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European Tribune - Why Great Britain needs Trident
The question is not if Great Britain needs a replacement for Trident, but if the nation can resign itself not to be Great Britain anymore, instead declining to just plain Britain.
You're assuming Britain has an "independent nuclear deterrent" even if it is purchased from the US. Allegedly the UK cannot use its nukes without US authorisation so the question is not whether the UK wants to be a Great Power but whether they want to be a launchpad for another Great Power (namely, the US).

While writing this comment I made a funny typo: Great Poser.

Anyway, I found this at prospect magazine

There is a lot of confusion about the question of independence. British Trident subs are operationally independent--we do not have to ask American permission to use the missiles it has sold us. What is not independent is the satellite guidance system, which was designed to take out Soviet missile silos. If the US switched it off, this pinpoint accuracy would be lost. But Trident's basic guidance system--which is not dependent on the US--is already accurate to within a few hundred yards. Britain has no need to hit silos; we just need to convince enemies that we can destroy them if they attack us.
This from New Statesman
So, what about independence of operation? Could Britain fire Trident if the US objected? In 1962 the then US defence secretary, Robert McNamara, said that the British nuclear bomber force did not operate independently. Writing in 1980, Air Vice-Marshal Stewart Menaul said it definitely could not be used without US authorisation. Today former naval officers say it would be extremely difficult. The many computer software programs, the fuse, the trigger, the guidance system as well as the missiles are all made in America.


The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 05:43:29 AM EST

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