The UK Trident nuclear deterrent program – at the center of a row over its replacement – is at risk from a new generation of cheap underwater drones which could render the whole basis of submarine deployment useless, according to a new report.
The UK parliament is due to make a decision on replacing its ageing fleet of Vanguard class submarines, which carry the Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles to be used as a weapon of last resort as part of Britain’s nuclear deterrent program.
Now, however, a new report from the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) says the whole issue of stealth submarine warfare is being brought into question because of the rise in the number and use of Unmanned Underwater vehicles (UUV) and Unmanned surface vehicles (USV), which are cheap to deploy and can detect submarine movement — putting the Trident program into jeopardy.
BASIC author David Hambling says:
“The availability in large numbers of low-cost unmanned platforms, known as unmanned vehicles or drones, equipped with sophisticated sensors and able to operate in swarms, is likely to be highly disruptive to naval operations over the next decade, particularly those dependent upon stealth.”
He says submarine developers aim to reduce the signature of ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) so that they can remain undetected. But the laws of physics — not to say common sense — suggest that a boat five hundred feet long and weighing sixteen thousand tons, carrying an operational nuclear reactor, cannot be made to disappear utterly at close range.
Full article: Britain’s Trident Nuclear Program at Risk From Unmanned Sub Drones (Sputnik News)