July 8, 2016

An early July 18, 2016 Trident Decision Possible, To Further Split UK Labour

This BBC article of June 30, 2014 indicates where the 4 UK Trident SSBNs are located (at Faslane, north of Glasgow, Scotland) and nearby Coulport nuclear warhead base. Alternatives sites in the UK, France and the US (marked in green) all involve great cost and major domestic and international political downsides.

The UK Guardian (Australian edition) June 8, 2016 reports that Prime Minister David Cameron (while still UK Conservative leader) aims to hold the vote on building 4 Trident (Successor class) SSBNs on July 18, 2016.

This timing is partly aimed at sustaining the late June 2016 split in the UK Labour Party Opposition.

The split is between:
-  the leftist-pacifists led by Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn (who clearly dislike peace maintaining
   nuclear weapons) and
-  solid Labour MPs (like John Woodcock of Barrow) whose electorates stand to gain from the
   construction of any new SSBNs. There are also many centrist Labour MPs who back Trident.

The timing is also to decide on Trident before the downstream Brexit impact sinks in - of losing the Trident Base (at Faslane, Scotland) and buying the new Trident SSBNs with a diminished "UK" defence budget. By 2019, after the possible break-off of EU-wishing-to-stay-in Scotland and Northern Ireland the "United" Kingdom defence budget may only be able to drew revenue from England and Wales.

See Submarine Matters articles on the Trident debate on:

-  April 11, 2012
-  May 24, 2016
-  June 24, 2016 and
-  June 28, 2016

Three of the possible Trident replacement options. See much larger readable image here (Diagram courtesy SIPRI and the Financial Times)



Anonymous said...

May be the solution should be foregoing the Trident replacement. After all, this is one weapon no one ever want to use it.

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi pete,
In my View, if the Brits still want to retain tridents, they should make a deal with the US on co work on the Ohio replacement.

Peter Coates said...


Yes. Given the likely new submarine Base and high known SSBN Replacement costs the UK should look seriously at altering or shelving the Trident plan.

Perhaps the only major motive driving it is a huge regional development subsidy to shipbuilding companies.

It seems that the US is retiring its nuclear warhead cruise missiles at the same time that nuclear tipped missiles for the Astute class SSNs should be a serious option.

Also the UK should be talking to Israel about a UK nuclear tipped "Popeye Turbo" SLCM. The Popeye's may turn out to be small ballistic missiles or at least rocket propelled.



Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

The UK has been talking extensively with the US.

Ohio replacement and the UK SSBN will continue to use identical Trident missiles and are both due to use new and identical missile compartments.

As the UK SSBN are supposed to be a huge UK regional development subsidy (to UK shipbuilding companies) there is probably no scope for UK SSBNs to be built in the US.