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When does trident expire?

drewfester

Lantern Swinger
Think it will go bang long before its thousands of years half life expires maybe sooner if Putin keeps messing around :)
 

sweetpea

War Hero
It never really expires because we put it in the bin with the green lid and recycle it.

SP.
 
Last edited:

Trainer

War Hero
Book Reviewer
If I might offer an answer to the OP question. Nuclear weapons, just like any sophisticated Weapon Systems, do indeed expire. Trident itself is just a delivery vehicle (USA made) for the bombs themselves (UK Made). The Warheads do indeed require constant servicing and so journey between the Atomic Weapons establishment and Scotland, where they live.

Previous Nuclear weapons such as the WE177A, B and C ( the WE177A the RN carried as a Nuclear depth Charge), contained Tritium, which does go off as it has a half life of about 12 years. Therefore, over time the bang you would have got from your weapon would have gone down and down. WE177 did in fact have a setting on the side for whether you wanted a small, medium or large bang. The key to do this setting was the same hexagonal key that is used to open Fruit machines. Servicing I believe was done by the RAF.

So there you go.... Nuclear weapons do expire.

All the above is open source :)

There now follows a small joke.

Q: 'What's the difference between a Gravity Bomb and an RAF Armourer?'

A: 'A Gravity Bomb does not have to be retarded'.
 

sweetpea

War Hero
If I might offer an answer to the OP question. Nuclear weapons, just like any sophisticated Weapon Systems, do indeed expire. Trident itself is just a delivery vehicle (USA made) for the bombs themselves (UK Made). The Warheads do indeed require constant servicing and so journey between the Atomic Weapons establishment and Scotland, where they live.

Previous Nuclear weapons such as the WE177A, B and C ( the WE177A the RN carried as a Nuclear depth Charge), contained Tritium, which does go off as it has a half life of about 12 years. Therefore, over time the bang you would have got from your weapon would have gone down and down. WE177 did in fact have a setting on the side for whether you wanted a small, medium or large bang. The key to do this setting was the same hexagonal key that is used to open Fruit machines. Servicing I believe was done by the RAF.

So there you go.... Nuclear weapons do expire.

All the above is open source :)

There now follows a small joke.

Q: 'What's the difference between a Gravity Bomb and an RAF Armourer?'

A: 'A Gravity Bomb does not have to be retarded'.

*Bold. Rubbish.
I say again, ( I wasn't joking in my first reply) we recycle.

SP.
 

Trainer

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Not to kick the Arse or enter a Flame War, but......

A plant codenamed Candle located adjacent to the Chapelcross nuclear power station, near the town of Annan, Scotland, was built to recover tritium from time-expired service weapons returned for servicing. It was then re-cycled after re-lifing. All boosted fission weapons use tritium (which decays with time) gradually reducing the designed fission yield by approx 4.4% per year. Reduction in the fission yield of a primary will reduce the thermonuclear nuclear yield by a similar proportion, or even lead to the thermonuclear fusion stage failing to ignite. To maintain optimum yield all versions of WE.177 required servicing at intervals of three years or slightly more. Normal servicing was carried out by specialist RAF teams.

Out.
 

sweetpea

War Hero
Seems that we are at cross purpose here Trainer. I did not read through thoroughly your post, so unfortunately thought you were implying that the RAF maintained Trident. The WE series were produced long before Trident, and as you so rightly copied and pasted from Wikipedia, there was RAF involvement with those, but
this thread is about Trident.SP.
 

Trainer

War Hero
Book Reviewer
SP, quite!
I was using the WE example to illustrate the point that weapons do indeed 'go off' in a sell by sense. My brother in law was an RAF armourer and had WE177 on his PLR! I think the RAF were the lead on servicing 'cos they had so many more than the RN and appropriate facilities.

Does make you wonder what the OP was thinking LOL.

I never tire of reminding my light blue colleagues that we are the sole custodian of the Nuclear Deterrent!
 
Trainer is quite right on the relifing requirements of the bang bit. All that is seen to by AWE staff in Berkshire.

Regarding Trident, the missile; before each Upkeep period, the Boat off loads the missiles minus the weapon in Georgia USA where they are taken into the servicing cycle. After Upkeep, the Boat goes back to Georgia to receive a relifed missile outload (these are not necessarily the same ones that were landed). Back in Coulport, the missile is re mated with the bang bits.

The limiting factor now is the useful safe life of the Boats. Reactors do not age well nor, arguably, with total predictability.
 

Trainer

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Ninja, You can see the confusion that having a 'Use-By' date on a Nuclear Weapon would entail. People would be wandering around looking for someone to bomb just to have a clear out. Something like 'Best before May 2015, half as good in May 2027' would work for a Nuke as we've just been discussing.

Anyway I've got some yoghurts in the fridge I've been eating and they're 3 months out of date and they're fine. If it wasn't for the cheap short code stuff in Tescos I've have no dietary variety at all.
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
Rather than ditch Trident when they reach their "sell by" it makes sense to put them on Ebay. There's always some despot willing to pay top dollar and it'll be a hassle-free way to offset the cost of a replacement.

I should be a candidate on May 7th, me.:cool:
 

drewfester

Lantern Swinger
Rather than ditch Trident when they reach their "sell by" it makes sense to put them on Ebay. There's always some despot willing to pay top dollar and it'll be a hassle-free way to offset the cost of a replacement.

I should be a candidate on May 7th, me.:cool:

Nope your far too intelligent to be a candidate :):)
 
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