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Subject: Replace SSBNs with Land Launched Nuclear Weapons
streaky bacon    9/25/2006 4:15:50 AM
As some sources suggest that a new class of SSBNs with any associated missile system is likely to cost upwards to £25 Billion, would it not make more sense to simply develop a few missiles silos somewhere in the Scottish Highlands. Surely just the fact that we have such weapons ready to fire, be a deterrent to any would be aggressors!!!!!
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Yimmy       9/25/2006 7:38:56 PM
I used to be a big fan of the RAF's V Bomber force, but these days to have a credible nuclear deterrent you NEED SSBN's.
A silo is nothing but a sitting duck.
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neofire1000       9/25/2006 8:20:37 PM
The UK is far too SMALL and there is no part of it out of the range of enemy weapons, is was decided that the UK would field SSBN's as their only nuclear deterrent because of this fact.
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perfectgeneral       9/26/2006 10:17:39 PM
If four later Astutes are modified to house four ICBMs each in their (extended) conning tower, we could probably do nuclear deterrent on the cheap.
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Yimmy       9/27/2006 7:33:16 AM
I don't tink that would work.
1)  Four missiles are not enough, when you factor in that some of those missiles may malfunction, or be otherwise interceped and fail to reach their targets. The total number of targets would also be reduced. If only one or wo such boats were available, would they really pose a credible deterant to China, with their but 8 missiles?
2) It would cause an issue politically what with brining nukes to an otherwise conventional limited conflict.
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perfectgeneral       9/29/2006 5:02:46 PM
Those four (eight?) missiles would each carry sixteen warheads.
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Yimmy       9/29/2006 5:05:33 PM
I doubt that very much. I was under the impression each of our missiles had no more than 4 (rather small) warheads each.

And a lot of things can malfunction before the warheads are released.

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flamingknives       9/29/2006 5:28:11 PM
Trident carries eight, apparently.

Subs have the advantage that they are harder to track down than a stationary silo, and as such are less susceptible to pre-emptive strike.

Whatever the solution, unless it's a credible deterrent, there's not alot of point.
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neofire1000       9/30/2006 10:19:09 AM
The trident missile body can carry up to 10 MIRVed warheads, it's only due to Britain's stance on nuclear power that we maintain an active stockpile of no more than 200 warheads that limit the RV's on the Trident. Britain states that an all out strategic strike on an enemy is no deterrent at all as no country would be prepared to cross that threshold, the only way to be taken seriously is the threat of a "limited" tactical or surgical strike, this is why our SLBM's carry a low compliment of low yield tactical warheads, these would be much more feasible as a direct threat against any future aggressor.
At this moment in time the UK maintains only one SSBN on full patrol and nuclear readiness is measured in weeks unlike the hair-trigger response of the cold war.
The use of ICBM's in such a small country is a waste and is exactly why Britain opted for SSBN's as a delivery platform, I would have liked to see the old free-fall W177 bombs being kept.
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french stratege       9/30/2006 10:46:54 AM
A cost of 25 B£ is only 1,6 B£ a year when you spend it on 15 years.
Compare it to the whole defense budget.
Now you can make a stretched  derivative of Astute to house 12  SLBM to reduce the cost.I would not cost as much as a brand new class of subs.Astude are large enough.
And you could purchase M51 missiles in France also.
Missiles in silo can be easily destroyed by a preemptive strike of a nuclear power or even a conventional one with cruise missiles.
Only mobile missile in sufficient number would have a chance to survive partially but you need forest to hide them and it is not quite popular..
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neofire1000    FS   9/30/2006 11:44:06 AM
Couldn't agree more.
I think Britain will go with a much smaller class of sub with newly developed acurate tactical missiles. There is no point in a country the size of ours spending money on fully strategic nuclear weapons, I do think we need to maintain a nuclear deterrent but the Trident is TOO costly and money would be better spent on things like carriers, destroyers etc. It's a pity we couldn't adopt what France do and develop our own missiles instead of buying them from the US. The astute class subs are big enough if we were willing to go it alone with missile development, I don't think that will ever happen though.
All we need is a small tactical nuclear deterrent to be taken seriously as France, Russia and the US have enough proper ICBM's to wipe us all out if the shit ever hit the fan in a big way. I'm surprised France still maintain a fully strategic nuclear capability since the end of the cold war, as well as the SSBN's you have your ICBM's. Another few carriers like the CDG would put France in a whole different league.
Anyway going a bit off course now, I would just like to see more money spent on the surface ships and attack subs, a small deterrent is all we need and we don't need 4 Vanguard class subs for that (especially since only one is on full patrol at any one time). I think any country in the world with the stupidity to use nukes would see some serious aggression from the US and with the power they have any country would really need to think twice before commiting.
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