NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde at Faslane, Scotland, at the invitation of Michael Fallon.

The visit included a tour of a UK Vanguard class deterrent submarine, a training facility and a Royal Navy frigate.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon welcomed NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the North Atlantic Council to Faslane, he said:

“Now the UK remains firmly committed to the long term goal of a world without nuclear weapons. As Secretary of State, I reduced the number of deployed warheads on each submarine from 48 to 40 and the number of operationally available warheads to no more than 120. Just as we remain committed to reducing our overall stockpile of nuclear warheads to no more than 180 by the mid-2020s.

Yet, at the same time, we remain realistic. The total number of nuclear weapons in the world did not suddenly fall. Much as we would love to live in a world without nuclear weapons. We cannot uninvent them.

Our deterrent ensures our adversaries are left in no doubt that the benefits of any attack will be vastly outweighed by the consequences.

No credible alternative exists. And we see no reason to change our posture.

Protect Our Alliance But this brings me back to the point at which I started. Our nuclear deterrent isn’t just essential for our security. it’s essential for NATO’s security as well. It forms one of the Alliance’s key centres of decision making that complicates the calculations of our adversaries.

What is more, many nations, represented here today signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in the late 1960s, safe in the knowledge they were covered by NATO’s nuclear umbrella including the United Kingdom deterrent. Not only did that deal help halt the nuclear arms race at the time, it has helped to cut the world’s nuclear stockpile by 85%.”

17 COMMENTS

  1. A thought (might be idiotic, hoping for insight from those who know better).

    The Vanguard subs are world class hulls and have had a relatively easy life. As the new dreadnoughts come in could the Vans be converted to conventional weapon subs?

    Is the limitation to their life the reactor, the structure or us it simply personnel?

    • They would definitly need refueld but they wont be decommissioned for another 10 years at least so they might experience a fair bit more wear and tear by then. There is a short documentory on youtube showing all of the RN’s decommed nuclear subs they still havent figured out how to strip them down and still have no plans to sort out the problem until 2030.

    • A lot of it comes down to personel costs. Many nations keep older but perfectly capable ships and subs in service but the UK is a penny pincher and would never fork out for 135 saliors. It’s even talking about scrapping the LPDs, scraping two mine hunters, one survey vessels and firing 1000 royal marines to pay for the crew of the new aircraft carriers rather than just increase the budget a bit to pay for them. It’s a grade A joke. I wouldn’t even be so angry if they admitted that they were killing capabilities to pay for their project to look big on the world stage, but they all sit down and circle jerk each other over lies such as ‘the year of the navy’ and ‘an increasing fleet’.

      • Increasing the surface combat fleet by 1 less capable ship, while scraping massive pieces of the support fleet. It is made so much more painful by the year of the navy and increasing budget bs that comes from Fallon constantly. I wish he would just be honest and say we cant afford x because y needs funds.

  2. Fallon completed contradicted himself in his statement. Just be honest and say the world will never be free from nuclear weapons for over 60 years they have done a fantasic job of ensuring no one ever uses them in anger.

    • And that the US and USSR didn’t just go to war at the slightest provocation and cost millions of lives. Ironically nuclear weapons have been the ultimate guaranteer of peace and we’ve not seen a major war since WW2.

      • That is what all the hippy groups don’t understand. I am very annoyed by the latest noble peace prize award, all they did was cry and state the obvious. If all of the nuclear countries in the world suddenly scraped their nukes it would be one of the most un-stabalising events in that last 100 years, it would completely shift global relations.

        We are slowly moving towards a nuke free world but at a slow and stable pace, there are several treaties that deal with this, no more nuclear testing, slowly decreasing nuclear stockpiles and stopping new nations from developing them. We will most likely have nukes for hundreds of years, but their amount and effect will slowly decrease.

        • I don’t think we can risk it, but i don’t honestly think the nukes are what stopped wars, i think it was mass media.

          10 years after the end of the 2nd world war we had vietnam (around the gap between 1st and 2nd) and vietnam was the war to end any further big wars. If we had placed vietnam war in an era without battlefield reporters and tv’s, i have little doubt the Americans would have won it, because like wars before it they wouldn’t have needed to play by the rules so much, and would have done what it took to win and so would have discovered the supply tracks that were key to them not winning and would have closed them etc.

          Vietnam taught the world that any sustained war was unwinnable, because the reaction from home would quickly end it. A lesson that has been relearnt (at a different scale) in Iraq/Afgan.

          Whilst i would like to see the world agree to decommission all nukes, it won’t ever happen and so we are stuck with keeping them for the ‘just in case’ moment. Unfortunately this means countries like North Korea have perfectly justified reasons for wanting their own and sooner or later a country that falls into civil war will have them and they will be used by some lunatic warlord, the type that has no problem burning down villages etc as we have seen across so many civil wars.

        • Set against the backdrop of Trump and NK who seem to be willing to use nuclear weapons in a first strike roll, I’m happy with the Nobel Prize award. The world needs a wake up call, about how truly destructive these weapon are. The easy way these things are being talked about in the media belies how utterly devestaing a large scale nuclear war would be. Whilst I would agree that they have preserved an absence of large scale wars between super powers, they can’t be what we rely on in the long term. For one thing, the longer we keep them around, the more the risk of an accidental nuclear war approaches a certainty – it’s already nearly happened before. And whilst unilateral disarmament wouldn’t be desirable, pursuing sustainable multilateral disarmament is vital. They have played a vital role in our and NATOs defence and they will continue to do so. But should keep them only as long as is required and not a moment longer.

  3. Thanks, all, for the return comments. I know its 10 years until the Vans are retired but this is when the planning should be done.

    I think the general thoughts are that we have too few Astute class planned but would repurposed Vans fill the gap?

    I don’t mean as a full hunter but as a 16 tube non nuclear missile launcher they could be very capable.

    • Not the worst idea in the world John

      Now, if the UK spent even 2% of GDP on defence then it might be possible…. alas, not in this reality though.

      as per the Ohio class template, a Vanguard could hold up to 112 tomahawks….. now, the UK would also need to buy a lot of Tomahawks!

      That said, if the UK wanted a land strike platform I think improving the Astutes would be preferable….. again, taking the cue from the enhanced version of the Virginia class submarines.

      • I think the British government is happy with its token 1 tomahawk launch to grab the headlines on the opening salvo of any future conflict in support of the USA. At $2mm a missile the treasury has no interest in funding a large stock pile of them when it can buy them in 1’s and 2’s from the US stocks when it needs them.
        If they offered the same deterrence value as Trident it would be worth it, Argentina never would have invaded the Falklands if we could have wiped out their mainland infrastructure from underwater in one night.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here