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"British Trident Program" Topic

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ChrisBBB Inactive Member24 Jan 2017 6:56 a.m. PST

Professor Murray is using wargaming as a serious tool for professional military education at the US Naval War College. I had the privilege of assisting in a class using the battle of Froeschwiller (1870) from the Franco-Prussian War to teach about mission command, tactical decision-making etc. Full report here:


Bloody Big BATTLES!

Wolfhag24 Jan 2017 6:56 a.m. PST

The British parliament greenlit the renewal of Trident, the country's nuclear submarine-launched ballistic missile, without learning that it had failed a June 2016 demonstration and shakedown test off the coast of Florida, CNN reports. The missile and its funding have proven politically controversial in the U.K. and British Prime Minister Theresa May has faced intense criticism for the failure to disclose the failure before a vote on the program, which would cost roughly $50 USD billion to buy four new submarines capable of firing the weapon. Nonetheless, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon is sticking by the system, expressing full confidence in it.



Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2017 7:08 a.m. PST

Suspect it is that error once more. The famous bug.

One of those would have given quite an edge for Wellington on 18th June. Actually it would have cleared the field of all three armies in the end…….

GarrisonMiniatures Inactive Member24 Jan 2017 8:24 a.m. PST

Was Wellington involved in 1870? Trident would have been then.

parrskool24 Jan 2017 8:56 a.m. PST

Hmmmm.. is the Trident REALLY British ????

Martin Rapier24 Jan 2017 9:52 a.m. PST

It would have been handy in the Crimea, although not if it missed.

Many apologies your Majesty, we appear to have just destroyed the Ottoman Empire.

ChrisBBB Inactive Member24 Jan 2017 9:55 a.m. PST

Was the Trident failure caused by the TMP bug? Sounds plausible.

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2017 2:52 p.m. PST

I thought it was common knowledge that neither Polaris, nor Trident Mk1 have ever worked properly – or at least not until long after their introduction. Trident Mk2 is merely continuing a long tradition of faulty US kit.

(Proceeds to "duck and cover"……)

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2017 7:01 p.m. PST

@ Wolfhag
Parliamentary vote was mostly to order the new submarines for the system

Wolfhag24 Jan 2017 10:23 p.m. PST

Supercilius Maximus,
I'm afraid you are all too right. One thing that all modern and complicated weapons systems seem to have is a long breaking in period. It seems like they use the same business practice as software companies. When it is 90-95% finished get it out the door and start selling it letting the customer do the final testing.

Personally I don't see much getting around it and all countries are going to experience it as long as they continue to implement new technology with millions of lines of computer code. I think the West's advantage is no matter how bad our stuff is it still outperforms the competition, which can be pretty sad.

My son was on a Mid-East cruise on a carrier with 12 Marine Harriers. They came home with only 3 operational. However, I'm not sure of the sortie rate or pace of operations.


Rabbit 3 Inactive Member25 Jan 2017 8:26 a.m. PST

I suppose that with the whole idea of deterrence as a strategy it dosn`t matter so much if the technology works. Just that the potential "other side" thinks it will.
That business about the Trident failure got me wondering about the age of the nuclear arsenals generally across the globe.
Could it be that if we are stupid enough to push the button then the Human Race will be saved by most of the tech not working!

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2017 1:45 p.m. PST

Could it be that if we are stupid enough to push the button then the Human Race will be saved by most of the tech not working!

Given how the Trident test went, more likely we'll all blow ourselves up instead.

Lion in the Stars25 Jan 2017 3:18 p.m. PST

Y'all do know that Trident IIs have been operational since roughly 1996, right?

Those missiles are getting old, and old solid rockets have a nasty habit of going BOOM. One hell of a boom, in the case of Tridents, minimum safe distance on land is a mile, and the resulting explosion of a first stage rocket alone blows a 50ft deep crater about 300 feet in diameter into desert hardpan.

Which is why the US is spending a significant chunk of change refurbishing the existing Tridents, mostly by replacing the old rocket motors.

Considering how many times they've been successfully test-fired, Tridents are more reliable than SpaceX or even Saturn 5s.

Skinflint Games25 Jan 2017 3:32 p.m. PST

According to a former RN admiral, this cycle of test is to discover where the limitations are in order to better help develop the next generation. Which makes sense to me.

However, I prefer to think of it as Theresa May purposely leaking the story ahead of meeting Trump..

"You think you're crazy? I'll show you Bleeped texting crazy, you overgrown Oompa Loompa! I'll SIT on the button!"

Bangorstu Inactive Member26 Jan 2017 12:23 a.m. PST

To be fair to trident I think there have been over 150 test fired and this is the first dud.

As for how British it is, there's nothing to stop us removing Washington D.C. from the map should we wish, aside from the threat of retaliation.

Tbats good enough for me.

parrskool26 Jan 2017 3:32 a.m. PST

Hmmm….. I was under the impression that release of trident was subject to US approval and wasn't , as such, independent. I may be wrong in this.

Lion in the Stars26 Jan 2017 9:36 a.m. PST

It's my understanding that the British Tridents are completely under British control. The warheads aren't built in the US, to start with. Yes, most of the control and launch systems are the same as on an Ohio (just about half the number of tubes), but they're sold outright to the UK, IIRC.

It's the free-fall aircraft bombs that are under nominal US control.

Old Pete26 Jan 2017 2:12 p.m. PST

Living in the west of Scotland I wish the UK would base them somewhere else, maybe in the south east of England as far away from Scotland as possible.
Saor Alba!

67thtigers27 Jan 2017 9:08 a.m. PST

There is no such thing as a "British Trident". We currently rent 65 Trident missiles from the US. The missiles come from the US pool and are maintained in the US. The UK SSBN's regularly run over to King's Bay GA to exchange missiles.

The warheads *were* independent until Mk4A upgrade. AWE built their own plutonium pits and the British built Mk4 had several differences, none of which were improvements – British warheads were less reliable than US ones. Now the rumour is that the Mk4A are also drawn from a common pool. That is the UK SSBN's carry US built missiles and warheads.

This is because the British manufactured plutonium pits used a lower grade of plutonium, with a shorter shelf life. It is currently likely the British warheads will not function properly. They were rated for ten years, and the first were built in 1989. The ever decreasing UK operational warhead supply is driven by the physical decay of the old warheads. What has probably happened is the best 120 of our warheads were shipped to the US and rebuilt at Pantax into the standard US Mk4A. These entered the common pool and now UK and US share warheads.

AWE is in the process of building a new facility to manufacture new plutonium pits, and the "warhead sharing" is likely an interim measure. Otherwise we could just buy the warheads and save upto 16 billion.

Oh, and this is the 10th malfunction of Trident in ISTR 165 test shots. It is merely the first malfunction from a UK launched test shot (out of 5). That's very reliable for what is effectively a spaceship launched from underwater.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP27 Jan 2017 12:04 p.m. PST

So only maybe only 50% of all UK missiles launched at Moscow or Leningrad (sorry….despite three visits still call it that) would get into a launch mode…

That makes most Russkis feel much safer I would think. I imagine the reverse applies too. Only a fraction of their missiles would land here and release megatons of explosion and nasty stuff that glows in the dark and kills all life for generations.

I have an Irish passport. I would be OK as a neutral. The shockwave would have to bypass me. I will drink lots of Iodine and wear lead underpants.

As I see the horizon turn brighter than a thousand suns I will think (for a very short time)…"well it could have been worse, if more rockets had got through".

Funny thing. In the mid 90s we really thought it was all over. We had made it. The human race knew what MAD really meant. We would not destroy each other. What a Long Strange Trip it's Been… quote

Royal Marine27 Jan 2017 2:54 p.m. PST

Why didn't we use these at Yorktown?

Lion in the Stars28 Jan 2017 5:38 p.m. PST

AWE is in the process of building a new facility to manufacture new plutonium pits, and the "warhead sharing" is likely an interim measure. Otherwise we could just buy the warheads and save upto 16 billion.

Considering that there's probably $25 USDmillion or more in plutonium per warhead, I'm not sure you'd save any money by buying them outright.

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP30 Jan 2017 5:20 p.m. PST

Why didn't we use these at Yorktown?

We did. Unfortunately, it hit Swindon.

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