, 7:05 a.m.

A new in­de­pend­ent re­port con­tends there is a press­ing need for well in­formed U.K. de­bate over plans for mod­ern­iz­ing that na­tion’s nuc­le­ar ar­sen­al.

The Nuc­le­ar Edu­ca­tion Trust re­port, re­leased on Tues­day, raises sev­er­al factors re­lated to any de­cision on wheth­er to pro­cure four new Suc­cessor-class bal­list­ic mis­sile sub­mar­ines, in­clud­ing the cost of mod­ern­iz­ing the coun­try’s nuc­le­ar de­terrent and its po­ten­tial for be­ing in­volved in a cata­stroph­ic mis­hap or con­trib­ut­ing to pro­lif­er­a­tion, the Lon­don Guard­i­an re­ports.

“Bri­tain’s nuc­le­ar weapons should be sub­ject to the same cost-ef­fect­ive­ness test and pub­lic scru­tiny that all pub­lic ex­pendit­ure has to be sub­jec­ted to,” states the re­port.

Un­der ex­ist­ing De­fense Min­istry plans, today’s four Van­guard-class sub­mar­ines — armed with Tri­dent nuc­le­ar-tipped mis­siles — are due to be re­tired in the 2020s. The so-called “like-for-like” plan to re­place them with Suc­cessor ves­sels is pro­jec­ted to cost more than $30 bil­lion in de­vel­op­ment­al, pur­chase and op­er­at­ing costs.

The Con­ser­vat­ive Party — the seni­or part­ner in the U.K. gov­ern­ing co­ali­tion — has said Bri­tain would not make a “fi­nal gate” de­cision on wheth­er to pro­ceed with the like-for-like plan un­til after the next gen­er­al elec­tions in 2015.

That has not stopped Con­ser­vat­ives from ap­prov­ing tens of mil­lions of dol­lars in new sub­mar­ine-re­lated con­tracts. The Lib­er­al Demo­crats — the ju­ni­or gov­ern­ing party — want to see only three new bal­list­ic-mis­sile sub­mar­ines built, which could res­ult in about $3 bil­lion in plan sav­ings. There also have been signs that the op­pos­i­tion Labor Party could be waver­ing in its sup­port for the like-for-like plan.

The Nuc­le­ar Edu­ca­tion Trust — a non­profit that pro­motes edu­ca­tion in arms-con­trol mat­ters — called for in­clud­ing the U.K. nuc­le­ar de­terrent in the coun­try’s next Stra­tegic De­fense and Se­cur­ity Re­view. In pro­du­cing its own as­sess­ment, the trust in­ter­viewed a num­ber of one­time armed ser­vices chiefs and former de­fense sec­ret­ar­ies.

A sep­ar­ate re­port by Sci­ent­ists for Glob­al Re­spons­ib­il­ity on Monday con­cluded the Brit­ish gov­ern­ment spends ap­prox­im­ately $530 mil­lion an­nu­ally on nuc­le­ar arms-re­lated re­search and de­vel­op­ment.

What We're Following See More »
STRIKES DOWN NEW HAMPSHIRE BAN
Court: Selfies in Voting Booth Now OK
1 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
WILL LEAD U.S. DELEGATION
Obama to Travel to Israel for Peres’s Funeral
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS
FOUR-POINT LEAD IN FOUR-WAY RACE
Reuters/Ipsos Shows Clinton Ahead by 6
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

In one of the first polls released since Monday night's debate, a Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump 44%-38%. When third-party candidates are thrown into the mix, Clinton's share of the vote drops to 42%, with Gary Johnson picking up 7% and Jill Stein at 2%.

Source:
NO SHUTDOWN
Senate Votes to Fund Government
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Senate voted on Wednesday 72-26 on a bill to fund the government through Dec. 9, averting a looming shutdown. The legislation will now go to the House, where it could be voted on as early as Wednesday. After this legislation is approved by the House, Congress will recess until the lame-duck session following elections.

FIRST OVERRIDE OF HIS PRESIDENCY
House Completes Override of Obama Veto
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Congress voted Wednesday to override President Obama for the first time in his eight-year tenure, as the House followed the Senate in rejecting a veto of legislation allowing families of terrorist victims to sue Saudi Arabia. The House easily cleared the two-thirds threshold to push back against the veto. The final tally was 348-77, with 18 Republicans and 59 Democrats voting no."

Source:
×