Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon marked the UK’s 350th Trident armed submarine patrol by hosting talks on collective global security with NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the North Atlantic Council.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

“From our nuclear submarines that stand ready to defend us against the most extreme threats to our way of life, to nearly a thousand UK troops based in Eastern Europe, our commitment to the NATO Alliance, the cornerstone of European security, is clear and unwavering.

NATO is a nuclear alliance. Only by having a deterrent of our own are we able to help guarantee our nation’s security and that of all our NATO allies.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said:

“I welcome the UK’s strong contribution to NATO, from its commitment to defence investment to its operational deployments. The nuclear forces of the Alliance, including those at Clyde Naval Base, are the supreme guarantee of the security of allied countries and populations.”

HMNB Clyde has been home to the submarine based nuclear deterrent for five decades. The UK Government say they are investing £1.3 billion over the next 10 years to update and upgrade its engineering and training facilities. The Base will be home to the entire UK submarine service by 2020, and supports 6,800 jobs today, which will rise to 8,500 in the 2030s.

The NAC’s visit included a tour of a UK Vanguard class deterrent submarine and the Base’s extensive Trident Training Facility.

According to a press release:

“Designing and building the new Dreadnought class of four ballistic missile submarines is one of the largest and most complex programmes that the MOD and UK industry has undertaken.

The UK has shown its commitment to the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty having reduced the number of deployed warheads on each submarine from 48 to 40, the number of operationally available warheads to no more than 120 and remains committed to reducing its stockpile of nuclear warheads to no more than 180 by mid-2020s.”

 

18 COMMENTS

        • Labour policy is to renew the submarines which carry Trident and retain the deterrent. It was labour that started the programme in the 1940’s and always maintained and enhanced it when in office. JC’s past beliefs will not be allowed to change that. Meanwhile the huge cuts to the forces made by the Tories since 2010 have caused immense damage to the UK’s security.

          • That was the last Labour manifesto pledge, but times have changed.

            Corbyn is on record as saying the next Labour manifesto will say that a defence review will take place and nothing is ruled in and nothing is ruled out.

            A momentum dominated Labour will unilaterally disarm.

      • had to laugh at our spanish ‘friends’ the new s-80 submarine won’t fit into its dock and it can sink, but not surface, the reason given, is that a decimal point was missed on the plans!!!!!!!!!

        • Given we’re not in election territory yet it’s not a problem worth worrying about or even debating. Right now the Govt is in power, not Mr Corbyn and they need to held to account for their actions, forthcoming cuts and mismanagement.

          I see Fallon stuck his head above the parapet at the conference and was firmly shot down at the lecturn by TM.

          No change imminent

  1. Great work by a much maligned and under valued part of our armed forces. Well done to all those who have and are serving.

    • Peter Hennessy’s updated ‘The Secret State’ mentions the amazement and admiration for the RN’s ability to maintain a continuous patrol with just 4 subs.

      • i suspect there is a very high chance that they haven’t been able to, but as long as any potential opponent doesn’t know for sure either way, there is always the deterence that one is out there, even if it’s not.

  2. 5 boats were thought to be the minimum. 4 gives one on patrol, one preparing, one in refit and one spare. I believe there have been times when there have been two subs on patrol. The old USSR and now Russia will certainly monitor when the sub leaves Faslane so I doubt there would have been gaps allowed. Still, 5 with two on patrol should be the minimum.

  3. Let me pose a question. When would the UK act on it’s own and use it ultimate weapon. If the answer is never then why are we paying for such a high price to replace it. In my opinion the time has come where our conventional forces are so weak that our retention of such an expensive nuclear delivery system has to be questioned. Personally I would pay a bit more for defence and healthcare but in the current political climate would a reduction to just tree boats make sense if it protected our conventional forces. In times of tension one of the subs if not already on patrol would just slip out of port. Can any sane person see any scenario where Russia, China or North Korea would just attack the UK?

    • We have it for a number of reasons:

      1) during the Cold War it was a kind of guaranteed the USA would not leave Europe high and dry. simply put, if a European nation was able to trigger MAD the USA was more bound to it’s fate, without the French and UK independent deterrant the USA had more opportunity to blink first.
      2) Keeping our seat at the UN.
      3) it stops a nuclear power blackmail the [email protected] out of you.

      I can’t see one of the most powerful nations in the world removing the most powerful weapon in the world from its toolkit. While our major competitors have them ( Russia and China), I can’t ever see us going……ohhhh well let’s trust the US to keep us safe from nuclear blackmail.

      Not that I think the US are bad allies (barring a few issues they have been pretty good) but I doubt any nations willingness to engage in nuclear war to protect another.

  4. I have posted this query elsewhere, but am genuinely interested in informed views.

    Could we possibly repurpose the Vanguard fleet as cruise/heavy missile carriers to support the Astute boats as the Dreadnaughts come on line?

    I know this is 10 years in the future but my understanding is the Vans are currently very advanced and would still be highly competitive if upgraded.

    Shoot me down as a fool if it fits – I just want informs views (I’m not military).

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