Questions & Answers

Trident Nuclear Weapon System Capability?

Can UK afford Trident?

Is UK independent of the US?

What does International Law say about nuclear weapons?

The atom bombs marked the end of WWII but were they the real reason that Japan surrendered?

Can the fingers on nuclear buttons be overridden?This question was prompted by an article by Angela Woodward (Disarmament and Secuity Centre, NZ) writing of her concerns about US President Trump's mental instability post his election defeat and points out that UK has no safeguard against a rogue/demented Prime Minister's finger on the nuclear button.

Should Parliament be involved in the use of Nuclear Force? In 2019 The Public Administration and Consitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) held an inquiry in to whether Parliament should be involved with approving the use of military force. Despite submissions and evidence taken relating to nuclear force, this aspect was ignored in the final report.

I submitted 3 documents:

Main submission 26 February 2019

Re-targeting Trident Missiles

Supplement to Re-targeting Trident Missiles

The committee's full report can be found HERE. It makes no mention of the use of Nuclear Force at all despite taking evidence from Admiral Lord West on the subject.

Is Trident invulnerable? By the time the Dreadnought class are operational (2030s) there will have been roughly 45 generations of development of anti-submarine warfare technology. Deep-sea drones and other new means of detection will have been added to sonar and satellite borne technology. Cyber warfare is also rapidly expanding so communications are vulnerable. It is heroic, to say the least, to suggest that 45 generations later submarines will remain undetectable.

Is there a Trident conventional war head? Yes. The US revealed in 2006 that they had developed a warhead for Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) which utilises the enormous amount of kinetic energy that a mass of tungsten steel rods arriving at super-sonic speed from the stratosphere would have. Delivered to pin point accuracy such a warhead could penetrate deep bunkers. Follow up cruise or air launched missiles could exploit the damage initially caused by what one might call 'the shock and awe' of an unexpected first strike attack.

Is maintaining employment a moral justification for keepingTrident ? Much has been made of the fact that the Trident system employs thousands of people who will be put of a job. I personally find it unacceptably immoral to consider retaining a nuclear capability just to avoid unemployment. The fact is, that with the money saved, jobs could be created elsewhere - and still have some left over for social welfare budgets.

What happens if Scotland becomes independent? The Faslane Naval Base can continue to be a major naval facility for ships and nuclear powered submarines armed with conventional weapons and Scotland would develope the base as its own support facility for its fishery and offshore patrol vessels.

Professor William Walker of St Andrews University lucidly summarised the relationship between Scottish Independence and the basing of Trident submarines in Scotland in a paper he wrote in 2015 prior to the UK Government's Gateway decision to proceed with Trident replacement.

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