The British parliament have voted to renew the Trident weapons system, replacing the Vanguard class submarines that carry the UK’s nuclear missiles.

The vote today was to decide whether to press ahead with the manufacture of the next generation of nuclear submarines, pictured above.

MPs have agreed to the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system by 472 votes to 117 after a five-hour debate.

The term ‘Trident’ is often used to cover the whole system including the nuclear missiles themselves and the means to deliver them, in this case the submarines that carry them.

‘Trident’ is an operational system of four Vanguard class submarines armed with Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles, able to deliver thermonuclear warheads from multiple independently-targetable re-entry vehicles.

Operated by the Royal Navy and based at Clyde Naval Base on the west coast of Scotland, at least one submarine is always on patrol to provide a continuous at-sea capability. Each one is armed with up to 8 missiles and 40 warheads; their capacity is much larger.

The Successor class is the proposed replacement for the Vanguard class ballistic missile submarines. They will carry Trident D-5 missiles, the vehicle for delivering the UK’s nuclear weapons.

If you wish to read more on the details of the system, we’ve written an article on the facts surrounding the system that can be found here.

There’s a great deal of variation in how much the system is expected to cost with some claiming it’ll cost the taxpayer £200 billion over the life of the system, but what is the money actually being spent on?

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, had said during the debate that it is “remarkable that two hours into the debate, we still have no idea whatsoever of what the through-life costs of Trident replacement are”.

It’s expected that the four Successor submarines and their infrastructure will cost around £15 billion initially. This can be broken down as such:

  • £0.25 billion to participate in the Trident D5 missile life extension programme.
  • £11 billion for a class of four new submarines.
  • £2 billion for possible refurbishing of the warheads.
  • £2–3 billion for infrastructure (spent over 30 years).

According to a series of statements made in Parliament by ministers of the MoD, the annual operating costs of the Trident programme will be around 5 to 6 per cent of the defence budget.

However, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Crispin Blunt has claimed that the Trident renewal will cost £179bn throughout the course of its life, Mr Blunt says this figure is based on the government’s announcements of “capital costs of £31bn with £10bn contingency” and that the programme will cost “6% of the defence budget”.

When the initial procurement costs are added on, most however estimate that the total programme cost will be an estimated £75 billion however, £60 billion of this figure is spread over the lifetime of the vessels.

One of the most common myths around the system is that the United States has control over the UK’s Trident missile system, that is not the case.

It’s often said that the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system is not ‘independent’ or that the UK doesn’t have the ability to use the system without the US agreeing to it, in reality the UK does retain full operational control over the system.

One common argument is that the US can simply ‘turn off’ the GPS system and therefore can stop the UK using Trident, this is also a myth, Trident isn’t guided by satellite.

The missile uses a kind of stellar sighting guidance system and inertial navigation to take a reading from the stars to work out the missile’s position and make any adjustments necessary. They do not require GPS.

One source for the confusion could be the fact that, aside from those currently deployed, the missiles are held in a communal pool at the US Strategic Weapons facility at King’s Bay, Georgia, USA where maintenance and in-service support of the missiles is undertaken at periodic intervals.

The missiles are jointly maintained, this is much cheaper than the UK doing it on its own and does not give the United States control over any of the weapons deployed on the submarines.

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Richard Thompson

Wonderful news

Tom Barry

Alex Geoffrey Moore

Alex Geoffrey Moore

Hopefully we will do the right thing and keep it!

Tom Barry

It would be mental to do otherwise

Alex Geoffrey Moore

Lefties don’t realise how fucked up the world is.

Simon Gurden

Sense prevailed

Perin Bhatt

Very happy that we are and going to keeping our nuclear weapons, great news???

Christopher Kent

Lol that will piss the Scottish Nazi Party off

Ross Simpson

Robert McCleneghen

Jordan Francis

It’s a no brained. Would be insanely stupid not to renew it.

Robbie McKeegan

Can you explain the benefits of renewing a perfectly capable nuclear weapon and spending billions on something we will most likely never have to use?


A deterrent only works as long as it is effective. In order for Trident to remain effective it needed to be renewed.

Jordan Francis

Technology is forever advancing, I think that the way the world is at the moment with NATO troops being deployed to baltic states sending Russia a message that we won’t just stand by and let them bully their way about and we will stand by these NATO members, and our missile defence/offence programs are at the forefront of our defence capabilities and deterrents also imperative to keep them upto date, they’ll be good for another 30 years or more after this upgrade. Money spent in advancing our defence is money well spent.

Jordan Francis

Apart from the cost, can you explain why it isn’t a good idea?

Gassed Mcmahon

It’s not the weapon that’s being renewed its the sub that carries it.

Jordan Francis

Robbie McKeegan what are you views?

Chris Johnson

I think the cost is a major down side to it and possibly the only one, as we’ll hopefully never have to use it. My issue is that money can be found to spend on bombing raids and trident and not student nurse bursaries, junior doctor contracts, minimum wages so that people aren’t relying on foodbanks. Fair enough if we can afford it after everything else isn’t being cut or reduced.

UK Defence Journal

It’s the submarines that carry Trident that are being renewed Jordan, not the weapons. It’s all in the article.


Weapons will need to be addressed at some point and cost estimates (additional to the announced £31bn + £10bn contingency) for that have been floating around. From Wikipedia (… “The remaining warheads are expected to last until the mid-2020s, with a decision to either replace or refurbish them taken closer to that time. The government-owned nuclear weapons research company Atomic Weapons Establishment would likely play a key role in either, with over £1 billion being invested between 2005 and 2008 to maintain “key skills and facilities.” The replacement of the Trident missiles was also deferred, as the UK intends to… Read more »

Jordan Francis

I know that it’s the submarines, i think that Robbie was talking about the missiles?

UK Defence Journal

Apologies, used the wrong name.

UK Defence Journal

I meant to direct that comment at Robbie.

Simon Finnis

Excellent news, the only sensible decision.

Mark Gibbs

Excellent news!!!!!

Fantastic news but I hope due to the high cost we don’t have to sacrifice any other future defence projects?

Nuclear weapons spending comes to all of 6% of the defence spending. The biggest slice of the pie is spending on personnel: 40% of the defence budget goes on salaries, pensions, benefits…

Alan Bob Pearson

Wee nippy gonna ignore the vote and call for a referenDUMB to overturn it

Carl Greenhalgh

Fantastic news ?

David Gil

Great News! The world is a wicked place.

Louis Reay

Fantastic, finally someone sees to common sense, we need a bloody good defence and trident is one of the best and don’t know why Scotland are pissed, trident keeps thousands employed right ? Be happy that our country has a form a great defence

Paul Twitchett

I suppose Jimmy Crankie will not like it. We can always put them somewhere in other parts of the U.K. They will be glad of the jobs.

Doug Henshaw

Common sense has prevailed

Ray Lovie

The nats will be in drip mode

Marc Holt

Excellent, sound decision

Sean Hosking

Very sensible.

Sharon Shields

Good news

Simon Finnis

Now let’s get a break down of how the labour MP’s voted.

Kevin Gallagher

The ultimate “magazine” subscription! 🙂

Allen Dutfield

Jack Voller

Donald Young

Right decision unilateral disarmament is not the right way to go!!

Dominic Daley

Great news for jobs, our economy and security.

Jason Bartlett

Good news but I’d rather the construction didn’t start until the scotish question was put to bed, I don’t want uk money being spent there if there going to leave the union.

David Wright

They won’t be done until 2030 I think, the old ones still have life in them

Jason Bartlett

True but construction needs to start before the old ones go out of service, it takes BAE years to build standard attack subs and these will be a whole lot bigger and more complex.

Peter Vine

The subs are being built in Barrow and not Scotland so don’t fret…

Richard Simcox

Excellent news, totally the right decision

John Garside

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition

David Wright

Great news

Harry Gillespie


Martin Brady

The only right decision….

Kevin Stirling

To actually vote to potentially kill millions indiscriminately is the right decision…

Martin Brady

Hopefully only ever as a deterrent Kevin….

Andrew Wilmshurst

Well if we don’t have a detterent then those millions dying will be us.

Trevor Atkins

I have had a rock since I was a kid that stops me being attacked by rabid polar bears. Seeing as I’ve never been attacked by a rabid polar bear it must be working.

Gregory Hutchinson

Legalize weed and in site heroin to pay four all throughout British commonwealth trident b2 ICBM all legal.

David Cunningham

Looks like you’ve been smoking too much weed!

Peter Vine

Jesus if we legalised weed and coke and taxed both at 10% we would probably have no debt and own 90% of American and Chinese debt!!!

James Davies

Should never even be voted on national security is not an option to be put in jeopardy by stupid votes open to helmets like jeromy corbin and Jimmy crankie in Scotland,

Alex Evans

Let’s set about using the old nukes now, nearly past their sell by date. Let’s start with someone big, just to show them how hard we are. Could be a great way of getting the empire back on track now we’ve ditched Europe. But not a potential trading partner like muldova or anyone like that. Don’t want to burn our bridges do we?

Tom 'Ships Hugill

Would be better off building something that’s more likely to be used to keep ship building jobs at BAE, invest in the armed forces and use the rest for infrastructure, NHS etc. The fact is we won’t be using it without the US say so, so why waste the money, plenty of other successful countries in the world without them.

Bob Stirling

There is literally an article, on this website, which explains why the UK, not the US, has operational control of the deterrent. Indeed, it if a few clicks away. I suggest you go read it.

Terry Conway

The ‘Ayes’ have it .

Ulises Velez

my website is: [email protected]

Lee Johnstone

Better to have trident then not have it then not need it

Andrew Casson

Instead of Trident and 4 boats, I think we’ll end up with EuroSpork and 3 boats. But all for the same price

Shane Copley

Shocked that it was put to the vote to be honest!!

Patrick Hoskin

A necessary evil.?

Stephen Boyle

Aye great news, hope the English take the fucking thing and park it on their doorstep! Round about Plymouth would be just fine.

Andy Mcleod

Aye I reckon we should ??

Alain Chissel

So do I – bang go the jobs in Faslane. Lucky you’ve got unlimited amounts of oil to support you up there….

Daniel Le Masurier

Yep well take it and the hundreds of jobs that go with it, thanks 🙂

Stephen Boyle

Sooner the better then!

Mark Campbell

So faslane would close Coulport would be shut and 10 thousand jobs would move down to Plymouth…oh.. and 40 commando would move down as well I guess u realise what a massive hit that would be to the helensborough community ?;it would cease to exist overnight bugger all else there going for them

Stephen Boyle

Well here is a solution. Give all the workers at Faslane and Coulport £1m redundancy each and we will still save £166.6 billion!!! Easy when you think about it!

UK Defence Journal

Stephen, you realise that the cost is spread over 40 years, right? You surely also realise Trident is also stored just outside London too, right?

Mark Campbell

Hold on you object to it being kept there and you want it moved else where.. and then u demand money for the people affected by that decision u can’t have it both ways

Mark Campbell

Burfield Mr UK defense … ? burfield and the awe which is in Hampshire/ Berkshire for some reason the people down here are very proud to be part of the defense industry . Shame about the helensborough population mind

UK Defence Journal

I live in Helensburgh, the vast majority either don’t care or welcome the jobs. Stephen lives nowhere near the base.

Mark Campbell

Ahh ok

Mark Campbell

Been there to to faslane as a diver seams the whole place is built around the royal navy infrastructure Coulport Arrochar etc etc and the royal marines stationed there

Stephen Boyle

Thats right i live 90 miles from it. I don’t want nuclear weapons in my country. Is that a crime?

UK Defence Journal

Not at all, but if you’re going to argue about the subject try and be a bit more informed.

Mark Campbell

Stephen I don’t want nukes in the world let alone my country. But unfortunately till such time as other countries retire there stocks we should keep ours.

Stephen Boyle

What part of informed do you superior beings think i should be? We have a country falling apart, politically and socially but clearly spending north of £200billion is justified?

Andy Mcleod

Well should you get your independence I can’t see how we can have the base of our nuclear deterrent in a foreign country. That is an independent Scotland, not part of the U.K. But in the EU and using the £ and having your interest rate set by the Bank of England independent. ?

Paul McStay

Good result. The country needs this.

Chris Lufc Sheldon

Great news

Ally Preston

Nuclear weapons are totally useless. If you fire first, you’re a maniac. If you fire second, they weren’t a deterrent. So what is the point in having them? For that money we could have more conventional surface ships, more aircraft and more soldiers with the right equipment. In this day and age, our battles will be against groups like ISIS and the Taliban where we need conventional weapons.

Alain Chissel

Whilst i agree with what you say you appear to have forgotten N. Korea and a resurgent and belligerent Russia bent on re-taking the Baltic States. As a former soldier ( with a son who was one as well) I fully accept your call for mire soldiers and conventional weaponry. Sadly we also need this nuclear deterrent .

Tom Dawkins

The point is that we haven’t fired them so maybe the deterrent is working.

Nick Thornton

Nukes are an important deterent. If you fire first or second then it hasn’t worked. The fact we still have them means they are working as planned. When corbin said he would never use them that in itself should mean he can never be prime minister. No rational person would launch after having been clobbered, that’s obvious. what’s the point in killing millions more after the event… but saying that that is your intention completely kills the deterrent. What a moron???

Jake Smith

Ever heard of the saying M.A.D? Mutually assured destruction

Richard Cox

Interesting view
Total rubbish though


The issue with the whole MAD idea is it doesn’t fully add up, it was used as an excuse to invest heavily in the military and make people feel safe. The reason that neither the US or Russia used them wasn’t become of the fear of being nuked back, but because of the implications of pulling the trigger. You need to be insane or really backed into a corner to use a nuke, as it means millions of civilans are killed and the person that made the decision has that on their conscience, combined with mass media making it policitical… Read more »

Wayne Greaves

Good news just need to close our borders now and get rid of people who don’t want to fit in

Ally Preston

The thing is, we can’t fire them even if we want to, without first getting the launch codes from America.

Kevin Lee

The idea is to stop the maniacs firing first !

Gavin Rheams

Ally Preston not true

Trevor Atkins

I have had a rock since I was a kid that stops me being attacked by rabid polar bears. Seeing as I’ve never been attacked by a rabid polar bear it must be working.

Trevor Atkins

Even if we got nuked I would hope that we wouldn’t retaliate what would be the point of millions more innocent civilians being sentenced to death and misery just because we had.

Roger Jardine-Clarke

Fantastic. Right decision. Surely there was never a doubt.

Darren May


Stuart Bailey

We need these. Just look at whats goin on in the world.. and the UK is a big target.
Now we need to axe our international aid and fund our struggling necessities……

Martin Cooke

Good .

Jake Mac

Amazing news for tens of thousands of family’s working in the industry! Well done!