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Britain's Nuclear Deterrent - Still needed?

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by Luseac, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. Mickey_D

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    The primary cost in replacing the undersea nuclear deterrent is the replacement of the actual submarines themselves.

    Submarines, like aircraft, can only be pressurised and depressurised so many times before thier hulls become too weak due to metal fatigue. Also the equipment inside gets old from use / obsolescence / wear and tear.

    Also a submarine's greatest weapon is its stealth, not being detectable while submerged. Improvements in sonar technology mean that older submarines are losing that edge. There's not much point in having them out there at all if your enemy can pinpoint them and destroy them before they can launch. That's a Boomer's whole point is the retaliatory strike capability. Kinda hard to retaliate if you're dead.

    Also something to consider. The reactors that they run on are only good for so long before the metal in the hull surrounding them becomes brittle. And believe it or not, it's MUCH cheaper to build a whole new submarine than it is to try and swap a new section of hull with a new reactor into an existing sub. Recycling of nuclear submarines is a VERY expensive hobby!! :p

    It is also the fact that not only the US has these scary behemoths out there that keeps countries like North Korea from completely flexing thier muscles and building stuff to lob at Taiwan and Tokyo. These governments realise that even if they completely decimate the entire United States that the UK, Australia, Canada, etc have the capabiity to turn them into a glowing glass parking lot. Plus you get countries like Japan, India, Norway, Mexico (to name a few) that have non-nuclear ICBM's laying around in the oceans that will (under certain circumstances) back up any of the other above mentioned nations, and you begin to see that it's a great big brotherhood of "us" vs "them" that keeps everyone in check.

    A nuclear submarine and its armament loadout can be desiged, assembled, tested, and loaded completely in secrecy. Yes, even in this world of google earth and such. Just ask anyone about the Seawolf program. There's STILL no info available about it, even though it's already sailed (I lived in Bremerton, Washington and drove taxi to Bangor Submarine Base in Bangor, Washington many times) since BEFORE 1998. So if the Yanks can do it in a fairly public area of the world, I think the North Koreans could do it relatively easy considering how much they supress thier people. And the only weapon you can use against an SSBN carrying nuke ICBM's? That's right - the threat of retaliation from an opposing SSBN carrying nuke ICBM's.......

    So long as there are countries out there like North Korea that are willing to thumb thier noses at world organisations like NATO and the UN, worldwide useage of SSBN's and thier deadly cargo is a necessity. Whatever the cost to the economy. It's a LOT more expensive to try and restore London to a habitable state after a nuclear strike against it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2006
  2. Von Smallhausen

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    ^^

    Superb post Mickey. I could not have said that equally or better.

    A nuclear deterrent is absolutely essential to the UK defence programme and it must be modernised for safety reasons if nothing else as Mickey says.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2006
  3. Defcon5

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    Would you rather shoot someone with a C15 musket or Barrett .50?

    A theat must be an effective one. I would imagine a deteriorating warhead would be quite unsafe too.
     
  4. Killerkebab

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    How does an ally like France affect the UK's nuclear deterrent? It isn't like you're trying to keep the French in check, even if they do have twice the nuclear stockpile the UK has.
     
  5. Defcon5

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    It isnt really the amount, a handful is enough to bring any country to its knees

    The threat lies with the capability, in 1986 the USSR had over 40,000 warheads, and the USA 23,000 but this didnt mean the reds were twice as threatening
     
  6. RaohNS

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    My 2 Pence...

    I firmly believe Britain requires a Nuclear deterrant. Everyone has enemies... we have more than our fair share, as such doomsday weapons provide to some extents a very good deterrant. Basically i'm saying a country that knows if it attacks with a bomb that can kill 300 civilians, would not attack a country that has a weapon that with the press of a button can kill millions in a single strike. But as we all know many governments around the world dont care about the civilian population.

    Russia: 20,000+
    America: 10,000+
    China: Est. 1,000+
    France: 500+
    UK: 200+
    Israel: 150+ (Est.)
    Pakistan: ~40 (Est.)
    India: 50+ (Est.)
    North Korea: At least 1

    This is the worlds Nuclear stage. As such you have the worlds "goodies" and "baddies"

    US vs NK, China, Russia (with 50% of nukes pointing at them)
    UK vs NK
    India vs Pakistan vs China
    Israel vs Islamic World (Conventional/Chemical/Biological arsenal)
    France vs NK (should be no-0ne as France would surrender to a mouse with a Spud Gun)

    Even though these weapons as someone stated cost us itro 1billion a year to keep safe, they keep us our freedom, and during the cold war, the nuclear weapons we did have strapped to Vulcans were ready to fly to Russia in massive waves dropping 5 or 6 bombs on each of Russia's 3 largest cities (bear in mind that at the time the USSR had spent an estimated $70billion on securing its borders for anti-aircraft... hence them being very miffed when America put their first spy satellite just in that year, making spying on the USSR much safer politically and in terms of casualty possibilities in the spy plane flights.

    If used as a weapon for good they can be very safe indeed and if not abused could one day provide us with the ultimate deterrant to an out of world threat i.e. Meteors/Comets, who knows maybe even an alien threat somewhere down our timeline...

    >| Raoh |<
     
  7. robmiller

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    That's definitely food for thought :)

    I must admit I hadn't really thought about it in the context of North Korea; out of interest, what's their nuclear programme like?
     
  8. Visage

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    They rely on tritium, why decays over time, so it needs regularly replensihing...
     
  9. RaohNS

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    very true Visage, its another reason why nuclear weapons cost a lot of money to dispose of correct? (obv. aside from getting rid of material that has a half life of a million odd years)

    >| Raoh |<
     
  10. Visage

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    Well there are a lot of very nasty ingredients that go to make nukes, and that is what makes them so expensive - things like tritium production, uranium enrichment etc.....

    As for the question at hand, I can see the rational arguments that say we should keep nukes. Doesnt mean i have to like them though, or feel comforatble in a world with them. It also means that i see no great contradiction in accepting the need for a deterrent while actively campaigning for its abolition.....
     
  11. neil3k

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    I can think of an easy way to dispose of our nukes....

    and it's called France.
     
  12. @if ®afiq

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    I notice no smiley's so I assume you were serious when saying this? Why should a country without nukes, be forced not have have nukes on the say-so of a country that has them? Especially under the current climate.
     
  13. Visage

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    You appear to have added some kind of conditional clause to my statement.

    I would like to see a time when there are no nukes held by anybody, but i can accept the necessity of them at this current time.

    Where i think you are perhaps confusing me is by assuming that im saying we should maintain our capability while denying it to others. In a sense you are right, but by reducing our capabilities year on year we can square that particular philosophical circle.....
     
  14. RaohNS

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    yes but Visage remember that currently emerging states are having their military grow in size while modern armies continue to get smaller. Therefore i see in the future Nuclear deterrants by countries such as China, US and Russia still having a very large powerful nuclear deterrant, while countries such as ourselves instead having a smaller nuclear arsenal with less yield, possibly only as strong as an atomic bomb.

    Emerging world arsenals will posses a greater conventional capability but we will maintain a very present deterrant. In wars between todays countries it isnt necessarily about the size of the armies.

    >| Raoh |<
     
  15. Visage

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    But by that notion we should scrap the NPT and allow any country with enough $$$ to have nuclear weapons?

    Why not make a concerted effort to reduce the stockpiles held by the nuclear powers to a level of pretty much zero (I'm thinking less than, say, 10 weapons each). More than enough to target any 'rogue' nation, yet small enough that we can spend the moeny elsewhere.

    Is that so implausible?

    And besides - they're illegal anyway.
     
  16. Jake 2.0

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    one thing about that MAD thing (Dolph) posted is that say UK has an agreement with france about protecting them in case of war. Now Germany attacks UK, and france helps by attacking Germany, but Germany also has agreement with countries to protect itself and those country(ies) attack france and this will all escalate into a world war? (if you get my thinking)...

    Also ok so we need to have nukes but why so many? why do US and Russia need 1000+ nukes... surely if they used like 50 (or so) they could destroy ALL of the earth..

    I think that nukes are a bad idea... there are other ways of defending ourselves like RAF..
     
  17. hogfather

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    I posted in this thread earlier, but its not here anymore! :confused:
     
  18. Dolph

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    You did, the forums had an issue that mean some posts have been lost. There's a thread in GD about it
     
  19. Superficial

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    At the moment it is, in my view, not entirely accurate to call our nuclear deterent independant as we rely on the US for many of the parts and cant control our missiles accuracy without relying on US GPS satellites. They could easily stop our missiles performing correctly which made me quite angry when I read about it in The Independant.

    Thankfully we recently launched Galileo - the European version on Dec 28th which will operational by 2010 and is much superior with accuracy down to 1 metre at the highest level.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4555276.stm

    - Supe
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2006
  20. Defcon5

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    But the RAF cannot defend against another nation equipped with nuclear weapons.

    Also as a show of force, a carrier full of harriers doesnt compare to an ICBM with several megatons of explosive power.

    Also, what if a wide scale bio/chem attack were used against mod installations, the planes would be useless as there would be noone to fly them.