Britain is set to announce that it is increasing the number of nuclear warheads it can stockpile, The Telegraph has reported here.

An excerpt from this article states.

“The cap on the number of nuclear warheads Britain can stockpile will increase from around 180.”

You can read more at the source here.

The final details of this will be revealed on March the 16th in the Integrated Review.

The ‘Integrated Review’, to give it its full title the ‘Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy’ is effectively a defence review.

According to a Ministry of Defence announcement:

“General Sir Nick Carter has been central to setting the vision for our future armed forces. The Prime Minister has asked General Carter to remain in post to ensure continuity and stability while the conclusions of the Integrated Review are implemented following the £24.1-billion settlement for defence announced last year. 

The Integrated Review will be published on 16 of March and the Defence Command Paper will be published on 22 of March. The selection of General Carter’s successor as Chief of the Defence Staff will begin in the autumn.”

The review was previously described by Boris Johnson as the largest review of its kind since the Cold War and will be published later this month.

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Paul42

Presumably this means we’ll mounting more warheads on individual missiles rather than increasing the number of missiles actually carried by our SSBNs.

Captain P Wash

Might help with the reduced number of Launch Tubes per boat. Then again would it really matter either way ?

Peter S

Seems so. Why are we building Dreadnought with 12 tubes but only planning to load 8? Or has that changed as well?

Watcherzero

We were reducing the number of tubes because at the 2015 Defence Review we reduced the number of warheads we would deploy from 250 to 180 as a contribution to nuclear arms reduction.

Peter S

It goes back to 2010, before the design was finalised. So why incur the extra cost of 12 tubes when you only intend to use 8? There was some suggestion that the tubes could be used for cruise missiles, but ours are to be filled with ballast.

Deep32

No, they are used for training purposes if they dont take a full set of missiles.

Peter S

Per Naval Technology website it’s ballast. Whichever, still seems an unnecessary expense unless there really is a cunning plan.

Deep32

Sorry, mind in neutral when reading this, yes some do contain ballast, some are used for training whilst deployed.

David Flandry

It was done as part of the defense cuts; the contribution to arms reduction was very minor.

Robert Blay

They never carry a full load. Same for the American, Russian and French boats.

Rob N

I think Trident can carry 8 MIRVs per missile. Currently I do not think each missile is fully loaded. Some missiles might just have one MIRV for tactical use. I think the boat limit on MIRVs was set at 48 for political reasons… however this limit might be ditched allowing more MIRVs per boat. This could allow Dreadnaught to carry 96 MIRVs and the current boats to carry 128. However in reality less then a full load would be carried as we do not have the nukes to fully load 2 boats (one at sea and one ready to go… Read more »

John Mulley

It is fascinating to think that had nuclear weapons been around in 1914 there would not have been a 1st World War. Following on there wouldn’t have been a 2nd WW either.

Captain P Wash

Nor Korea, Vietnam, Falklands, Bosnia……….. !

TrevorH

They were not world wars, and were not attempting to ethet take us oer or hold us to ransom. And China and Korea were told to come to the table and they did not have the bomb. In 1953 Eisenhower said talk or get the bomb. They talked.

Andy P

Simpler and happier times eh Trevor ????

Captain P Wash

Neither WW1 or WW2 started off as World Wars.

John Mulley

Nuclear weapons and the concept of MAD might at least have caused them to think twice before lighting the blue touch paper.

TrevorH

A war involving Germany France UK, Belgium Italy Russia East and West Africa Japan India from 1914 onwards is a world war in my book.

Captain P Wash

Did you see what I wrote or did you just choose to ignore my comment “Started Off ” ? Come on mate, I like a debate as much as anyone here but try to keep on track at least.

John Mulley

Let’s say they started off slowly and then built up speed quickly to World War status!

Captain P Wash

Twas a fine line really…. Look up the “Red Plan”.

Spyinthesky

Indeed Britain only entered the First WW when Germany invaded Belgium due to our post Napoleon commitments and many historians claim the 2nd WW started in China with the Japanese invasion though I guess arguments will continue endlessly esp the latter. Meanwhile the Americans claim it started in 41.

David Flandry

WW2 in Europe started with the Nazi-Soviet Pact, whose aim was to turn Germany towards France and Britain.

Jonathan

That plan went well.

Jonathan

WW1, occurred over days, there was no gradual escalation. July came to a close and Europe and the British empire was at war within a week.

TrevorH

I am being clear. Nothing special or clever about it. As a simple example Japan, on the other side of the world joined the war in August 1914. WW2 could be said to be such after Pearl Harbour.

Jonathan

By the nature of the British empire at the beginning of the twentieth century the declaration of War between Britain and another major power became a world war at that point.

Jonathan

WW1 did, all the great powers apart from the USA went from a state peace to war in the last few days of July and first week of August. That was the tragedy of WW1, it’s overtook Europe and the British empire before most people even realised it was happening. The leaders of the great powers had A handful of days to decide to light the match or turn back, They lit the match. That tragic decision defined the entire 20th century, reversing a trend of reducing world wide violence over the previous hundred years, destabilising the world and creating… Read more »

Nigel Collins

And hopefully, not a third!comment image?fit=900%2C600&ssl=1

Challenger

Or a nuclear holocaust between the European imperial powers!

BB85

I wouldn’t write off a World War ever happening again. A miscalculation in the Pacific could very easily happen and both sides go to war on the understanding the other won’t press the nuclear button.

Nathan

Agreed, and Erdogan wants a united Islamic army to invade Israel. He may have just been sounding off but there are probably enough people who’d agree with him.

Read the Pakistan / India discussion boards – they hate each other. India and China have resorted to clubs and bare fist fighting over the border.

I agree with you, there are more than enough known political points of friction to trigger a descent into war and probably a few we don’t yet know of.

Sean

The Telegraph is also predicting an extra £80 billion for equipment over the next 4 years – which would upset all those that like to predict and bemoan cuts.
Either way, we’ll know the facts next week ?‍♂️

Last edited 1 month ago by Sean
Peter S

Is it? Or is it looking at the equipment plan which as published costs @£200 b over 10 years about 40% of which is on equipment purchase, the rest on support.
After the £16 b uplift announced last year, I can’t see another big uplift as likely. I’d love to be proved wrong.

Mark F

I’ll admit I’m wrong if this pie in the sky figure of £80 billion comes about over 4 years 80÷4 = 20 billion. So assuming the annual budget is £53 billion?
Let’s see 53-20= 33. So my guess is defence will be cut annually to £33billion. Enough to by a couple of mavic drones and pay pensions.

TrevorH

??? how do you get to a 20 billion cut out of a 20 billion extra?

Mark Franks

80÷4years= £20billion. You see it isn’t really an increase in the budget at all. It sounds great when 80 billion as banded about when In reality its spread over 4 years. Forget that the annual budget is around 53 billion. If the statement made clear that the annual budget is going up by 20 billion a year it would make sense. In reality that 80 billion will disapear from the annual cost and go supposedly into R&D for space and autonomous drones and mother-ships. 80 billion will not cover it though. What happens after 4 years is anyones guess. If… Read more »

TrevorH

I was not confused by the statement that claimed an ‘extra’ 80 billion.

Whether I think that the story is true at its face value is another matter. I am not sure that the 80 million on top of current capital equipment costs could be produced in 4 years.

Captain P Wash

It’s not confusing as it reads….. 80 Billion on top according to the Telegraph.

Mark Franks

“We shall” see as bomber Harris once said.

Peter S

Just managed to get round the Telegraph paywall and read the full article. Sadly, I was right: the £80b is not new money. It’s that part of the equipment plan ( made slightly less unaffordable by the £16b uplift) to be spent on new kit over 10 years. There is nothing new in the article except perhaps the claimed plan to scrap Warrior in favour of more Boxers. Not clear what the armoured brigades would use – mix of Ajax and Ares to carry enough infantry? Looks like only 48 F35 until after 2030. I am expecting more cuts beyond… Read more »

Gavin Gordon

Boxer’s a good basis, but the four initial variants as a combination seem timid, especially the ambulance version which appears over-specified on that chassis. Gives an impression of ‘fitted for but not with’ – a decent calibre gun option.

Peter S

Agreed. If Strike needs more firepower, something like the Italian Centauro 2 would be useful. Italy buying them for @ €1.5m each.

ChariotRider

Hi Peter,

With regards to the 48 F35 until after 2030, could be worse, at least they are leaving the door open to future buys…

We’ll find out tomorrow.

This could be the first review I download and read in full…

Cheers CR

Stephen Hamblen

I’m hoping that’s what is going to happen, a decent chunk of it needs to be used to expand manpower and new hardware for the British Army which has been treated like the slightly weird uncle in the kitchen that nobody wants to talk to, over the last 10 years or so. New or massively upgraded tanks are vital as we only have round 200 which, for a Country like ours, is outrageous.

Ross

I really hope you’re right as only the wilfully ignorant or blind would think the Army is in anything other that a severely depleted and handicapped force, both in terms of equipment but perhaps even more chronically,
manpower. That is to say frankly it is not a credible warfighting force, and I’m a primarily a pro senior service man.

ChariotRider

Hi Ross, I agree. I believe that given our geographical / geopolitical position we should put the RN first. Our key contribution to NATO being guarding the maritime flank. That, of course, would require a significant air capability so the RAF would be a close second, especially with regards to MPA and defence of the homeland. However, that would be baselined and predictated on us being able to support two critical NATO land fronts. North Norway, long a key responsibility of the Royal Marines / RN and these days the Baltic States. In short a properly equipped and structured army… Read more »

TrevorH

I would suggest that its impossible to spend 20 billion a year. And if it needs a starting up period I do not see us spending between 30 and 40 in year 4.

Mark Franks

Normally I would agree but this is the MOD and procurement executive.

Pacman27

on capital equipment purchase, we can easily spend £20bn pa as most of the current estate is in a soho kingly poor state. id think however that the following would provide a good fund for new equipment, but this needs to be the norm and not a one off army £3bn pa navy £5bn raf £5bn space £2bn cyber and quantum computing £2bn BMD £1bn munitions £2bn as you can see £20bn is easily spent without being extravagant and this does not include support. 10 x f35’s = £1bn 1 xT26 = £1bn 200 boxers = £1bn 1000 TLAM =… Read more »

TrevorH

My point was that we could not physically build that that amount of money from scratch. There is a finite number of F35s, especially Bs, that can be built in a year and other countries are to be fitted in.

We can all put together a list, but the existing list is quite long, before we have to start absorbing more.

Look I want to see more equipment, but it needs people to build them.

By the way, a standard quantum computer is not that expensive, but they have limitations and it depends how you want to use them.

Pacman27

I am in agreement with you Trevor, essentially £20bn covers what we should/ are committed to hence why the big black hole.

we can speed some things up T26 especially, but ultimately this is the kind of equipment budget required ever single year just to maintain the capabilities we want. It’s not a wish list budget, this is ultimately why orders get reduced by 50%+ with such regularity.

on quantum it’s making sure we are at the forefront as if we get left behind on quantum that will have significant repercussions for generations IMO.

Ross

That would be extraordinary on top of the Governments already announced commitments (£2bn immediately after becoming leader, then an extra £16+bn (depending on the maths)). Though regardless we’ll all need to brace for some things getting the boot.
I’d also welcome a genuine strategy to improve both cost and pace of equipment acquisition. Vast sums of defence cash is wasted which we all know on procurement, the Army looks particularly bad on that front.

Jan van der Werk

Agreed, trimming the fat from procurement would save billions.

ChariotRider

Hi Ross,

I would suggest that sorting out the procurement system should be the first priority of the day or we’ll be luckly to see £8bn worth of extra kit for £16bn of tax payers money.

Of course, the hard part is sorting the shambles out without making the situation even worse while you do it!

I just hope they don’t spend £6k per day on consultants as they have allegedly done of track and trace…

Cheers CR

Andy P

I’m not sure what to make of this to be honest, while we might not be able to mutually assure the destruction of a country with a large landmass we can certainly spoil their victory parade for a while. Do we really need any more warheads ????

Daniele Mandelli

Doubt it.

Aren’t the warheads getting updated? If so if they’re being rotated in and out of Burghfield maybe this ensures enough remain operational?

Andy P

I don’t know mate, we’ve managed so far with what we have. It might well be something along the lines you’re suggesting and we’re only want another 20 or so to keep X amount ‘ready us’. We don’t know all the details I guess.

Meirion X

The new warheads will most likely be aimed at China.

Deep32

Thats not exactly how it works im afraid. Targets are assigned with the incoming firing message, which starts with the PM.

Daniele Mandelli

Yes, via the NOTC I believe. Then onto CTF345.

Deep32

Then ends up onboard, after the Capt/XO do their bit, the last link in the firing chain is the WEOs ‘trigger’ believe it or not..

Lordtemplar

Probably not, considering existing stockpiles are more than enough to level every strategic targets in both Russia and China (major cities, industrial centers and key military installations). There is no need to cover the whole land mass, ie Siberia and Gobi desert are basically unpopulated.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lordtemplar
Jonathan

you don’t really need to do a lot to effectively end a modern state, remove the major nodes ( cities ) leaving them unliveable, removing transport links and infrastructure links and the country is not coming back.

I was always taut that a modern nation was around 2 weeks away from the beginning of starvation. Even if you have a large land mass nation like Russia, remove its key infrastructure nodes and leaving it’s major cities poisoned wastelands will do that…..all the untold wilderness in between does is just provides lot of places for the disposed millions to slowly die

Paul.P

Apparently this is in response to China’s continuing to increase its stockpile. An extract of a Times article with more hints on next weeks announcements has been posted on the Navweaps forum. According to it, 150 to 170 Challenger 2 will get the full turret, gun, engine etc upgrade, the whole Warrior fleet will be ‘abandoned’ and the Boxer order increased. More development of offensive drones and loitering munitions and methods of countering them.

Captain P Wash

Warrior to be Sold ……

Paul.P

Hopefully an opportunity to help friends.
The advent of cheap Turkish style drones and loitering munitions seems to have caused some reflection on the vulnerability of armoured vehicles and the nature of artillery.

Captain P Wash

So I’ve been seeing.

Stephen Hamblen

Personally, I think the treasury should pay for the Country’s strategic nuclear deterrent and NOT the M.O.D. The amount saved by the defence office could be used for more manpower and more hardware, in particular the British Army as it is under strength and desperately needs more tanks for a start.

TrevorH

Building the thinks is expensive, but running them is not relatively and it’s one hell of a bank for a buck. And spread over 30+ years then it probably works out.

Possibly large cost items could be spread out some way. There ought to be some way to amortize these costs over time… surely? Is there a financial wizard somewhere? And don’t say, ‘Gordon Brown’ !

Captain P Wash

Need a new Phone ?

Andy P

Nuclear submarines aren’t cheap to run mate.

TrevorH

So is an army and an Air Force.

Andy P

I was referring to this statement.

Building the thinks is expensive, but running them is not relatively”

Just pointing out that nuclear submarines ARE NOT relatively cheap to run compared to the build. Its not just the boats, you need an infrastructure to support them, inspection teams etc that is over and above the cost of supporting a non nuclear vessel.

Captain P Wash

The after service life cost’s are horrendously expensive too, people tend to forget that basic fact. In 30 years time, It’s someone else’s problem, just look at all the N boats tied up.

Andy P

The decommissioning is expensive but having them tied up in Guz/Rosyth isn’t that expensive in itself I believe. I’ve no idea of the cost of ‘getting rid’ of the reactors themselves. I would guess that the MOD is being overcharged (speculation) as the hulls need to be somewhere sort of secure but they used to get one guy go round once a week to open them up and have a nose I seem to remember. You could get down them for a scavenge if you booked it in advance, I was down Swiftsure looking for a plug for a sink… Read more »

Captain P Wash

A google Map’s search of Rosyth, Devonport and Faslane will quickly show how many boats are tied up waiting, including the Polaris Boats. Decades just sat waiting. I’d hate to think what the Americans and Russians have laying around…..

Andy P

No decommissioned boats in Fassers Captain, easy to assume so at times when you have one sat alongside for months…. They’re all in Rosyth and Guz.

captain p wash

Yup, sorry Andy my mistake, it currently shows 2 of the V boats at Faslane… but another 14 in Devonport and 7 at Rosyth but…. These are older Maps. Still, I guess they are somewhere in various states of de-commissioning.

Andy P

No worries, over the years there have been boats sat in Faslane that long that they might as well have been decommissioned.

Peter S

The defence budget is really just a one way cash flow forecast. The Treasury needs to know how much cash it needs to find and this is projected over a rolling 10 year period.
The 10 year equipment plan is about£200b for purchase and support. Only @ 40% is for actually buying new kit.
The submarine budget- Astute and Dreadnought- is >£50 b. More than half of this is also support.

Rogbob

Why, The deterrent is the principal piece of defence equipment for the country, isnt that the purpose of the MoD to manage and budget for Above all, the treasury is paying for it – it gives money to the MoD to provide defence! The entire “put the deternet elsewhere” is the most shamelessly transparent attempt to pretend nukes arent what they are (a threat to kill en masse) and that only tanks, planes and ships are “real” defence that is somehow noble and righteous. The business of the MoD is to kill. Nukes just do that bigger than any other… Read more »

Andy P

Not trying to be picky Rogbob but the ‘business’ of the MoD is Defence. The clue is in the name. Yes, that might mean that they have to kill but it also means that they can deter, either with conventional or nuclear weapons. Fortunately we tend to prefer the latter than the former as a rule in the UK.

Rogbob

Yeah that is kind of picky though 🙂

The business if MoD is to kill, everything else flows from that, including deterrance and so on – but that especially only works when the decisive (killing) effect is credible.

A reluctance to use lethal force is moral and effective most of the tome, but ultimately when all that has failed, it comes down to the ability to kill.

Gavin Gordon

Says stockpile as in store. If so, same ‘storehouse’, or one south of border.

Daniele Mandelli

I’d think both.

Dave Wolfy

We will soon have more nuclear weapons than battle tanks – absurd.

John Clark

This is interesting, we certainly need to check the ever dropping stockpile and ensure our deterrence remains valid.

The world has changed since the 2010 review, back then, we were narrowly fixated on insurgencies and terrorism.

11 years on, we have gone 180 degrees, back to power block confrontation and probably proxy state warfare … Back to the future!

As we all do, I await the results of the Defence review with great interest.

I’m personally looking forward to the formal launch of Tempest, hopefully with some news of manned/UCAV fleet mix and numbers etc.

Mark B

Perhaps the most likely reason is an increased number of potential targets and/or delivery mechanisms. A potential acknowledgment we now have many targets across the world and perhaps an alternative delivery system might be worth looking at?

James

Don’t see any point in increasing the stockpile unless they’re going to sea with a bigger load out. Let’s face it if situation calls for the RN to launch its missiles it’ll be the one sub on patrol that ever does, everything else will be destroyed at faslane minutes later

Steve R

If it were a strike out of the blue, yes.

However it’s unlikely that we would be attacked randomly; either tensions or an actual war leading up to it is more likely. If that is the case and it was escalating up to the point where nuclear strikes seemed likely, we could probsbly put a 2nd sub out to sea in fairly short notice.

Don’t we have one sub always at sea and another always ready to be deployed on short notice?