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Replacement for Trident

stumpy

War Hero
I don’t think that the costs will be as high as mentioned. A new build for just a few boats would be very expensive, but there are other options:

Option 1: Extend the life of the Vanguard. This would be cheaper than new build and have the benefit of not needing any new facilities, etc etc. But, there is only so much you can do with an old boat, especially a nuclear one without the cost going way OTT.

Option 2: Build a stretched Astute class. I think this idea is best as you get brand new boats, and then the Royal Navy would be operating one version of boat, which means savings on operating and training costs, equipment procurement etc. I do not think that the future deterrent needs 16 missiles (each with several warheads) in the post-Soviet world. A stretched Astute would only need half a dozen missiles, three per side mounted outside of the pressure hull. This would be more than enough of a deterrent, and would not change the shape of the stretched Astute's too much. Also, by reducing the number of missiles and warheads in total that the UK owned then we wouldn't necessary be in breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Because the Astute's will never need refuelling this will mean much reduced in-life costs. Also, in future if we did scrap all our missiles then we would have some very useful attack boats.

If we retain a nuclear deterrent then it HAS to be sea based. The big problem with nuclear weapons is that in a tense political situation the temptation would be to use your missiles before you lose them, thus risking starting a war in a panic. The big advantage of submarine based missiles is that even if London is taken out etc, the deterrent is still there, available, if needed, and if not needed you haven't fired them by accident. And if you doubt the importance of that then think of this: 7,500 miles in only 30 minutes....

But the biggest advantage of going for the Astute option would be finally ending the arguments between those in attack boats and bombers!!!
 

Not_a_boffin

War Hero
Close to the ideal. The easiest way is to build a missile compartment to US pattern (with the D5 lifex) and add UK front and back ends. It has to be sea-based and it has to be credible against Ivan (who is now our buddy but wasn't only 16 yrs ago) and China. The danger is that folk will look at the current threat (Kim Jong-Il and Ahmadibad the awful) and suggest that they can be dealt with by a couple of sunshine-tipped TLAM.

Yes, they probably could, but that won't cut any ice with a proper nuclear power. The time to get a proper system designed, built and into service would make it impossible to regenerate an SLBM capability if we went the TLAM route. It's like stopping your life insurance policies if you go for a weekend in the sticks at Aunty Betty's!
 

Leviathan

Midshipman
The deterrent definately needs to be maintained, and be sea based. Those who are inclined to go with the 'sure the cold war id over' analysis, tend to be the same ones who want our total military capability brought down, never mind the nuclear deterrent. With the emergence of China (and soon to be India), as well as the slippy North Koreans, a nuclear deterrant becomes even more essential.
Look what Ivan is doing now that is controls most of Western Europes Gas and oil..added to the economic might of China and India, the future is definately economic based conflict, and most of those countries seem to have no qualms when it comes to putting those down who would argue. Self reliance (as much as possible) is the watchword.

BTW Hi, I'm a newby who is at the start of the long process to joining the RN as a submariner (ie still at home waiting in Security clearance)
 
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