UK officials have postponed the design contract for the new Trident nuclear missile amidst growing tension that recent army deaths in Afghanistan have been directly related to a lack of equipment and vehicles.

The contract, scheduled to be signed in September 2009, has been postponed to 2010 after an international conference reviewing the non-proliferation treaty in the US next year.

Officials, however, insisted that the existing submarines would still be replaced with nuclear submarines as outlined in 2006.

The decision to delay the initial gate design contract has been dubbed as a phased approach for the project that will enable progress on non-proliferation and multilateral disarmament, officials disclosed.