Trident is only choice, says Fox

Discussion in 'SitRep' started by Colin1, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    The Daily Telegraph 26 June 2010

    Defence Secretary risks Lib Dem anger over review

    By James Kirkup
    Political Correspondent


    The Defence Secretary has ruled out any alternative to the Trident nuclear missile system in a move that could strain the Coalition. Dr Liam Fox said that a Ministry of Defence review of the £20bn plan to replace the Trident system of submarine-launched missiles will not look at any other forms of nuclear weapon. It will focus solely on minimising the costs of a direct replacement for Trident, he said.

    Senior Liberal Democrats have said that the 'value for money' review of the Trident replacement must look at alternatives such as a cruise missile carried on military aircraft. But Dr Fox said alternative weapons have been 'discounted'.

    The issue of replacing Trident was one of the most contentious of the Coalition talks between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. The Conservative manifesto promised to replace the existing Trident system with a new submarine-based missile system.

    The Lib Dems said a 'like-for-like' replacement would be expensive and unnecessary. The party's manifesto promised a smaller, cheaper, nuclear weapon.

    The final Coalition agreement contained an ambiguously worded compromise.

    It said: 'We will maintain Britain's nuclear deterrent and have agreed that the renewal of Trident should be scrutinised to ensure value for money. Lib Dems wil continue to make the case for alternatives'.

    Senior Lib Dems have said the agreement means that the review must include alternatives to a submarine-based weapon.

    Sir Menzies Campbell, the former Lib Dem leader, said: "I do not see how one can have a value-for-money assessment unless one considers what alternatives are available".

    But in a written parliamentary answer, Dr Fox indicated that the cost-cutting review will be confined to the planned Trident replacement. "The alternatives to a submarine-based ballistic missile have previously been analysed comprehensively and discounted, either because they could not provide an effective deterrent capability or because they cost more" he said.

    "The value-for-money study is reviewing the existing plan for the Trident successor".

    John Woodcock, a Labour member of the defence select committee, backed the decision to renew the Trident system but said it suggested the Lib Dems had been misled about the policy. "Relations were already strained after the Budget - this is unlikely to make things any easier".
     
  2. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    How can you cut the cost of national defense? "I'm sorry, citizens, we've now got a glowing hole in our country because that was in one of the thinly-defended budget areas. My bad."
     
  3. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    I'd say a glowing hole
    in any of the Western powers' cities is entirely feasible, what I doubt is that the agency delivering it will be of the traditional type that we can chuck one back at. Terrorists are notoriously difficult to point conventional (and nuclear, in this case) weapons at; in my own opinion, the money would be better spent elsewhere.
     
  4. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Hmmm...methinks this could get political real quick. :lol: I see where you're coming from, but to say that there will never be a need for traditional defenses is, in my opinion, going a little bit too extreme in the other direction. Being too paranoid and not being paranoid enough are both bad places to be. Personally, I think there are plenty of superfluous and fluffy funding black-holes that could be plugged in order to divert much-needed cash elsewhere.
     
  5. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    Without going political, I must say that I agree with Colin, and so does a large chunk of the UK population. You can't use Trident to deal with small groups of terrorists, especially if they are in your own country, as most of ours are.

    Furthermore, our Tridents are actually owned by the US - we merely lease them, and according to a report in yesterday's Guardian, we would actually need US permission to fire them anyway. This makes it likely that we would only use them to support the US using their own missiles. With the cooling of the special relationship and increasing disillusionment with the War on Terror, I am certain this is a situation that the population of the UK would not countenance for even a second...
     
  6. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Seriously???????? Cripes sound like we should be paying you guys instead.
     
  7. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    It's only what I've read, but it has been mentioned several times since the Lib Dems promised to review Trident in the run-up to the election. The government would rather maintain a ballistic deterrent on such terrible terms and at great cost, than seriously study dropping ballistic weapons for an air-launched alternative, independently operated at a fraction of the cost :|
     
  8. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    That sounds reasonable to me....don't scrap the whole defense system just to save bucks that'll end up going to some politician's yacht-fund; scrap an old, obsolete system once a new, modern, up-to-date system has been developed, tested, and placed online.
     
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