UK MoD confirms nuclear warhead replacement programme

26 February 2020 (Last Updated February 26th, 2020 11:45)

The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed its commitment to a replacement of Trident missile with nuclear warheads based on US technology.

UK MoD confirms nuclear warhead replacement programme
A Trident II launch from a submerged Royal Navy submarine. Credit: US Department of Defense.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed its commitment to a replacement of Trident missile with nuclear warheads based on US technology.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that the nuclear replacement warhead programme aims to make sure that the UK Government maintains an effective deterrent throughout the commission of the Dreadnought-class ballistic missile submarine.

Furthermore, the MoD noted that the replacement is aimed at responding to threats and the security environment in the future.

Wallace said in a statement: “As set out in our annual updates to parliament on the future of the UK’s Nuclear Deterrent, the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Nuclear Organisation is working with the Atomic Weapons Establishment to build the highly skilled teams and put in place the facilities and capabilities needed to deliver the replacement warhead, whilst also sustaining the current warhead until it is withdrawn from service.

“We will continue to work closely with the US to ensure our warhead remains compatible with the Trident Strategic Weapon System.”

Wallace further added that the nuclear deterrent is essential to defend the country and its Nato allies.

The replacement warhead delivery is subject to major programme approvals by the government.

Prior to the DoD’s announcement, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) revealed that Pentagon officials had confirmed that the US will share technology with the UK for the development of a new generation of nuclear warheads.

CND general secretary Kate Hudson said: “We have come to a sorry state of affairs when our elected parliamentarians hear about the commissioning of a new UK nuclear warhead from Pentagon officials rather than from our own government.”