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British Nuclear Weapons

UK Nuclear Weapons Authorization 2003

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#1 Ilphi

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Posted 02 April 2003 - 06:13 PM

Today while talking about Iraq with some friends somehow topic turned to Nuclear Weapons. I know that all of Britains nukes Trident submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missile system, and that the UK maintains no testing or construction areas and that Britain’s nuclear weapon submarines are all stocked and maintained at the US Navy Base at King's Bay.

However, I am fairly sure that Britain cannot independently fire its nuclear weapons and needs America’s “permission” for lack of a better word to fire this. My friend disputed this and asked to cite evidence, which at the time I unable to do. I know there are quite a few educated military folks on this board and I was hoping someone here could point me towards some evidence to back up my case.

Or disprove me, if you want :)
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Ye shall be foolish as I; ye shall scatter, not save;
Ye shall venture your all, lest ye lose what is more than all;
Ye shall call for a miracle, taking Christ at His word.
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#2 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 02 April 2003 - 09:13 PM

I can't say for certain, but I'm pretty sure that your friend is right.

I was talking to an ex US serviceman a while ago, who served in a Pershing missile unit. Turns out that if the 10 odd men of his battery had wanted to end the world- they could have.

This makes me think that while the US might not give "permission", the RN subs could still lose of their missiles.
Blessed is the mind too small for doubt.

#3 Ilphi

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Posted 02 April 2003 - 11:30 PM

I thought that nuclear fire control was taken away from sub commanders some time last century though?
Yea, ere my hot youth pass, I speak to my people and say:
Ye shall be foolish as I; ye shall scatter, not save;
Ye shall venture your all, lest ye lose what is more than all;
Ye shall call for a miracle, taking Christ at His word.
And for this I will answer, O people, answer here and hereafter,
The Fool - Padraic Pearse

#4 tennyson

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Posted 03 April 2003 - 01:05 AM

Not so that I've heard, unless something has radically changed in the last few years they're still on the dual launch key after persmission from command authority system. Here's what I could find from The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World 2000-2001:

"All are based at Faslane, on the River Clyde, at a facility officially opened in 14-8-93.
As of 7-98, only one is to be on patrol at a time, carrying only 48 warheads vice the 92 originally to be carried; missile launch readiness is to be lowered to "days" rather than minutes of warning. In 1995, the classd was given a "sub-strategic role, with Trident D-5 missiles replacing RAF-delivered WE177 bombs, without alteration to the delivery payoads of the missiles. "

#5 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 03 April 2003 - 01:43 AM

I think in fact am fairly positive that the UK can launch their weapons on their own authority.  Now if they did so suffice it to say the US would not be a happy camper.  So any potential launch by the UK would likely involve at the very least a quick conversation between the POTUS and UK authorities.      

AFAIK Tennyson is right about the launch procedure for UK forces.
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#6 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 03 April 2003 - 01:53 AM

CJ AEGIS, on Apr 2 2003, 10:32 PM, said:

I think in fact am fairly positive that the UK can launch their weapons on their own authority.  Now if they did so suffice it to say the US would not be a happy camper.  So any potential launch by the UK would likely involve at the very least a quick conversation between the POTUS and UK authorities.     

AFAIK Tennyson is right about the launch procedure for UK forces.
I doubt Britain would be a happy camper if the US launched her missiles either. :p
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#7 Ro-Astarte

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Posted 03 April 2003 - 01:57 AM

Quote

I doubt Britain would be a happy camper if the US launched her missiles either.  :p

True enough. And a whole lot of other people, including me would be in that line as well.

Ro :o

Edited by Ro-Astarte, 03 April 2003 - 01:58 AM.


#8 Rov Judicata

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Posted 03 April 2003 - 02:01 AM

But there's nothing like launching strategic nukes to liven up a boring weekend.

:pout:
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#9 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 03 April 2003 - 02:06 AM

Yeah, I got to agree with Rov here.

Just remember your ten-thousand factor sunblock.  :hehe:
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#10 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 03 April 2003 - 02:23 AM

Quote

Rov: But there's nothing like launching strategic nukes to liven up a boring weekend.

Rov playing with city busters all ready? ;)  Nothing like some instant sunrise for the morning.

Quote

Talkie Toaster: I doubt Britain would be a happy camper if the US launched her missiles either.

Sort of doubt it too. ;)  But that was more in reference to warning the other before launching a retaliatory strike.  

Quote

Ro-Astarte: True enough. And a whole lot of other people, including me would be in that line as well.

Well typically most people aren’t very happy to have a large amount of nuclear weapons unloaded on someone for no reason. ;)  Though there are some justifications in certain circumstances for the use of nuclear weapons.
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
        -Fleet Admiral Nimitz
"Their sailors say they should have flight pay and sub pay both -- they're in the air half the time, under the water the other half""
        - Ernie Pyle: Aboard a DE



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