Press TV – December 10, 2012
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) has signed a £1.2 billion contract with the arms-producer BAE Systems to build the navy a new nuclear submarine.
The submarine dubbed HMS Audacious is the fourth of seven Astute Class vessels that the MoD has ordered for the Royal Navy.
The ministry has also allocated another £1.5 billion for the rest of the Astute-class submarines.
The Royal Navy has touted the submarines as the most advanced at their service yet recent tests have raised serious questions about their applicability.
The first of the seven submarines named HMS Astute failed its sea trials last month after it was forced to resurface due to flooding problems that let tens of liters of water in.
The submarine also faced problems with its electrical instruments while its nuclear reactor monitoring systems also raised accuracy concerns.
- Troubled Astute submarine programme to get another £2.7bn (guardian.co.uk)
British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond is to announce a multi-million pound contract for a new generation of nuclear missile submarines indicating Britain’s resolve to push ahead with its disputed Trident nuclear system replacement program.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the £350 million contract makes “clear the government’s firm commitment to maintaining continuous at-sea deterrence for future decades.”
The announcement comes as the British government’s study into a like-for-like Trident replacement is not even complete.
Those opposing the nukes replacement, including junior coalition partners in the Liberal Democrat camp, argue that a like-for-like replacement will be hugely expensive.
The Cabinet Office study, which apparently seeks to find a cheaper and scaled-down replacement for Trident, is now running under the supervision of the Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and is expected to report results early next year.
The planned new fleet of Trident submarines is officially estimated to cost up to £25 billion but anti-nukes campaign group Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has put the real cost of a full replacement at more than £100 billion.
The £350 million contract is part of the £3 billion awarded last year to BAE Systems to pursue work on a new Trident fleet.
The Conservative Defense Secretary has already said that the government is committed to keeping “our continuous submarine-based deterrence.”
Lib Dems have formerly attacked the talks of a nuclear “deterrence” based on Trident or a like-for-like system saying Trident was designed to counter the threats of the Soviet Union, which has long perished.
- Is a like-for-like Trident replacement a good idea? | Poll (guardian.co.uk)
- Con-Dems put extra £350m into Trident (morningstaronline.co.uk)
Highly secret documents related to the Anglo-French project aimed at building Europe’s assassination drones have been stolen at the Gare du Nord station in Paris.
A briefcase containing highly confidential documents relating to the Anglo-French assassination drone project has been stolen from a senior French executive.
The senior executive from Dassault Aviation, a French manufacturer of military jets, was on his way to London when two people, possibly linked to “a highly-sophisticated operation by a spy agency” as described by the French police, stole the documents.
Britain and France agreed to carry out a joint project aimed at building a new generation of assassination drones, known as Male (medium altitude long endurance) drones, by 2020.
British arms giant BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation are to launch the joint venture so that the new assassination drones will fly over Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of the US and Britain’s so-called “War on Terror.”
British anti-arms campaigners have severely criticized the Anglo-French project as they describe the assassination drones as “the latest ‘must have’ weapon system” that Britain is “desperate” to build.
“Drones are the latest ‘must have’ weapon system and it is important they say, that the UK keeps up with the US and Israel in this key market,” said Drone Wars UK in a statement.
- UK to complement US ‘Drone Wars’ (nation.com.pk)