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Trident To Cost 167 Billion Pounds, Far More Than Expected

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http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/10/25/uk-britain-defence-trident-exclusive-idUKKCN0SJ0ER20151025

The overall cost of replacing and maintaining Britain's nuclear deterrent will reach 167 billion pounds, much more than expected, according to an MP's and Reuters' calculations based on official figures.

The Scottish Nationalist Party, which wants Britain's Scotland-based nuclear-armed Trident submarines scrapped, called the sum "unthinkable and indefensible" at a time when deep cuts under the government's "austerity" policies mean "thousands of people across the UK are struggling to afford basics like food".

Some military officials also oppose investment in Trident, saying the money would be better spent on maintaining the army and on more conventional technology, which have also faced cuts.

Until now, Prime Minister David Cameron's government has said replacing the ageing fleet of four submarines which carry nuclear warheads to provide a continuous at-sea deterrent would cost an estimated 15-20 billion pounds.

It has as yet given no official estimate of the cost of its replacement and maintenance.

Critics have previously said Britain will need to spend 100 billion pounds, a figure based on a 2014 report by the independent Trident Commission.

In a written parliamentary response to Crispin Blunt, an MP in Cameron's Conservative party, Minister of State for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said on Friday the acquisition of four new submarines would cost 25 billion pounds.

He added that the in-service costs would be about 6 percent of the annual defence budget over their lifetime. The total defence budget for 2014/15 reached 33.8 billion pounds and rises to 34.1 billion pounds in 2015/16, according to the ministry.

This will help George balance the books, so all his cuts have not just been gobbled up by several nuclear submarines!

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Until now, Prime Minister David Cameron's government has said replacing the ageing fleet of four submarines which carry nuclear warheads to provide a continuous at-sea deterrent would cost an estimated 15-20 billion pounds.

Maybe if you treat it as a jobs program. But I'm sure the Chinese could knock something together for much less than that.

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That's not that far off the amount of money printed to help to save the UK economy/banks.

Never any shortage of money available for pet projects/special causes.

Edited by billybong

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Hanging on to the remnants of an empire that ceased to exist a century ago....

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When the numbers reach that size they stop being rational. The number is so big that the programme itself actually changes the economy and makes it work in a different direction - the money isn't spent so much as apportioned and the rest of the economy rotates around it

Trident may or may not be a good/bad thing - but the ethics of it aren't really that connected with the spend.

It is a bit like a yodaism 'there is no spend, there only is'

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Technology is meant to be getting cheaper not more expensive. £167 billion seems insane particularly as this system was already developed by the US and we are just doing our own implementation. It's not quite "off the shelf", but it is not as if every single piece is being designed from scratch.

I guess the figure doesn't mean much to the general public, after a few hundred million the numbers probably merge into one for Joe public.

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Just print it ... they have printed £375 bn and it didn't do any harm so £167 bn over a few decades is nothing really .... talking of that £375 bn .... where did it all go?

I'm not sure it did nothing. Inflation seems to have been pretty much extinguished by ZIRP and QE.

Coincidence?

united-kingdom-inflation-cpi31-3-15.png

Edited by zugzwang

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But I'm sure the Chinese could knock something together for much less than that.

Damn, you beat me to the suggestion we outsource it to our industrious friends!

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The new Canadian PM has vowed to stop the F-35 - which is an interesting story that is going to grow I suspect.

He has promised a new competition to find the best fighter for Canada as he believes that a fair competition was never undertaken and that the F-35, with its many faults including having just a single engine, is not right for Canada's needs.

If Canada opts out of buying it will focus more eyes on the F-35's failings and may allow other countries to cancel their orders also.

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The new Canadian PM has vowed to stop the F-35 - which is an interesting story that is going to grow I suspect.

He has promised a new competition to find the best fighter for Canada as he believes that a fair competition was never undertaken and that the F-35, with its many faults including having just a single engine, is not right for Canada's needs.

If Canada opts out of buying it will focus more eyes on the F-35's failings and may allow other countries to cancel their orders also.

Perhaps relaunch this?

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Glad to see nobody actually putting the number into context.

From what I read on reuters the 167 billion is the figure for the entire 32 year service life, or 5 billion pa if you want to make it look smaller, or the in service costs (I assume that is the operating cost per year of the defence budget as opposed to the up front costs of the boats) of 6% of the UK defence budget if you want to make it look smaller still.

Edit : Or if you want to make it look smaller still, probably 1/20 the cost of the NHS over the same period.

Edited by Gigantic Purple Slug

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Surely the cost is absurd. I doubt the Russian or even the Chinese systems cost that much and they are probably better!

Edited by Errol

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If we stay in Nato then Trident is an expensive waste of money. From a strategic point of view there is no need for an 'independent' nuclear system, there are already over 2,000 nuclear warheads available and another 2,500 mothballed. How many times do you need to be able to blow up the planet to feel secure FFS ? Given that firing Trident is likely to cause a nuclear winter with a worldwide drop of 3C causing massive problems to world food production - the real question is when would we fire this without the approval of our Nato partners ? If we don't have a scenario where this is likely to happen it is an expensive strategic mistake to renew Trident.

Nukes can be moved around within Nato states relatively quickly. What can't be done quickly is building more tanks, ships and planes and training the people to use them. Relying on Nukes alone is a dangerous game to play. We should be planning for many other forms of attack and having adequate conventional forces whilst relying on the warheads Nato already has at its disposal. This is a far better use of military spending, and there are plenty of military planners that agree. I suspect that Trident is a lot more to do with keeping our seat on the UN security council, and backhanding defence contractors.

The people that want Trident need to explain how we are going to destroy a large chunk of the planet without the US approving. If they can't do that, then they have no rational strategic argument for keeping it.

Edited by sikejsudjek

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firing Trident is likely to cause a nuclear winter with a worldwide drop of 3C causing massive problems to world food production

House prices will be protected though?

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Sounds a bit ridiculous. Like those reports from greenies that a litre of fuel should actually cost 100 quid because an earthworm on the moon might die and in turn effect tidal patterns leading to a potential 90% of land being flooded. Or something.

OK, perhaps not that, but when they start mentioning 'externalities' I think you have to treat it with a grain of salt.

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When did we lose the ability to do things for ourselves causing us to turn to the Chinese or the Americans ? Seriously cant we make and maintain the equivalent in Britain ?

All it comes down to is building a small nuclear reactor and a massive watertight steel tube ..oh wait a minute..

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Ridiculous cost. We should definitely be looking at cruise missile / missile launched nukes instead. True, they may be more vulnerable than sub launched missiles but they could surely come up with something that could be used by ships, planes and existing subs instead.

Also, insert obligatory 'they'll never be used' comment here.

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It strange how we are skint, unless there's a third world country to bomb, a rail network using Chinese steel to build which no one wants, a criminal financial industry to bail out or a load of missiles with special tips which we are not allowed to use, even if we did get nuked.

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