Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Do we need a like-for-like replacement of Trident? Watch

  • View Poll Results: Should we replace Trident?
    No
    18
    32.14%
    Yes, but with a cheaper alternative (e.g. nuclear tipped tomahawks)
    4
    7.14%
    Yes
    34
    60.71%

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    David Cameron cites the unfolding events in North Korea as an example of why it would be folly to abandon out nuclear deterrent capability, but is it really worth the money and how much of a deterrent actually is it?

    People often cite as an example the fact that Britain's nuclear capability did not deter Argentina from invading the Falklands because they knew such an act would not justify using them in the eyes of the international community. So what would? Presumably only a nuclear attack on the UK mainland by another nation. But what if it were carried out by terrorists not affiliated to a state?

    Also, unlike the Force de Frappe, it is not completely independent from the U.S. As I understand it, to fire the missiles accurately still requires codes from the U.S. to access their guidance satellites.

    I'm not saying we necessarily should abandon it but perhaps the UK could make a more useful contribution to global security by spending the money on its conventional forces which are suffering from years of underfunding?

    I do think Europe as a whole should have a nuclear deterrent though, especially as the U.S. is increasingly turning its interests to the Asia-Pacific region, and if the UK did not replace Trident that would only leave the Force de Frappe. Humphry Appleby once said, the real reason Britain has nuclear weapons is because "the French have them".
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Thomas2)
    David Cameron cites the unfolding events in North Korea as an example of why it would be folly to abandon out nuclear deterrent capability, but is it really worth the money and how much of a deterrent actually is it?

    People often cite as an example the fact that Britain's nuclear capability did not deter Argentina from invading the Falklands because they knew such an act would not justify using them in the eyes of the international community. So what would? Presumably only a nuclear attack on the UK mainland by another nation. But what if it were carried out by terrorists not affiliated to a state?

    Also, unlike the Force de Frappe, it is not completely independent from the U.S. As I understand it, to fire the missiles accurately still requires codes from the U.S. to access their guidance satellites.

    I'm not saying we necessarily should abandon it but perhaps the UK could make a more useful contribution to global security by spending the money on its conventional forces which are suffering from years of underfunding?

    I do think Europe as a whole should have a nuclear deterrent though, especially as the U.S. is increasingly turning its interests to the Asia-Pacific region, and if the UK did not replace Trident that would only leave the Force de Frappe. Humphry Appleby once said, the real reason Britain has nuclear weapons is because "the French have them".
    I started a thread on this not so long ago, and it accumulated a few hundred replies. Anyway....

    Faced with the choice of replacing Trident or cutting conventional forces, I would go with the latter of the two.

    Perhaps if the government wants to maintain conventional forces, it could cut something else to maintain Trident. For example it could cut Welfare, Healthcare or Education for this to happen.

    It is important that we can have a strong showing in the international community and Trident is central to this.

    Further to that, the first role of Government is to defend us. So in an uncertain world, Trident is very very necessary to insure our wellbeing as a nation of free people.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    I dunno, I feel like if there's a nuclear war, we probably don't wanna be around to see it anyway/wouldn't have been able to prevent it by having our own weapons. Might as well just save the money and buy some cool new stuff for the public to make whatever time we have left more enjoyable.

    And if there is no strike on our country, then we're all better off anyway!
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    I'd replace it with a cheap air-launched alternative. I don't see us fighting anyone with the capability to prevent planes going up; at least not in the short term.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Before idealists come in and say we should scrap the nukes because they have the potential to kill millions etc. Thats all well and good in an ideal world, but unless every country did it there is no reason to do it and we'd lose a lot of power against countries with nukes, for one thing we'd have to do whatever America told us so that they would defend us from potential attacks from other countries, it makes no sense to scrap them we'd be irrelevant to the world.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    Is there any cheaper alternative? We want nukes as a deterrent, not as an offensive weapon, and that means being able to strike anywhere in the world at a moments notice. Tomahawks, like other cruise missiles, have a maximum range of around 1,500 miles or so, so they'd be basically useless for that purpose if we didn't have weeks of warning to get them into position.

    No, if we only want one set of nuclear weapons then they have to be submarine-launched ballistic missiles like Trident or nothing.
    • Political Ambassador
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    Political Ambassador
    Tomahawk missiles are a terrible idea. Every time we fire a missile at any country they won't be able to tell if its nuclear tipped or not....

    We live in uncertain times and our nuclear deterrent gives a measure of guarantee against attack by other nation states. It'd be foolish to remove it.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I would just like to add, before anyway says we do not use our nuclear weapons so there is no point in having them, is the fact that we do. Every day. The purpose of a nuclear deterrent is to deter, that means they are not to be fired.

    If they do need to be fired, that is when they have failed us and that is when the argument of nuclear weapons not fulfilling its duties can be used.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    We need to replace trident with the ultimate weapon, metal gear
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Clip)
    I'd replace it with a cheap air-launched alternative. I don't see us fighting anyone with the capability to prevent planes going up; at least not in the short term.
    An air based deterrent would require the procurement of a bomber capability which we currently don’t have, as well as an extensive new refuelling tanker fleet. This is additional to the necessary procurement of a new weapon system which can deliver a strategic warhead at a safe distance and still hit the target . One reason that the RAF getting out of the nuclear business was the lack of a long term long range missile system. We, as the UK, would have to probably design one from scratch, and the cost would be vast.

    Also there are security issues inherent to the requisite increase of airbases and the bigger vulnerability of the force. It’s also worth noting that the current UK nuclear boats reportedly deploy with up to 40 warheads onboard – this is not dissimilar to the RAF V Force capability of the early sixties, which required a number of aircraft squadrons and a couple of dozen airbases available to disperse to if required. Unfortunately, as of next year, the RAF will be operating fast jets from a number of air bases between two and four (i.e. only three).

    In addition, it is completely unfeasible to use nuclear-tipped TLAMs. This is because there are simply none in use anymore and the UK would have to develop a new miniaturised warhead to work with the extant technology (see point above regarding how skint UK PLC is). So, we'd then have to have a completely new set of designer warheads, command and control units as well as myriad other bits and bobs. All this would cost far, far more than keeping Trident.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    Trident is already a pretty minimal force. It's very good, but it's certainly not on a major scale and there's only so much that could realistically be reduced.

    For my part, I'm happy with a like-for-like replacement. The defence budget has been cut significantly and Trident only makes up a relatively small part of that. For what it does, it's definitely worth that relatively small share of our resources. Without it, in fact, we'd be more or less undefended against a significant military power.

    As much as the anti-nuclear left tries to portray UK's influence as somehow an irrelevant hangover from our imperial past, I also value Britain's role on the world stage. Let's face it, being a nuclear weapons state is a considerable part of that. If nukes buy us our permanent seat on the UN Security Council then they are worth every penny.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Clip)
    I'd replace it with a cheap air-launched alternative. I don't see us fighting anyone with the capability to prevent planes going up; at least not in the short term.

    There's no such thing as cheap air launched. Read up in the history of the v force
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    Giving up the ultimate guarantee of independence for the sake of saving something like 0.4% of the budget seems like a false economy.

    And unfortunately there is no 'alternative'. Trident with 4 submarines is already the cheapest viable system that could be constructed; nuclear-tipped tomahawks would not be a credible second strike capability and probably wouldn't even be much cheaper either.

    (Original post by Clip)
    I'd replace it with a cheap air-launched alternative. I don't see us fighting anyone with the capability to prevent planes going up; at least not in the short term.
    I don't see us fighting anyone we intended to nuke in the short term either. The problem is the deterrent is designed against countries that actually have the capability to fight effectively. The fast we live in a world where such countries rarely fight is precisely because of the existence of the nuclear deterrent.
    • PS Helper
    • Study Helper
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    PS Helper
    Study Helper
    It's the same debate we have every year over snow grit. If there's no snow, 'Omg why did they waste so much money on grit when it didn't snow', and if there is snow, 'Omg why does our country shut down when it snows'.


    Eventually we just started getting the grit and accepting the risk that it may not snow.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Trident needs to be like for like replaced as it's location is unknown and changing (And thus can be used as retalliation), it doesnt pose risk to citizens if it goes wrong and we need to make sure argetina knows that if they invadw the falklands we can flatten Buenos Aires within seconds.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by astrojg)
    Trident needs to be like for like replaced as it's location is unknown and changing (And thus can be used as retalliation), it doesnt pose risk to citizens if it goes wrong and we need to make sure argetina knows that if they invadw the falklands we can flatten Buenos Aires within seconds.

    Posted from TSR Mobile


    I think you misunderstand when and why trident would be used. It would never be used over the Falklands.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by MatureStudent36)
    I think you misunderstand when and why trident would be used. It would never be used over the Falklands.
    Depends on the goverment at the time but note the use of the word can. The argetinas mighten think we will but will know we can.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Are nuclear weapons a deterrent? Notice that there has not been another Indo-Pakistani war since they got nukes. So far so good..... So I will vote "yes".
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Thomas2)
    Force de Frappe
    I've heard of this! Is it something to do with why there's now a starbucks in every street in my home city now?
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by newpersonage)
    Are nuclear weapons a deterrent? Notice that there has not been another Indo-Pakistani war since they got nukes. So far so good..... So I will vote "yes".
    And the cold war didn't turn hot. In fact if you look at the history of the cold war, they definitely kept the peace and the Warsaw Bloc nations would've and could've just steam rollered through Western Germany.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Would you like to hibernate through the winter months?
    Useful resources

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.