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Do we need an Independant Nuclear Deterrant?

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Do we need an Independant Nuclear Deterrant?

Old 16th Apr 2010, 08:44
  #1 (permalink)  
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Do we need an Independent Nuclear Deterrant?

I just want to air the question.....

My views are we need something to replace the Bomber when it goes lifex, does not have to be a new Bomber - although they are big and f**k-off scary. ( I saw one at sea once).

Replys to be a bit more than yes/no - what would you all think we need/want etc.

Last edited by cornish-stormrider; 5th Aug 2010 at 08:01. Reason: I received notice of poor spelling in the title!!
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 09:13
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All depends on what you want us to be.

PCSO to the US's world policeman?

Permanent member of the Security Council?

Maybe its about time we stopped trying to punch above our weight and do so much with so little and concentrated on playing to our core strengths and defence of the homeland.

Personally... so far as the boomers are concerned... I'd bin 'em. Even if we did get hit by either a dirty bomb, or an Iranian or North Korean or Chinese nuke, what the hell would we do about it? Do our political elite have the backbone to take the decision to respond in kind? I seriously doubt it. They dont have the cojones.

If we have to have them at all, I would suggest nuke tipped TLAM's on the Astute boats. Total cost of ownership of the strategic platform which you're never going to use is IMVHO, prohibitive.
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 09:48
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Iranian or North Korean or Chinese nuke
Israel are more likely to hold us to ransome with nukes than any of those countries.
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 09:59
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Jabba. “Boomers”, eh. I’m impressed already.

OK, I’ll start off by agreeing with you. If some non specific terr bangs off a dirty HE bomb, no nuclear deterrent, anywhere, is going to deter it nor counter it.

If, on the other hand, some beastly foreign state commences to lob “nukes” at us, the UK Independent Nuclear Deterrent will have failed. We cannot measure its success or usefulness on the simple measure of whether we’ve used it or not.

Around 20 years ago, I also believed that cruise missiles/stand-off bombs were the most flexible and inexpensive means of mushroom cloud delivery. I then joined the Polaris/Trident mafia at a secret naval base, somewhere in Somerset and completed the Trident technical appreciation course. I changed my mind. I would now suggest that we would need a lot of cruise missiles to assure the same number of bangs on target. Additionally, having the SSN force (or skimmers, for that matter) sneaking around with nuclear weapons on board would significantly limit fulfilment their prime function.

http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/402812-dannatt-hints-end-nuclear-deterrent.html?highlight=nuclear+deterrent http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/391806-nuclear-deterrent.html?highlight=nuclear+deterrent http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/358380-tridenthttp://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/254861-nuclear-trident-replacement-do-we-need-one.html?highlight=nuclear+deterrent-yes-no.html?highlight=nuclear+deterrent
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 11:10
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Permanent member of the Security Council?
Is the ability to big bang an entry fee for the SC?

Has Pakistan been elevated to the top table?

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Old 16th Apr 2010, 12:04
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If Iran or NK nuked the UK, I should think it a relatively simple task to glass over their major cities. Annilihation of NK would likely result, and severe damage to Iran. I would hope enough to dissuade them from doing it again, so perhaps a secondary deterrent if the primary failed. I.e. the threat of H-bombs was not enough, so would the actual use of a 250kt H-bomb on downtown Hanoi now do the job?

I'm sure most of the neighbouring states may have something nasty to say and perhaps write letters to the Telegraph, but that's about all.

China on the other hand is a whole different kettle of rice. Put India in that bracket too, if push came to shove.
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 12:25
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I entirely agree with Jabba's remarks on the 'defence of the Homeland...'
However, I honestly believe that our own nuclear deterent is an integral part of that defence. We need to keep it in its present form for defence of the homeland. GBZ remarked that if we were to be nuked first, our nuclear deterent would have failed. I understand that as a deterent, it would obviously have failed. There are always two sides to the deterent coin though. In that event, we must return fire with nuclear weapons, otherwise the whole exercise was exactly that; an exercise and totally pointless.

Just as an 'aside'... I've been on our Boomers and pressed THE button (apparently that was ok though as the bangy things were switched off). If I needed to though, I would indeed press it for real. I'd just have to be able to live with myself afterwards.
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 12:52
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Diego Garcia , Refurbished tridents in silos and plenty of spare cash to rebuild our Military.
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 12:56
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Hanoi in NK/Iran? - hope you're not doing the targeting!

We like those cheeky Vietnamese chappies now...they haven't got any oil...
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 13:04
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Gaz - weren't you ever subjected to "collective punishment" in the mob?

Delete Hanoi, insert Pyongyang. Three extras for me
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 13:21
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Having a nuclear deterrent and not knowing if you need it, is far more preferable to not have a nuclear deterrent and suddenly finding out that we did need one.
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 16:32
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Don't really know much about this if I'm honest, so rather than my usual shooting from the hip, this is a genuine question.

What are the alternatives?

Tac Nuclear Artillery?

Air lauched?

Smaller Trident fleet?

Diego Garcia?

Mixture of the above?

It seems Trident is very expensive. Can we retain a scaled down option at a lower cost?

I have a feeling achieving this would rule out a smaller Trident fleet, and probably an air launched option.

Whatever the solution, I doubt very much the money saved will be seen by the military.
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 16:51
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Skimmers eh? I'm impressed too, aka Grey Floaty Target Things.

Serious, I think a mix of air-launch and sub-launch nuke cruise missiles would give the flexibility and not cost anything like the Trident boats and their infrastructure? The re-furbished Tridents on Diego Garcia idea bears some thought too.
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 18:37
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I think a mix of air-launch and sub-launch nuke cruise missiles would give the flexibility and not cost anything like the Trident boats and their infrastructure? The re-furbished Tridents on Diego Garcia idea bears some thought too.

I am afraid you think wrongly. Your proposals would be more expensive to give the same capability, or inadequately capable for the same cost. Against people who we really need to persuade not to try the nuclear blackmail game then pretty much only SSBN armed with Trident (or equivalent) is adequate. And that requires 4 SSBN to give lowest through life cost. Whilst the politicians may willfully think that going to 3 boats will be cheaper as is usual they will be wrong.

Consider the following scenarios:
1. You detect an enemy launch against Diego Garcia. You have only minutes to launch in retaliation before you lose all your silos. Use them or lose them. What do you do. Ooops, it was a false launch warning. Pity you just launched.

2. You launch a conventional cruise missile against a terrorist target somewhere. Another country somewhere near the destination thinks they are the target and it is nuclear armed. They launch their nuclear tipped IRBMs against the UK. You apologise for their error of judgement. Oh, and against serious opponents the loss rate and time to target of cruise missiles is inadequate, especially as we are trying to reduce the number of warheads.

3. You'd like to insert some SBS on a surveillance mission. The only SSN in the area is partly armed with nuclear tipped cruise missiles. You can't seriously risk losing the entire nuclear deterrent in shallow water just to get a few recon troops on land.

4. etc etc etc (you actually need more not less nuclear infrastructure with all your ideas)

No, when you look at the real issues, 4 x SSBN is the only thing that gives a true second strike capability anywhere reasonably needed during the lifetime of the system at minimal cost.
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 18:56
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Do you want the UK to reley on either the US nuclear forces or the French, Force du Frappe. Sorkosay has just said that France will retain its nuclear forces, full stop.

Independence is the only way to go, air launched or silo based systems are vulnerable to both, deployment difficulty in third party countries in the case of air launched systems and silo based is vulnerable as it lauch point is a known variable.

That potential adversaries know that an SSBN is a significant undectable? threat to their exisitance. It does not stop IED based devices smuggled into a country via a container. It's remarkably easy to loose a container and issue new paperwork it would appear. Remeber you only have load it on a ship or waggon truck around Europe for a few weeks and use a remote timer or command detonator. Look at the number of stolen cars moved using this system.

At the moment it is a percentage of other nuclear states that have a significant delivery capability, it does not mean that this will always be the same. Remeber in the early 80s, no one forsaw the fall of the Berlin Wall and its subsequent developments in Europe and the World.
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 18:57
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Much of the rationale for the SSBN based replacement to the V-Class is the simple fact that without it the UK will be out of the Nuclear shipbuilding business. The gap between the last of the Astutes and the first of their replacement would be simply too long (and thus expensive) to keep a highly skilled workforce in mothballs. Hence why we're talking of replacing the subs and re-working the missiles.

FWIW the debate needs to be do we need this indigenous capability. If we do then let's build the new Bombers as it remains the best way to guarantee a second-strike capability, If the answers "no" then we would probably have to go back to a mix of TLAM-N and Storm Shadow-N....not exactly cheap either.
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 19:10
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How does Germany or any other large non nuclear country manage without an independant deterrent?
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 19:12
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Surely with the normal "I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of ...." mantra that is spouted whenever anybody asks whether such and such ship/boat carries nukes (just ask the question about whether any ships or boats were carrying nukes during the 1982 conflict) we could just quietly get rid of the things (or at least not replace them) and no one would be the wiser. Assuming the expensive bit is the missile and the launch system then, once rid of that bit, keep openly putting an empty sub out to sea every 3-6 months and job done - assumption of mutually assured destruction = no nuclear conflict. Works for the Iranians - nobody will touch the Iranians until they (US / Israel ....)are positively, absolutely sure that they (the Iranians) don't have the odd bucket of sunshine hanging around. Course you may need to keep all your fingers and toes crossed just in case!

And don't forget - 40+ years on the truth about the 'moon landings' is still a secret .... oh, is that the Nurse with my tablets. And my tin foil hat. Wonderful
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 19:32
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Do We Need an Independent Nuclear Deterrent?

As long as the French have one, emphatically YES!

Nelson's toast:

"Death to the French!"
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Old 16th Apr 2010, 20:10
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As a country, we have always had the French as an enemy, just every so often we have a truce in hostilities, now it's just the politicians who skirmish.

I am reminded of the story, maybe apochraphel from Singapore naval base
Enemies iof the Royal Navy 1 The French 2 The War Office 3 Enenmy of the day. Obviously the navy know their true enemy.

As for other big countries such as Germany, they have come under NATO agreements probably more relevent when the Pact was around. Others like the Chinese, they just buy us out on the financial markets, who needs to go to war when you own the government.

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