British Royal Navy Commander Justin Cod accompanies Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace on their visit to the HMS Victorious submarine at Clyde Naval Base (Jeff J Mitchell / REUTERS)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week launched a plan to make the islands a “Global Britain”. A 10-year plan by your government to boost international trade and spread “soft power” around the world. But as it was revealed the day before WatchmanThe ad had a not very soft second part. He said it would also increase the arsenal of nuclear warheads, “not only to deter conventional threats, but also to deal with.” Biological, chemical and possibly even cyber attacksIn this way It ends 30 years of gradual disarmament Since the fall of the Soviet Union. A barrage of criticism fell at 10 Downing Street, the seat of government. They came from other nuclear powers, from Iran, from minority parties led by the Green Party, and the anti-nuclear movement that was so powerful in the 1990s that it forced the Executive Authority at the time to close many military bases.
Everything is sealed in a 110-page document with the title Britain is global in a competitive era Where it has been confirmed that the United Kingdom will increase the number of nuclear warheads on board the Trident submarines of the Royal Navy, From 180 to 260, an increase of more than 40%. It was also determined that the Navy would keep a fleet of four nuclear-armed submarines on constant alert, with one always at sea, ready to respond to any aggression. It is estimated that London will need to build this arsenal Around 10 billion pounds sterling, Approximately $ 13.9 billion.
British Chancellor Dominic Raab made it clear that the country was not looking for a new arms race, but that it “simply wanted to preserve Minimum Trusted DeterrenceWhy? ” Because it is the last guarantee, The latest insurance policy against the worst threat from hostile nationsRap replied.
British nuclear missile submarine Grenville off the coast of the Falkland Islands. Embed a Tweet
Green Party Representative Caroline Lucas described the measure as “Provocative, illegal and morally obscene use of resources.” The Scottish National Party tweeted: “A disgraceful amount of money that could be used instead to address child poverty.” Labor leader Keir Starmer said his party remained committed to the Trident submarine program and maintaining a reliable deterrent force, but asserted in the House of Commons that Johnson’s plan to increase the arsenal “violates the goal of successive prime ministers and the efforts of all parties to reduce our nuclear arsenal. It does not explain when, why or for what strategic purposeKate Hudson, Secretary General of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, wrote in a statement: “This is not the time to start a new arms race. As the world fights pandemic and climate chaos, it is astonishing that our government has chosen to increase the nuclear arsenal“.
For decades, Britain boasted of having “the minimum nuclear arsenal to use as a deterrent.” Of the five nuclear powers recognized in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (the United States, Russia, China, France and Great Britain), the British arsenal is the smallest and the only one to have one delivery method: submarines. Successive British governments He more than halved the number of nuclear forces between the 1980s and the 2000s.
At the height of the Cold War, Britain had more than 500 warheadsThat can be launched by bombers and submarines. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Britain eliminated nuclear bombers and significantly reduced its arsenal. A 1998 defense review indicated that Britain would bring the number of available operational warheads to less than 200. Another review in 2006 reduced this number to less than 160. In 2010, the government announced that the global arsenal – which includes available warheads and spare warheads 225 to less than 180 By mid-2020, the Conservative-led government repeated a decision in 2015. The Royal Navy believed that was sufficient to inflict massive damage on Russia, its main opponent.
Boris Johnson will find it difficult to secure a £ 10 billion increase in defense in Parliament. Jessica Taylor / Handout via Reuters
This week’s announcement indicates that it is no longer considered an adequate arsenal in the face of new threats. “Some countries are now drastically increasing and diversifying their nuclear arsenals,” Johnson’s document says, referring to Russia, China and “possibly” North Korea. “They are investing in new nuclear technologies and developing new nuclear combat systems,” that is, Weapons designed to achieve a military advantage on the battlefield, not as a deterrent. In response, Britain “will raise the limit of its global arsenal to 260 warheads.” It will also stop publishing figures on the number of missiles and warheads that each submarine carries, with the aim of “complicating the calculations of potential aggressors.”
According to the magazine’s weapons experts Guinness “theoretically, Not more Chinese warheads or better Russian warheads should change Britain’s nuclear needs one way or the otherBritain maintains a submarine operating at all times, in a practice known as Continuous Deterrence at Sea, or CASD. The advantage of having your nuclear weapons hidden in the ocean, not on land, is that. It runs little risk of being eliminated by enemy weapons, No matter how numerous or complex. In this way, British submarine missiles could easily hit cities like Moscow or Beijing.
So what does Britain really need more nuclear warheads? One possibility is that Britain is concerned about future improvements to Russian or Chinese missile defenses., Which might require a larger attack size to deal the same level of damage. Another reason is that You will need more than one submarine at sea loaded with nuclear missiles to hedge the risk of advances in anti-submarine warfare technology..
Heather Williams, Dell King’s College London, he explained in an article in the magazine The Economist That “Russia is developing weapons with dual capacity – missiles that can carry conventional or nuclear warheads – and is lowering their nuclear threshold, which means that in the event of a conflict, Nuclear weapons can be used by any enemy. If Russia used low-yield weapons in this way, it would be disproportionate to respond by destroying Moscow. But if Britain were to reciprocate – its W76 warhead performance might be reduced somewhat – I will need to make sure I have enough warheads left For a later and larger nuclear exchange. “
Fears of Chinese military expansion in London. Satellite image of the building on a fiery coral reef in the South China Sea. Maxar Technologies via Reuters.
There’s also a very ‘burista’ ingredient, which is Show yourself stronger than you really are. And the document the Johnson Declaration was based on contains a lot of that. It also says that the armed forces “will deter and challenge incursions into British territorial waters off Gibraltar.” They will maintain a permanent presence in the Falkland Islands, Ascension Island and the British Indian Ocean Territory. ”A government source said The Telegraph: “The UK is far from abandoning its transatlantic commitments. They are being greatly promoted and respected.” A meaningless provocation that had an immediate response from Argentina. For Defense Minister Augustin Rossi, the certification represents the maintenance of his “permanent military presence” in the Malvinas Islands. ‘Reconfirm colonial claim’ Owned by London on the islands. Meanwhile, the Minister for Malvinas, Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands, Daniel Vilmos, considered that “the appearance that Johnson raised was clearly colonial” and assessed that “Increasing arms is dangerous” Declared by the European state.
The departure of Boris Johnson from the European Union prompted in various ways to certify that Great Britain not only continues to be a power, but also Willing to “compete” on an equal footing with other great world powers. But defense analysts believe that at the moment, this is all rhetorical. Sure, there will be aftershocks under the table from Washington, Moscow and Beijing. Also from Brussels. And, of course, from British taxpayers who are unwilling to accept such expenditures without a long struggle.
The United Kingdom will increase its nuclear arsenal by 40% and cite Russia and China as the main threats
How are the countries that possess nuclear weapons ranked after the UK announced increasing its arsenal by 40%?