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  • UK announces nuclear arsenal total

    Britain has a total nuclear arsenal of fewer than 225 weapons, with 160 currently operational, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Wednesday.

    "We believe that the time is now right to be more open about the weapons we hold," Hague said in a statement to Parliament.
    From CNN

    What do you think of this move by the new administration? Does it matter they are showing their cards or is this a bad move? Is it believable they have just 160 operational nukes?

  • #2
    Originally posted by A7V View Post
    From CNN

    What do you think of this move by the new administration? Does it matter they are showing their cards or is this a bad move? Is it believable they have just 160 operational nukes?
    I think its very believable. There was a recent New York Times op-ed called An Arsenal We Can All Live With stating that the US could get by with 311 nuclear warheads. If the US could get by with 311 (and I'm not saying they could - check the blogs for the debate on the subject), perhaps the UK is comfortable with 160?

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    • #3
      It's on par with the French arsenal of around 300 startegic warheads.

      kelt

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      • #4
        So that means that Russia has about 30 times more operational warheads.....Lucky bastards.
        Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
        But who's to judge the right from wrong.
        When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
        That violence breeds violence.
        But in the end it has to be this way.

        Comment


        • #5
          Meh, 160 warheads will screw up anyone we dump the lot on. As long as we still have some, and they are deployable from anywhere in the globe to anywhere else (the so called "Moscow Option") I'm not complaining.
          Winnie says
          ---------------------------------
          "He fell out of a Gestapo car, over a bridge, and onto a railway line. Then was run over by the Berlin Express.

          It was an Accident."
          Herr Flick.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Listy View Post
            Meh, 160 warheads will screw up anyone we dump the lot on. As long as we still have some, and they are deployable from anywhere in the globe to anywhere else (the so called "Moscow Option") I'm not complaining.
            The Russkies still have enough to kill you, me, and everyone else on the planet many times over. Even if you get every last Russkie, there's still China.
            Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
            But who's to judge the right from wrong.
            When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
            That violence breeds violence.
            But in the end it has to be this way.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by The Ibis View Post
              I think its very believable. There was a recent New York Times op-ed called An Arsenal We Can All Live With stating that the US could get by with 311 nuclear warheads. If the US could get by with 311 (and I'm not saying they could - check the blogs for the debate on the subject), perhaps the UK is comfortable with 160?
              Hmmm...this is an interesting spin!

              Originally posted by Listy View Post
              Meh, 160 warheads will screw up anyone we dump the lot on. As long as we still have some, and they are deployable from anywhere in the globe to anywhere else (the so called "Moscow Option") I'm not complaining.
              Like The Ibis said, maybe you mates are comfortable with 160, and like you stated-it would screw whoever is on the receiving end, although I still think it's a risky move, or at the least-something that the public just shouldn't know anything about ever. It's the same as our war on terror-the damn media has to announce to the enemy exactly where we're going to attack so the Taliban can just go ass over teakettle to get out of there...
              "A foolish man thinks he knows everything if placed in unexpected difficulty; but he knows not what to answer, if to the test he is put."

              --Hávamál

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Listy View Post
                Meh, 160 warheads will screw up anyone we dump the lot on. As long as we still have some, and they are deployable from anywhere in the globe to anywhere else (the so called "Moscow Option") I'm not complaining.
                I hear that you boys might retire your SSBN fleet, being as they're getting a little long in the tooth these days. If that's the case, then what's the point of maintaining a nuclear arsenal if you haven't the means to deliver the goods?

                Kinda makes those new CV's you boys are building seem rather silly, no?

                What little comfort that's available to me comes from the knowledge that the US is not the world's dumbest defense-product procurer: the UK heads the list.
                I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Super Six 4 View Post
                  Like The Ibis said, maybe you mates are comfortable with 160, and like you stated-it would screw whoever is on the receiving end, although I still think it's a risky move, or at the least-something that the public just shouldn't know anything about ever.
                  Well, before this information was announced, if you'd asked me to guess how many warheads the UK had, my logic would have been

                  - 4 Trident submarines with, what, 12-16 missiles each = 48-64 missiles loaded

                  Each missile has multiple warheads, perhaps with a number of decoys. There's no guarantee every missile is fully loaded - I'd guess 4 or 6 warheads per missile. So a range of 192 to 384 warheads to keep the submarines loaded.

                  However there might also be 'spare' missiles or warheads to provide a margin against technical failure, service rotations - but not a great deal. So maybe 25% spare capacity, pushing the upper bound to 500-odd.

                  Alternatively some of the warheads might have been decomissioned already, in secret, to cut costs or for some other reason. So there's a chance the lower bound might be reduced by 50%.

                  So basically, I would have guessed based on publically available information that there were somewhere between 100 and 500 British nuclear warheads.

                  I'm not sure what difference the sure knowledge that there are 255 makes to anyone's strategic decisions. So why hide the truth?
                  My board games blog: The Brass Castle

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by slick_miester View Post
                    I hear that you boys might retire your SSBN fleet, being as they're getting a little long in the tooth these days. If that's the case, then what's the point of maintaining a nuclear arsenal if you haven't the means to deliver the goods?

                    Kinda makes those new CV's you boys are building seem rather silly, no?

                    What little comfort that's available to me comes from the knowledge that the US is not the world's dumbest defense-product procurer: the UK heads the list.
                    The Lib dems wanted to retire it, however the Tories are in favour of keeping it. If the Lib dems try to push a retirement through they'll instantly get asked if their approved version has the Moscow option. If it doesn't it fails.
                    Our fleet is coming up for replacement, in about 20 years. So its about time to start looking at what's going to take over.
                    Winnie says
                    ---------------------------------
                    "He fell out of a Gestapo car, over a bridge, and onto a railway line. Then was run over by the Berlin Express.

                    It was an Accident."
                    Herr Flick.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Listy View Post
                      The Lib dems wanted to retire it
                      Ahh....always the happy bunch of politicians.
                      "A foolish man thinks he knows everything if placed in unexpected difficulty; but he knows not what to answer, if to the test he is put."

                      --Hávamál

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Super Six 4 View Post
                        Ahh....always the happy bunch of politicians.
                        In Britain, the Liberals want to keep out immigrants, the Conservatives are pseudo-socialists, essentially everything in britain is centrist.
                        Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
                        But who's to judge the right from wrong.
                        When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
                        That violence breeds violence.
                        But in the end it has to be this way.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Czin View Post
                          So that means that Russia has about 30 times more operational warheads.....Lucky bastards.
                          Its probablly for debate in a different thread. But, judging from out take back before my retirement its posssible, even likely half the Russian arsenal of nukes is entirely unuseable, and a large portion of the remainder would require serious work before approaching relaibility. I dunno, maybe the Russians have rebuilt all those old warheads and really do possses a combat ready nuke arsenal of 3000+ warheads or 1000+ or whatever.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                            Its probablly for debate in a different thread. But, judging from out take back before my retirement its posssible, even likely half the Russian arsenal of nukes is entirely unuseable, and a large portion of the remainder would require serious work before approaching relaibility. I dunno, maybe the Russians have rebuilt all those old warheads and really do possses a combat ready nuke arsenal of 3000+ warheads or 1000+ or whatever.
                            They have 7000 active nuclear missiles, and about that many in reserve.
                            Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
                            But who's to judge the right from wrong.
                            When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
                            That violence breeds violence.
                            But in the end it has to be this way.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Makes no odds how many missiles we have. How many would it take to make a point against a "rogue" state? 1, 2 , 5?

                              If we were launching our full arsenal it would not be one way traffic and ours wouldn't be the only ones headed in that direction.

                              Disclosing an accurate number changes none of the above nor does it change the strategic picture.

                              The whole point in releasing this info is to try and bolster the non proliferation treaty and undermine arguments that current non-nuclear states use to avoid signing up. The question is will it make any difference in that respect? If we've nothing to lose from being open its worth a shot.

                              Comment

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