Monday, 1 November 2010

Joint Anglo French Nuclear Deterrent?

We recently suggested that David Cameron's decision to delay the development of a replacement for the Trident strategic nuclear missiles may have been made in order to facilitate the creation of a joint Anglo French nuclear force.

The following is a quote from a very interesting Parliamentary briefing paper:

"In February 2010 the French government reportedly presented a proposal to the UK for the creation of a joint UK-French nuclear deterrent as part of proposals for greater procurement collaboration and potential cost savings between the two countries in the current economic climate.

While a number of analysts have suggested those proposals involve the sharing of nuclear patrols in order to maintain a continuous-at-sea deterrent,others have speculated that France is looking to promote the sale of its newly developed M51 submarine-launched ballistic missile as an alternative to the Trident strategic weapons system."


TheRagingTory said...

Playing Trident II off against M51 for the best deal is a good idea.
Running a combined deterant is not.

The simple fact is we would not risk nuclear annihilation to avenge France, nor they us.

jedibeeftrix said...

I still don't buy the joint deterrent.

What we get off the yanks is fabulously cheap given that even the worst case scenario from pinko CND types is £80b over forty years, or £2b/year.

The French deterrent, including; subs, missiles, guidance, warhead research & manufacture, warhead testing, is supposed to absorb 20% of their Defence budget, or £8b/year.

Even in the unlikely scenario that doubling the order size reduced costs by 50% a putative combined deterrent would still cost double what we pay today, and that is an over-estimate by pinko CND types!

If, and I do mean "if", we can use french warhead testing facilities, and they our r&d/ production facilities, without compromising any US technology or creating fear of such a compromise that would destroy our deterrent relationship with the yanks, then yes by all means save costs that way.

Likewise, i can see the utility in Britain and France maintaining nominal at sea deterrence with three boats apiece on the agreement that CASD should be provided by each Navy's operational boat should be a strategic reserve for the other in case theirs goes offline.

Could reduce missile boats from eight to six and still pride CASD to each nation.

GrandLogistics said...

Hello Jedibeeftrix,

this is an extract from the paper I linked to,I would recommend reading the whole paper:

"Although the nuclear share of French defence spending has declined since the end of the Cold War, it remains significant.
It takes nearly 10 per cent of French defence spending (about US$4 billion per year) to maintain and operate its deterrent forces, compared to about 5 per cent (about US$3 billion per year) for the United Kingdom.
Eighty-five per cent of French nuclear weapons costs are for the submarine- based leg of the dyad; whereas the United Kingdom has a submarine-based monad.
While this explains some of the difference in cost,the UK also benefits technologically (greatly) and economically (modestly) from nuclear weapons cooperation with the United States."

Given that the French develop their own weapons,have more warheads and also tactical nuclear forces those costs seem to be very close.

85% of $4 Billion is $3.4 Billion.

Having an indigenous nuclear capability is costing the French only $400 Million more each year than Britain's semi independent system.

Britain is now committed to European procurement.
France is the only European producer of strategic nuclear missiles.

I would be very surprised if we have not already committed to M51 in private at least.

Joint deterrent patrols are no more independent than sharing an aircraft carrier but if the politicians are committed to common foreign and defence policy,which they are,then that does not matter.

The armed forces exist to support policy and the policy of the politicians is Europeanism.


jedibeeftrix said...

cheers, i'll have a read of that link.

curious that it disagrees with what lindey-french wrote for chatham house in september...........

GrandLogistics said...

Hello JediBeeftrix,

working out the cost of the submarines and missiles is not too hard but as far as the overall cost goes even official figures vary widely.

So widely that it is often difficult to place much faith in any figures published on this subject.


jedibeeftrix said...

Cheers GL,

Those figures certainly seem more authoritative and up to date than the lindey-french calculation, i used them in my entente article here: