The government is facing accusations that it has misled the public and the international community over the number of missiles which could be carried on the ‘Successor’ class
Trident replacement submarines following the disclosure of details of a contract to build missile tubes for a new submarine. The Ministry of Defence has struck a £37 million deal with the US Navy to build twelve new missile tubes for the first of the Successor submarines – despite announcing in 2010 that, as a disarmament measure, it would be reducing the number of missiles carried on board each Trident submarine from 12 on the submarines which are currently in service to eight on the replacement boats. The order for the twelve missile tubes – which form part of a ‘Common Missile Compartment’ that will be an integral part of both the US and UK’s Trident replacement submarines – has been placed even though the UK parliament will not take the main decision on whether to renew Trident nuclear weapons, and how many submarines will be built, until after the next General Election in 2016. An announcement from the US Navy states that a total of 48 missile tubes will be built for four new UK Trident replacement submarines.
Two Trafalgar Class submarines will move from Her Majesty’s Naval Base Devonport to Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde in another steptowards HMNB Clyde becoming the Royal Navy’s submarine centre of specialisation. By 2020, HMS Talent and HMS Triumph will have moved to Scotland, making HMNB Clyde home to all of the UK’s submarines. The Royal Navy’s other two TBoats, HMS Torbay and HMS Trenchant, are toremain at their current home in Devonport until they are decommissioned in 2017 and 2019 respectively.