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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Submarine-based Trident remains the optimum capability for the UK

UGM-133 Trident IISir, Gideon Rachman (“Buying Trident would weaken British defence”, April 14) acknowledges the need for UK minimum deterrent capability and cites cruise missiles or freefall bombs as possible candidates rather than Trident.

His referred Centre Forum report proposing a free-fall bomb option is horribly flawed, in particular in the area of inaccurate cost estimates for F35 aircraft conversion, UK aircraft carrier redesign and the challenges implicit in procuring a new warhead; never mind the political implications of purchasing a B61 bomb from the US.

As for nuclear cruise missiles, Mr Rachman seems to think that the US exercises this option. In fact the US nuclear tipped cruise missile capability — designed way back in 1970s — is obsolete. It was removed from US submarines in 1994 and formally “retired” in 2010.

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