By Nick Ritchie
President Obama and the united kingdom Labour and Coalition governments have all sponsored the renewed momentum for severe growth in the direction of a global freed from nuclear guns, while the united kingdom unearths itself launched into a arguable and dear programme to resume its Trident nuclear guns process. What does the united kingdom technique inform in regards to the customers for disarmament?
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Extra resources for A Nuclear Weapons-Free World?: Britain, Trident and the Challenges Ahead
3 Trident Renewal The Labour Party has a traumatic history when it comes to nuclear weapons, a theme explored further in Chapter 5. When it was returned to power in 1997 the Blair leadership saw little domestic political payoff in radical changes to UK nuclear policy with the vast majority of Trident’s procurement costs already sunk, let alone in renouncing possession of nuclear weapons altogether. 1 Debate would, however, be had on whether the UK should remain a nuclear weapon state once the current system reached the end of its planned service life and it was sparked by the 2003 Defence White Paper Delivering Security in a Changing World.
The future of the British nuclear weapons programme is intimately linked to the United States, a relationship explored further in Chapter 6. The US currently deploys 14 Ohio-class SSBNs equipped with Trident II (D5) missiles with the first due to retire in 2027. The remaining 13 will reach the end of their service lives at a rate of roughly one boat per year thereafter, with the last retiring in 2042. The US Navy began preliminary studies for its nextgeneration SSBN, labelled SSBN(X), in July 2007 and established a new programme office in August 2008.
Trident timelines The White Paper argued that the most appropriate policy was to pursue a like-for-like replacement of the current Trident system through the procurement of a new fleet of ballistic missile submarines, a new or refurbished arsenal of nuclear warheads for the Trident missiles, and continued buy-in to the US Trident II (D5) ballistic missile programme. Decisions on all three components would be required in time, but the most pressing related to the aging Vanguard-class submarines.
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