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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Wonderful news

Alex Geoffrey Moore

Hopefully we will do the right thing and keep it!

It would be mental to do otherwise

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

Sense prevailed

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

Lol that will piss the Scottish Nazi Party off

Robert McCleneghen

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

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?

Connor

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

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.

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

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

Robbie McKeegan what are you views?

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.

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

Julian

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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Successor-class_submarine#Munitions)… “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 »

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

Apologies, used the wrong name.

I meant to direct that comment at Robbie.

Excellent news, the only sensible decision.

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…

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

Fantastic news ?

Great News! The world is a wicked place.

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

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.

Common sense has prevailed

The nats will be in drip mode

Excellent, sound decision

Very sensible.

Good news

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

The ultimate “magazine” subscription! 🙂

Jack Voller

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

Great news for jobs, our economy and security.

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.

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

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.

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

Excellent news, totally the right decision

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition

Great news

Brilliant

The only right decision….

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

Hopefully only ever as a deterrent Kevin….

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

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.

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

Looks like you’ve been smoking too much weed!

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!!!

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,

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?

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.

The ‘Ayes’ have it .

my website is: [email protected]

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

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

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

A necessary evil.?

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

Aye I reckon we should ??

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

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

Sooner the better then!

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

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!

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?

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

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

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

Ahh ok

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

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

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

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.

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?

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. ?

Good result. The country needs this.

Great news

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.

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 .

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

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???

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

Interesting view
Total rubbish though

Steve

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 »

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

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

The idea is to stop the maniacs firing first !

Ally Preston not true

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.

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.

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

?

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……

Good .

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