The UK & Trident, An Explosive Relationship (Original Posting 26th March 2007)
I just want to put forward a few thoughts with regards to trident and the intention to renew it. I can not say with complete conviction that taking the UK’s nuclear deterrent off the table is the best thing for the UK! Though there is some room for movement. I would put forward a different compromise. Maybe a restructuring of the UK’s submarine force. Let the 4 Vanguard Class SSBN’s be taken out of service when their operational life is up but do not replace them with SSBN’s. Instead, have 6 SSN’s in service which can carry Tomahawk cruise missiles with nuclear warheads while reform a UK SSK force of about 4 boats. This would enable the UK to maintain a very limited but precise nuclear deterrent on vessels that can operate globally while also forming a SSK force to assist with the protection of sea lanes around the UK and the EU. SSK’s can always be deployed away from base around the world by simply flying out crews to the vessel on station, as the USA has started doing with vessels in their fleet. The other obvious benefits are that it could save the UK considerable money, the SSK force could be bought “Off-the-shelf”, take a new moral high ground by showing that they do not want to wipe-out entire countries but also recognise that the world is not stable enough to warrant a complete withdrawal. It would be a new way forward for the armed forces which must be designed around expeditionary warfare (i.e. the ability to go anywhere, for any reason, securely and quickly) in this ever changing world.