Monday, 23 January 2017

Nuclear waffle and piffle

I listened on the radio to Mr Fallon, the erst while UK defence against the dark arts minister, wiffle, waffle and serve cold piffle in his attempts to bury the news of the Trident D5 launch failure. He produced his ultimate deterrent to further questioning by saying, it was not MoD policy to talk about UK Submarine Operations.

So what do we actually 'know'? (if you do not wish to read the argument you can flip to the summary below)

The missile was successfully delivered from HMS Vanguard to the surface then failed when it was doing the bit designed, serviced and run by the USN and Lockheed-Martin at RNAD Coulport; the actual D5 Trident missile went awry. This in turn meant the dummy multiple re-entry vehicle (UK), also known as the UK nuclear deterrent (aka; mostly a load of concrete) headed towards the USA and not some where off the west coast of Africa as originally planned.

The hoo-haa is not about the missile's failure but that this was yet another Trident weapons system failure of major importance and if announced before the Trident renewal vote might have forced the British Establishment to answer just why we are buying a ballistic missile system, designed in the 1970's, for service through to 2020 with new bits tacked and glued on, to extend its life to 2070 and its impending 100th Birthday.

It is clear which ever bit of the MoD which allowed this to be leaked is less than enamoured with being saddled with a 'new' version of Trident. Just imagine if you still had Windows 3.0 and had only down loaded all the patches up until now with out updating the core operating system to say, Windows XP.

OK; you would probably still have a better operating system than the latest Windows confection but you get my point with reference to the 'latest' version of Trident we are buying, for an over inflated price with no further fixes and patches after 2025. From then the US Navy, Army and Air force are going to build a joint services, multi-role nuclear ballistic program for USA use only. After this project begins the USN will stop funding any further development of Lockheed-Martin's Trident missile project and are planning to rundown the Trident missile maintenance side by 2050, as all the USN Trident fitted submarines are scheduled to be out of service by then (and may be even sooner if decommissioning of the USN Trident fleet is accelerated). 

The UK Trident will then be serviced by who and at what price, given the current UK D5 missile servicing contract is heavily subsidised by the USN Trident program?

The next question is why are we buying the 'new' Trident system given the UK can not afford to ensure the current D5 missile is loaded with the maximum number of warheads. The political tale is of a cunning plan to deploy 'fake weapons (lumps of concrete)' from the UK MRV to fool enemy missile defences and give the real weapons a better chance of getting on to their targets. This is about as cunning as Baldrick's bestest plan in the whole wide world. If you want to ensure the maximum number of weapons get through to the target, you put the maximum number of real nuclear weapons into the MRV and onto the target you can, this is a far better and safer bet.

Then there is the small issue that most ground based anti-ballistic missile systems are designed to take out an incoming weapon at the top of its ballistic arc or just before. By doing this you are more likely to either disable (prevent arming), destabilise ( push off course) or disrupt (blow up) the missile before weapon release than trying to hit a multiple number of smaller contacts released from the MRV which may or may not be nuclear warheads, in the UK instance, and are more likely to be lumps of concrete.

A summary, so far:
  • New Trident is not new, it is a missile system originally designed in the 1970's to see service through to 2020
  • The missile operating system has more tack ons, bodges and patches than current Windows operating programs
  • The UK can not afford to use the weapon system as designed
  • The USN Trident Missile development program shuts down in 2025
  • USN Trident Missile Maintenance program is scheduled to close down in 2050
  • Our excuse for a UK MRV nuclear warhead is laughable and 'government claims' do not stand up to any serious tactical scrutiny
  • There is a serious fault in the current D5 missile as demonstrated by the missile failure after successful egress (launch) from HMS Vanguard
  • It would seem the service side of the MoD do not want 'new' Trident
This is on top of a series of tell-tales from 'sailors in the submarine service' which have appeared in the press over the last 18 months with regards to the leakage of highly corrosive fluids from the D5 which damaged the launch tubes and missile bay, putting sailors at risk from toxic fumes and chemical burns, the poor morale among the ballistic missile boat's crews, failures of nuclear safety both at sea and in harbour, breakdowns, collisions with other NATO submarines on exercises, crew shortages or the illegal dumping of nuclear contaminated material in the sea.

To this ex-RN Officer this sort of behaviour reflects poor, muddled, disjointed and ineffective leadership from the top (that is you Mr Fallon and your Conservative Party UK Defence Policy) which has lead to demoralisation of RN personnel at all levels in the nuclear weapon submarine fleet, as is clearly demonstrated by all the detailed internal leaks of the particular problems this part of the RN is having. Someone high up in the RN MoD is turning a Nelsonian blind eye to so many anonymous submarine sailor's publicly having a moan in the press and on radio, in breach of all security protocols, and thumbing their nose at Mr Fallon's claims that operations of the Submarine or 'Silent Service' are not to be talked about. 

There are just too many loud noises off, Mr Fallon, to sell that line of obfuscation, pull the other one, it has bells on. There is clearly something going very bad at the heart of the proud RN psyche and especially its once 'Silent Service'.

All this before you even begin to contemplate the horrendous impact of nuclear weapon detonations on the world and all its life forms.

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