Why did the UK conceed domestic Nuclear weapons to U.S. ones?

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Soldieroffortune
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As per title:
Why do you think the UK abandoned its atomic weapons programmes and delivery systems to US made ones unlike any other western country who all maintain domestically designed and built weapons and delivery systems.
I mean we helped greatly with the Manhattan project combining our research 'Tube Alloys' to American research creating the worlds first Fission bomb.

Our last domestically designed Thermonuclear warhead that could be deployed was the 'Green Grass' device for the 'Yellow sun' case.
and the last independent missiles were the Skybolt missile [albeit armed with an American bomb the B.28 or 'Red Snow' Technically British but still a copy of the American Bomb]

It should also be noted that the arsenal of Trident D5 Mk II SLBM's are not in fact ours but are still American and simply leased to us and all service/maintenance etc. is done by America ergo we are completely dependant on them [whilst the domestically produced copy of the W76 is the warhead]
http://www.publications.parliament.u...86/986we13.htm

This is in contrast to say France who maintain their own domestic missiles/bombs and devices - TN-81 warhead, ASMP cruise missile, M45 SLBM, M51 SLBM [TN-75][TNO warhead]]



So fun and boring facts aside why do you think we ditched our own force for that of America bar economics and should we ditch this be it for a new domestically built force or be the 3rd nation i believe to give up its nuclear weapons?
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by Soldieroffortune)
As per title:
Why do you think the UK abandoned its atomic weapons programmes and delivery systems to US made ones unlike any other western country who all maintain domestically designed and built weapons and delivery systems.
I mean we helped greatly with the Manhattan project combining our research 'Tube Alloys' to American research creating the worlds first Fission bomb.

Our last domestically designed Thermonuclear warhead that could be deployed was the 'Green Grass' device for the 'Yellow sun' case.
and the last independent missiles were the Skybolt missile [albeit armed with an American bomb the B.28 or 'Red Snow' Technically British but still a copy of the American Bomb]

It should also be noted that the arsenal of Trident D5 Mk II SLBM's are not in fact ours but are still American and simply leased to us and all service/maintenance etc. is done by America ergo we are completely dependant on them [whilst the domestically produced copy of the W76 is the warhead]
http://www.publications.parliament.u...86/986we13.htm

This is in contrast to say France who maintain their own domestic missiles/bombs and devices - TN-81 warhead, ASMP cruise missile, M45 SLBM, M51 SLBM [TN-75][TNO warhead]]



So fun and boring facts aside why do you think we ditched our own force for that of America bar economics and should we ditch this be it for a new domestically built force or be the 3rd nation i believe to give up its nuclear weapons?
All UK warheads are British design and built. The U.S. And UK have never shared that kind of information.

We do however share delivery systems because of cost. It's cheaper to buy off the shelf than develop your own system.
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Soldieroffortune
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(Original post by MatureStudent36)
All UK warheads are British design and built. The U.S. And UK have never shared that kind of information.

We do however share delivery systems because of cost. It's cheaper to buy off the shelf than develop your own system.
Wrong, the warhead may be built at the AWE in Aldermaston but its still almost a complete carbon copy of the W76 Warhead... And we've shared a lot of information thanks to the 1958 accord; take the exchange of material Tritium, Plutonium, Highly enriched Uranium, Deuterium and of course the SLBM tech Polaris and Trident.. which according to several treaties should technically be a big no no :L

Either way my point was more along the lines of we already had a delivery system and the means to further develop it why we sold out our defence capabilities to save a few pounds is well... Take for instance if we really upset the US, all they have to do is tell Boeing [is it boeing or Lockheed who make the Trident?] to stop any services for it and its toast.
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Aj12
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It is overly expensive and we have a strong alliance with the Us so it makes sense to take advance of that. We get a cheaper deterrent, they get a nuclear partner.

It's only france in the west that wanted an independent nuclear deterrent, I don't really think it gives them much of an advantage over the British system.

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L i b
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(Original post by Soldieroffortune)
So fun and boring facts aside why do you think we ditched our own force for that of America bar economics and should we ditch this be it for a new domestically built force or be the 3rd nation i believe to give up its nuclear weapons?
Sacrificing independence of acquisition was an entirely cost-based decision. Nothing more. I don't think there's any great argument for changing that position: ultimately it to some extent depends on a relationship with the US remaining intact, but if that was to change we'd have plenty of time to develop new delivery systems etc ourselves (or more likely, buy them from the French...)
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seaholme
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Nuclear weapons are all posturing anyway, I don't think it matters where we get them from. Nobody actually ever intends to use them. We could have cardboard replicas and provided nobody *knew* they weren't real, it wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference.

Even if we scrapped them I don't honestly think it would make much difference, because nobody wants to use them.
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Soldieroffortune
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(Original post by Aj12)
It is overly expensive and we have a strong alliance with the Us so it makes sense to take advance of that. We get a cheaper deterrent, they get a nuclear partner.

It's only france in the west that wanted an independent nuclear deterrent, I don't really think it gives them much of an advantage over the British system.

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The fact that we're entirely reliant on them doesn't bother you at all? France at least retains full control over their system but we are shackled to the US in every way by using their missiles are we not? As i said since if they decide to stop maintaining our fleet it will cease to exist...
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seaholme
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(Original post by Soldieroffortune)
The fact that we're entirely reliant on them doesn't bother you at all? France at least retains full control over their system but we are shackled to the US in every way by using their missiles are we not? As i said since if they decide to stop maintaining our fleet it will cease to exist...
We're almost entirely reliant on the rest of the world for food, clothes and petrol as well, things which some might argue are more important. I think it's just the nature of the world today that we're not fully independent for anything much.
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Aj12
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(Original post by Soldieroffortune)
The fact that we're entirely reliant on them doesn't bother you at all? France at least retains full control over their system but we are shackled to the US in every way by using their missiles are we not? As i said since if they decide to stop maintaining our fleet it will cease to exist...
We have full control of the system, firing authority is all our own and not reliant on any other nation. The only issue we have is where we receive the warheads from. Given that it is very unlikely there will ever be a situation where America would end the agreement, there is no issue here.Even if they did end nuclear cooperation, which would signal a massive deterioration in the international situation, we would develop our own or work with the French.

They won't stop cooperation because they need a nuclear ally. They realize the value of the British nuclear deterrent.
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Soldieroffortune
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(Original post by Aj12)
We have full control of the system, firing authority is all our own and not reliant on any other nation. The only issue we have is where we receive the warheads from. Given that it is very unlikely there will ever be a situation where America would end the agreement, there is no issue here.Even if they did end nuclear cooperation, which would signal a massive deterioration in the international situation, we would develop our own or work with the French.

They won't stop cooperation because they need a nuclear ally. They realize the value of the British nuclear deterrent.
The point was more that these arent our weapons the only way in which we can claim them as ours is that we construct the warheads at the AWE aside from that they legally arent ours to start with and indeed do require a lot of work to keep them in a state to be fit for service which we have no control over only Boeing does.
Maybe, maybe not but considering that Britain is looking for a replacement to Trident [or possibly] that proves fun in that our knowledge of missile construction is non existent in this field and i believe we're banned from putting them on IRBMs unless that was just the USA and USSR?
Doubtful the French would share though although that being said since they're made by EADS technically we should have access to it.

A deterrent? Its only realistically aimed against two countries and neither of them could see Britain's 10 fielded missiles as a threat...
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Aj12
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(Original post by Soldieroffortune)
The point was more that these arent our weapons the only way in which we can claim them as ours is that we construct the warheads at the AWE aside from that they legally arent ours to start with and indeed do require a lot of work to keep them in a state to be fit for service which we have no control over only Boeing does.
Maybe, maybe not but considering that Britain is looking for a replacement to Trident [or possibly] that proves fun in that our knowledge of missile construction is non existent in this field and i believe we're banned from putting them on IRBMs unless that was just the USA and USSR?
Doubtful the French would share though although that being said since they're made by EADS technically we should have access to it.

A deterrent? Its only realistically aimed against two countries and neither of them could see Britain's 10 fielded missiles as a threat...

We have firing authority, we decide what we do with, we decide how we use them. I think that means they qualify as ours.

What do IRBM's have to do with this? We don't operate them.

France would likely help out, it makes Europe more powerful, creates British dependence on France and would bring huge economic benefits. But this is all moot given that nuclear cooperation with the Americans won't end.

Yeah I'm sure Russia would not notice if Moscow and 9 other major cities disappeared. It is a minimum credible deterrent, all it has to do is ensure that the UK would not be worth attacking, as the damage the attacker would receive in return would negate any strategic achievement.

I don't really think you understand nuclear weapons if you think any nation would willingly absorb at minimum 10 nuclear strikes against its population centres.
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joey11223
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(Original post by Aj12)
I don't really think you understand nuclear weapons if you think any nation would willingly absorb at minimum 10 nuclear strikes against its population centres.
Nah it's you that don't seem to get it, if Putin was chilling in Moscow and a nuke was en-route, he'd just ride horse-back towards it, jump about 600m into the air (about where they detonate), and sucker punch that thing right back at Westminster (even though that's not where it would be launched from).
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Aj12
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(Original post by joey11223)
Nah it's you that don't seem to get it, if Putin was chilling in Moscow and a nuke was en-route, he'd just ride horse-back towards it, jump about 600m into the air (about where they detonate), and sucker punch that thing right back at Westminster (even though that's not where it would be launched from).
You think he'd stay in Moscow during a nuclear war? Bull****, he'd be riding the first shot back Strangelove style. There's even been a training exercise.

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joey11223
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(Original post by Aj12)
You think he'd stay in Moscow during a nuclear war? Bull****, he'd be riding the first shot back Strangelove style. There's even been a training exercise.

Image
Hmm suppose so though I'd argue the point was he assumed Britain the bulldog wouldn't have the balls to fire first. But like the USA's little ***** they did. So he has to punch the Moscow one back (lettuce be real peasants elsewhere can breed themselves back) and then rides the nuke in reply to the UK.

Albeit it's not necessarily plain sailing, after all one has to remember that when the Nuke hits London, most do die, but Boris, imbued with the radioactive energy, would likely turn into the mop-headed hulk that he is, and thus a long brawl between the two would ensue. In the end I believe Putin would in fact get Boris on side and together they would conquer the UK.

.....this is relevant to the thread.
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Observatory
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(Original post by Soldieroffortune)
As per title:
Why do you think the UK abandoned its atomic weapons programmes and delivery systems to US made ones unlike any other western country who all maintain domestically designed and built weapons and delivery systems.
1. Britain did not abandon its atomic weapons programme and has continuously built all its own warheads since 1952.

2. Only one other Western country has an independent nuclear production capability, France. Only four other Western countries have ever possessed nuclear weapons, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Belgium, which hosted US weapons and delivery systems under the dual key system, i.e. US authorisation required for US. No other Western countries have possessed nuclear weapons at all.

3. Britain has built a large number of nuclear delivery systems domestically, including the V bombers, various gravity bombs dropped by aircraft, nuclear depth charges, and the Resolution and Vanguard submarines.

4. Since 1968 Britain has imported US ballistic missiles for its submarines. The rationale was primarily economic: the US were offering a very good system and an even better price. The US essentially subsidises the Britain nuclear deterrent because they wanted to avoid the possibility of Britain supplying nuclear weapons to other countries within the Western alliance (note that the NPT was also signed in 1968!).

So fun and boring facts aside why do you think we ditched our own force for that of America bar economics and should we ditch this be it for a new domestically built force or be the 3rd nation i believe to give up its nuclear weapons?
At that time there was no disadvantage, since our possession of nuclear weapons was important for the Americans and in the only situation in which we might use them - a Soviet invasion of Western Europe - the Americans probably would have done so too.

Today, I think this logic no longer applies, and it would make sense for Britain to develop the next generation of missiles domestically. The US is becoming a Pacific power but Europe's rivals have not disappeared. Russia remains an aggressive, nationalistic power. Meanwhile the Middle East teeters on the edge of a nuclear arms race which, with such a limp and incoherent US policy as the one at present, seems to be just a matter of time. Britain can no longer rely on US interests to be aligned with its own.

Note, though, that what the media misleading calls "the replacement of Trident" actually has nothing to do with the Trident missiles. It is a programme for replacing the four ballistic missile submarines that are and have always been domestically produced. A decision on a new missile does not need to be made for at least a decade.
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Observatory
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(Original post by L i b)
Sacrificing independence of acquisition was an entirely cost-based decision. Nothing more. I don't think there's any great argument for changing that position: ultimately it to some extent depends on a relationship with the US remaining intact, but if that was to change we'd have plenty of time to develop new delivery systems etc ourselves (or more likely, buy them from the French...)
I'm not sure if that would be possible. Trident D5 has a diameter of 2.11m and M51 has a diameter of 2.3m. It is likely that the French missiles wouldn't fit the British submarines and designing our own missile is probably cheaper than building new submarines.
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by Soldieroffortune)
Wrong, the warhead may be built at the AWE in Aldermaston but its still almost a complete carbon copy of the W76 Warhead... And we've shared a lot of information thanks to the 1958 accord; take the exchange of material Tritium, Plutonium, Highly enriched Uranium, Deuterium and of course the SLBM tech Polaris and Trident.. which according to several treaties should technically be a big no no :L

Either way my point was more along the lines of we already had a delivery system and the means to further develop it why we sold out our defence capabilities to save a few pounds is well... Take for instance if we really upset the US, all they have to do is tell Boeing [is it boeing or Lockheed who make the Trident?] to stop any services for it and its toast.
I really don't know how to debate with somebody who's never been involved in, visited or worked at/with or received briefings on the UKs deterent.

I got into a discussion a few months ago with somebody who ws feeling me how crap the SA80a2 was who'd never even fired one.

The UK and U.S. Have shared a lot, but there's also been things that aren't shared.

We had a crap delivery system that didn't work properly, would have cost a small fortune to fix and I would never have been able to afford to upgrade it or replace it.
We buy a missile. It's cheaper for us to buy off the shelf and cheaper for the Americans to have a partner to share the development costs with.

Why are you upset about nuckear delivery systems? We buy in AT capabilities now.
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