Royal Navy warship collides with Russian nuclear submarine
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly issued threats of nuclear destruction since the start of the invasion, putting Western powers on high alert. This nuclear posturing has particularly alarmed European countries like Sweden, which currently doesn’t have nuclear weapons. Concerned about their security, countries like Sweden and Finland have are mulling applying for NATO membership, angering Putin further.
Earlier today, Boris Johnson held a press conference with his Swedish counterpart, Magdalena Andersson, where he said that Britain would support whatever Sweden decides around possible future NATO membership.
When asked whether the UK would provide Sweden with nuclear support if asked, the Prime Minister said: “When it comes to our nuclear deterrent, that’s something we don’t generally comment on.
“What I’ve made clear is that it is up to either party to make a request and we take it very seriously.”
On Sweden’s entry into NATO, he said: “I’m sure the UK will support whatever of course of action Sweden decides to embark upon and we’ll be as useful and supportive as we can.”
Since 1998, the Trident has been the only operational nuclear weapons system in the UK, after the country decommissioned its tactical WE.177 bombs.
The nuclear weapons system is delivered through four of the UK’s Vanguard-class submarines that are currently based at HMNB Clyde in Scotland.
Each of these submarines can be armed with up to sixteen Trident II missiles, each of which carries nuclear tipped warheads in up to eight multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs).
The UK deploys at least one Vanguard submarine on patrol at all times, performing a crucial strategic deterrence role against other nuclear powers.
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These Vanguard submarines can launch the Trident II D-5, which is a submarine-launched ballistic missile that has a range of 11,300 kilometres with a top speed of over 21,600 km/h.
Most of the warheads, which are manufactured in Britain, have a yield of 80-100 kilotons – the equivalent of TNT –five or six times greater than the “Little Boy” atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Given that the Vanguard submarines are aging, Britain is set to boost its nuclear deterrence programme with an additional £2billion investment in the high-tech Dreadnought submarines.
Ministry of Defence (MoD) has stated that these vessels will be “one of the most complex machines ever built” and they will operate in “one of the most hostile environments on the planet”.
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Britain has also bolstered its defences by awarding a £160m Dreadnought crew training contract to Raytheon UK, which will take place at HM Naval Base, Clyde.
Frances Tusa, an independent defence analyst, said that these contracts are a clear signal that the Royal Navy is confident in its nuclear deterrents.
The Telegraph reported him saying: “The fact that they are signing training contracts is important because it shows they know they are getting closer to the delivery of the boats.
“In the past, they’ve been faced with a situation where equipment is delivered and they actually don’t have any trained personnel.
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