back to article UK will build new nuclear bomb subs, says Defence Secretary

The United Kingdom is to get a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines to deter Soviet President Putin from invading West Germany, the Defence Secretary announced on Saturday. While Sir Michael Fallon didn't quite say that, what he did say was this: Britain’s ballistic missile submarines are the ultimate guarantee of our …

  1. OliP

    We cannot know what new dangers we might face in the 2030s, 2040s and 2050s so we are acting now to replace them.

    As history has told us repeatedly, its usually the people you arm about a decade or so before-hand.

    Maybe stop exporting arms to half the world, and stop antagonising the other half and we might push this issue forward?

    1. tr1ck5t3r

      You also forgot when considering how much we import and how long radiation hangs around that it makes sense to nuke our suppliers including our food suppliers. Thanks to just in time deliveries the major UK supermarkets only have 3-5days food in the supplychain to feed the whole country. You cant even magic up mushrooms in that time so its would be back to rations for everyone.

      Nothing like a hungry animal to make an angry animal. Dont be a diva have a snickers!

      Nukes are just big loud flash bang whallops to keep the population under control and will generally target large population densities so its useful for population reduction which is something we might need when the Grand Solar Minimum takes full effect in 2020. Lets face it we dont even have that many nukes so what use are they really and thats before you get into defensive measures that can take them out, examples being defensive missle systems like Israel's Iron dome, and countless air force personnel for jet fighters in various countries. Ask yourself why infrasound the silent killer is not used as a weapon, maybe it doesnt have the psychological effect on the populaces mind to help maintain that charade of being in control/law & order because the public are like herding cats. Ask why nuclear suitcase bombs are not mentioned even though they could be smuggled in and deployed in many busy shopping centres targeting large parts of the innocent (or should that be stupid) population?

      Its interesting reading that the UK policy in the event of a nuke attack was to use law enforcement to keep the populations in their houses, so towns & city populations would be prevented from leaving, as the country folk could fend for themselves and survive knowing what to do to carry on in the future. The old ways are best.

      1. Mark Dempster

        I think you need to do a bit more reading up on the subject. Each of the current class of submarine carries 92 independently-targetted warheads - seems to negate your 'we dont even have that many nukes so what use are they really' comment...

        There's no way that ANY defensive missile system or jet fighter will take out an ICBM - they travel way too high & too fast - I think you're assuming they're something closer to cruise missiles. And the individual warheads would be even harder to target.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          There's no way that ANY defensive missile system or jet fighter will take out an ICBM

          That is a load of bull.

          Latest S400, David's Sling and other developments by key players in that area are specifically designed to do exactly that. S400 has an engagement range of 230km against targets traveling at re-entry velocity (5km/s) _AND_ with ICBM size. David sling is shorter, but has actually been fired in anger. This is now, out there, actually deployed. While they can take out only up to 3-4 warheads per battery, they can do it today.

          If we look into the near future, S500 is specifically - one battery engaging 10 warheads so one battery can take the full MIRV load of one Trident missile.

          It always makes me chuckle when the Russians make such a big deal of USA ICBM interceptors and Aegis installations while at the same time having MULTIPLE times the USA anti-ICBM capacity and developing both missile defenses and countermeasures against missile defenses as fast as they possibly can.

          1. El_Fev

            Ohh ffs the fact that 4 morons actually upvoted your comment is fucking incredible! if you think that the S400 is going to take out multiple warheads at re-entry speeds you need your fucking head seeing too!

            Being able to spot a ballistic warhead and being able to destroy one is hard enough, doing the same with hundred plus incoming, its not like missile command! Jesus Wept you children need to stay off the fucking internet!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              ffs....4 morons.....fucking incredible! ....you need your fucking head seeing too!.... Jesus Wept you children need to stay off the fucking internet!

              I thought I was impolite, but I think we can totally discount your views if they need that much abuse to support them.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "its not like missile command"

              Actually it is quite like missile command...You are aiming to detonate shrapnel creating blasts ideally in the path or at least in the vicinity of incoming missiles.

              The S400 (an anti-aircraft system) might not be able to attack incoming warheads, but other systems potentially can....

            3. Archtech Silver badge

              Now we know how you feel - do you have any actual facts?

              "Ohh ffs the fact that 4 morons actually upvoted your comment is fucking incredible! if you think that the S400 is going to take out multiple warheads at re-entry speeds you need your fucking head seeing too!"

              Apart from your emotional rants, do you have any actual concrete information on the subject? Or do you sincerely believe that your wishful thinking trumps engineering specifications?

              1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

                Re: Now we know how you feel - do you have any actual facts?

                "Or do you sincerely believe that your wishful thinking trumps engineering specifications?"

                "I can see why you're not in management." -- Dilbert's PHB

          2. Suricou Raven

            There's an obvious counter to intecepters: Send more missiles. That's why countries that have nukes tend to have a lot of them. You only need one per city to get through.

            1. Archtech Silver badge

              Cost-effective

              ABMs cost a lot less than ICBMs.

              1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

                Re: Cost-effective

                Mmh. Doubtful. Unless your potential adversary is nice enough to let you set up your ABMs conveniently close to his ICBM launch sites, you'll need a lot of ABMs to even have a slim chance to take down a few ICBMs. MIRVs, SSBNs, SSBNs launching IMBMs with MIRVs - the acronyms alone are problematic.

          3. Archtech Silver badge

            "It always makes me chuckle when the Russians make such a big deal of USA ICBM interceptors and Aegis installations..."

            You seem to know what you are talking about, so I am surprised to see you overlook the vital difference - location, location, location.

            The Russian missiles will be located (almost exclusively) within the frontiers of Russia, and so will be the very last line of defence. They will not get two chances.

            In stark contrast, the Americans are now lining up their ABM installations pretty much right along the Russian border, so they can shoot down Russian ICBMs as soon as they get off the ground. Then they have another opportunity against surviving ICBMs as they approach their targets.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Archtech,

              In stark contrast, the Americans are now lining up their ABM installations pretty much right along the Russian border, so they can shoot down Russian ICBMs as soon as they get off the ground. Then they have another opportunity against surviving ICBMs as they approach their targets.

              Nope.

              Firstly you need to remember that the US system is being deployed to defend US allies. That's not something that the Russians are quite so bothered about - for one thing they don't have as many allies. So it makes things a bit more complex - and deployment just at home doesn't work.

              Secondly the US aren't deploying in sufficient numbers to do anything serious about the Russian strategic missiles, and aren't talking about doing so in future. They're talking about 1 or 2 installations in Europe, 1 in Alaska and one in South Korea, with a couple Aegis ships kicking around to cover North Korea. That's not enough for Russia, but China (like the UK and France) only operates a minimum deterrent - so is talking about upping its nuclear forces.

              Thirdly the US sites are in the wrong place. They're in Romania, the Southern tip of Korea and the Sea of Japan - whereas the Russian missiles are in Siberia and on submarines. Plus Russia are threatening to station them on cruise missiles in Kaliningrad. None of those interception locations works for missiles being fired over the Pole (apart from Alaska a bit).

              So no, the Russians are just pointlessly whingeing. China has a bit more of a point, but then if they didn't want the US to station missile defence in Korea, they could do more to control North Korea.

        2. itzman

          RE: no way that ANY defensive missile system or jet fighter will take out an ICBM

          I think you are mistaken.

          Anti missile missiles exist, and work, as demonstrated way back in te first gulf war, when they were deployed against tactical nukes of short range, and worked. Do you really think technology has stood still?

          Why do you think MIRV technology exists? Because single warheads are vulnerable to point defences.

          "The bomber will always get through" was shown to be complete BS in WWII. Throw enough flak into the air and there isn't any space left for bombers. Same with ABMs. If you have enough, warheads won't get through.

          ICBMS tipped with MIRV nuclear warheads are there in quantity to make sure that some get through. Enough to discourage attack. But there are plenty of ways to defend.

          1. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: RE: no way that ANY defensive missile system or jet fighter will take out an ICBM

            '"The bomber will always get through" was shown to be complete BS in WWII'.

            Although even when it did get through, it usually proved incapable of hitting any target smaller than, say, ten miles across. On one occasion, a British bomber set off (admittedly in bad weather, at night) to attack a German airfield in Holland, and managed to put an RAF airfield in Norfolk out of action for quite some time. The crew returned to base believing they had accomplished their mission.

        3. Archtech Silver badge

          "There's no way that ANY defensive missile system or jet fighter will take out an ICBM - they travel way too high & too fast..."

          That turns out not necessarily to be the case.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-400_(missile)

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-500_(missile_system)

          "The S-500 is a new generation surface-to-air missile system. It is designed for intercepting and destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as hypersonic cruise missiles and aircraft, for air defense against Airborne Early Warning and Control, and for jamming aircraft. With a planned range of 600 km (370 mi) for Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) and 400 km (250 mi) for the air defense, the S-500 would be able to detect and simultaneously engage up to 10 ballistic supersonic targets flying at a speed of 5 kilometres per second (3.1 mi/s; 18,000 km/h; 11,000 mph) to a limit of 7 km/s (4.3 mi/s; 25,000 km/h; 16,000 mph). It also aims at destroying hypersonic cruise missiles and other aerial targets at speeds of higher than Mach 5 as well as spacecraft. The altitude of a target engaged can be as high as 180–200 km (110–120 mi)".

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Has it been tested against anything at near orbital velocity? Bearing in the mind the US THAADS system has only had partial success in tests. Of course that was designed to deal with threats from Iran and North Korea, who weren't expected to have the most complex missiles. But I'm sure they'd have made it better if it was that easy.

            The UK already fit fewer warheads to our Trident missiles than the spec allows. Which obviously gives more room for decoys - and also more space/weight to stick small rockets on the warheads so they can change direction and make interception even harder.

            Intercepting the missiles on the way up still looks a lot more doable than getting them on the way down.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Extreme

      Having read a lot of the comments so far, I can see many of you are not taking this as seriously as you should.

      "We use our nuclear fleet daily to deter the most extreme threats"

      So the UK is going to nuke the IoT and possibly GCHQ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Extreme

        So the UK is going to nuke the IoT and possibly GCHQ?

        If that's your line of thinking I suspect Mrs May would also be a target, but it's generally believed a nation's military should aim at targets in OTHER nations :).

        What puzzles me is that they seem to go with the same old nuclear reactors despite thorium reactors becoming mature enough for use. I would have thought that a pebble reactor would be much safer in a tin can that can suffer the occasional shake-up from depth charges and other unpleasantness, but I'm no expert.

        1. VinceH Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Extreme

          So the UK is going to nuke the IoT and possibly GCHQ?

          If that's your line of thinking I suspect Mrs May would also be a target, but it's generally believed a nation's military should aim at targets in OTHER nations :).

          She's sure to go abroad at some point.

        2. 's water music Silver badge

          Re: Victor mature

          Western sub technology has always veered very much to the conservative side. That's why USSR subs tended to outclass them in performance and casualty rates

          1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

            Re: Victor mature / reactor designs

            The nicest thing about nuclear reactors on submarines is that you'll always have enough coolant availiable.

            1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

              Re: Victor mature, again

              Victor Mature. The penny dropped at last...

      2. JaitcH
        Unhappy

        Re: Extreme But ONLY with USA Permission

        Any devices (rockets, ships, etc) that contain US products are subject to use with US authorisation only.

        It's how the USA controls aircraft sales to countries it doesn't like.

        The Trident missile is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) equipped with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV) and are sold to the UK in accordance with the 1963 Polaris Sales Agreement, as amended. It was originally developed by Lockheed Missiles and Space Corporation. The four Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarines have British warheads.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Part of this is that the military usually arms up based on how the last war was fought. Never on the next one. There's two problems here with any nuke weapon... "can it be stolen" and/or "how will it be used". Of course it can be stolen.. anything can.

      It's the "how will it be used" question is the problem. If MAD were the only reason because your enemy is rational than fine. However, what if, the Daesh got one... and managed to launch it? Would the US, UK, Russian, or any of the others retaliate and turn their Caliphate into smoking glass? That would play right into their "lake of fire", "battle to end all battles" scenario. What about NK? Would there be retaliation? There's the problem. I

      The problem became even murkier recently with a certain US Presidential candidate repeatedly asking during a security/policy briefing by government officials: "Well, why can't we use nukes? We have them."

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Diagnosis: psychotic or moronic (or both)

        'The problem became even murkier recently with a certain US Presidential candidate repeatedly asking during a security/policy briefing by government officials: "Well, why can't we use nukes? We have them."'

        In any rational state, this question would have been answered by a swift injection of tranquilliser, followed by removal to a safe institution. In today's USA, it will no doubt be followed by inauguration as "POTUS".

        With apologies to various (sane) American journalists down the years, no one has ever failed to become President by over-estimating the bloodthirstiness and stupidity of the American voter.

    4. itzman
      Holmes

      Re: Maybe stop exporting arms ....

      48 upvotes at the time of writing shows the principles of belling that cat are alive and well.

  2. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

    Given that the procurement process always seems to deliver results that fall short of the jingoistic rhetoric of the MoD, I presume the new vessels, should they ever emerge, will be Vainglorious, Vagarious, Vacuous and Vaporous?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

      Given that they're described as Successor class, the likely names I came up with were Antipater, Craterus, Antigonus, and Ptolemy.

      1. Known Hero

        Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

        How about

        Bob,Simon,Oscar,Dave ?

        1. Brenda McViking
          Trollface

          Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

          I think we need to ask the internet what to name them by popular vote

          1. Pedigree-Pete
            Thumb Up

            Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

            Obv. Subby MacSubFace. PP

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

            What? Boaty McBoatface?

            Gets my vote :p

            1. Archtech Silver badge

              Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

              Don't flaunt your ignorance about naval matters! That should be "Shippy McShipface" [sic].

              1. Vic

                Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

                Don't flaunt your ignorance about naval matters! That should be "Shippy McShipface" [sic].

                For a submarine?

                I think not...

                Vic.

                1. Archtech Silver badge

                  Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

                  'Umble hapologies.

          3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

            John, Pail, George, Ringo

            Hugh, Pugh Bafrney McGrew, Cuthbert....

            Mind you, "This leaves just under 15 years ", does anyone think they may have left it too late again, eg aircraft carriers, new nuclear power stations etc?

            1. Ben Boyle

              Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

              Tinky Winky, Dipsy, La La and Po.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bob,Simon,Oscar,Dave ?

          dave dee dozy beaky mick & tich ?

          1. Anonymous Blowhard

            Re: Bob,Simon,Oscar,Dave ?

            Nukey MacNukeface?

        3. tony2heads
          Coat

          Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

          Bearing it mind that the subs will be running on Windows, how about Bob, Rover and Clippy?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

            The only sensible thing to do is to name the first one the "Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament"

        4. Known Hero

          Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

          @AC you missed it.

          Bob,Simon,Oscar,Dave ?

          Check the capital letters ;)

        5. Captain DaFt

          Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

          How about naming them realistically?

          The Rampant, Contract, Costs, and Overrun?

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

        I suspect if they've used the name Successor class, that they'll go with S names. So Swiftsure for example, which is an old Napoleonic era battleship, also was a Dreadnought and was a hunter-killer sub built in the late 60s early 70s. Superb, Spartan etc.

        Unless the Navy have got some old S names kicking around that are more appropriate. So the last in class of the Polaris subs (Resolution Class) was called Revenge - and then when they went for V names with the Trident boats we had the last being Vengeance - so perhaps the 4th Successor class will be called Suck on That?

        1. 's water music Silver badge

          Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

          I suspect if they've used the name Successor class, that they'll go with S names.

          The first boat shares it's name with the class, hence Upholder class was renamed Unseen when Upholder was leapfrogged by Unseen due to 'technical issues'

        2. joeldillon

          Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

          I suspect it's more successor class, small case s - they're not looking to commission HMS Successor, they just haven't picked a lead name for the class yet at all.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

      The Senior service has a habit of recycling names.

      Previous Vanguard was HM's last battleship, the last Vengeance and Victorious were aircraft carriers (in some sense the successor to the battleship as means of taking war to the enemy) but most HMS Vigilants were lesser vessels.

    3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

      Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

      How about Wailord, Wartortle, Wigglytuff and Wynaut?

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

        Woderwick ?

        1. graeme leggett

          Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

          can't say that most of the previous 'W' are that impressive (excepting Warrior and Warspite)

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ship_names_of_the_Royal_Navy_(U%E2%80%93Z)#W

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

            Recent sub classes have been:-

            SSBN - Resolution Class

            SSN - Swiftsure Class

            SSN - Trafalgar Class

            SS - Unseen Class

            SSBN - Vanguard Class

            SSN - Astute Class

            so it looks like they've given up on W, X, Y and Z for names and the next class should start with a B. Maybe Bellereophon, Boudicea, Battleaxe and Brilliant?

            1. ElectricFox
              Mushroom

              Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

              They should take a leaf out of Iain M Banks' Culture works and call then:

              A Frank Exchange of Views

              God Told Me To Do It

              Trade Surplus

              Poke It With A Stick

              1. Wandering Reader

                Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

                "Now do you believe me?"

                "Better late than never"

                "I did it my way"

                "Life in the Faslane"

                1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
                  Mushroom

                  Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

                  To take a page out of Douglas Adams' book:

                  HMS Suicidal Insanity

                  sound like a suitable name for an "S" class boat

                  after all, there's a "Daring", and an "Audacious"

                  Another "S" class boat might be named HMS Suppository (for obvious reasons)

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

              HMS Brexit?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

                HMS Brexit?

                You have a deal...but only if we can nuke the Germans, Italians, Spanish, Greeks, oooh, and ESPECIALLY the Austrians. Obviously since the Frogs can shoot back in kind I'd not nuke them and even keep up the pretence of being polite. I don't think that I've got anything against other EU countries, although if there were a couple of warheads left over we could do Belgium and the Tax Haven Formerly Known As Luxembourg.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

              Broken, Barmy, Botched and Belated

            4. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

              There aren't enough words beginning with X, Y and Z. Unless we want to have HMS Xylophone...

              We've also had a few smaller classes of nuke boats, the Chuchill class of 3 and the Valiant class of 2.

              They might go for some of the "I" names, often used on carriers/battleships/battlecruisers. So names like Invincible, Indefatiguable - because you don't want to be calling a ballistic missile submare HMS Surprise. Or HMS Swindon either...

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

                HMS Xanthan Gum

                HMS Xena, Warrior Princess.

                HMS Xenon

                HMS Xenophobe

                1. Archtech Silver badge

                  Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

                  Superb! No, that's not a suggestion, it's just my reaction to John Brown (no body)'s.

            5. fnj

              Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

              Excuse me for veering off course a bit, but when did Boadicea get bowdlerized into Boudicea? When I learned it in the, ahem, 1950s it was always spelled Boadicea (and pronounced bow-a-di-see-a). Next thing I expect to be told "veni, vidi, vici" is to be lisped as "weni, widi, wici" and "Caesar" is not "see-zer" but "kigh-zer".

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

                  I suspect, as we get increasingly risk adverse and expecting constant connectivity, the biggest problem with these things isn't going to be finding the money for them. It's going to be finding the crews, unless they're all on the admiral pay scale.

                  Given how readily they found people to accept a one-way ticket to Mars I suspect that won't be that much of a challenge. You won't get me in a sub either, but even less so in a tin can on the road (sorry, flight) to nowhere with a high likelihood of radiation death before it gets there..

                  Personally, I would call it the B Ark and fill it up with politicians, starting with Trump..

                  1. Archtech Silver badge

                    Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

                    "Personally, I would call it the B Ark and fill it up with politicians, starting with Trump.."

                    Brilliant - then send it off to the Gulf of Finland, and when it arrives declare war on Russia.

              2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

                Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"? / Caesar

                Well, "Caesar" is the origin of "Kaiser" and, I think, "Czar" (or Tzar / Zar).

                Why it has come to be associated with salad I have no idea.

            6. Suricou Raven

              Re: Shouldn't the new names all start with a "W"?

              They should just hire the guy who names Ubuntu releases.

    4. Mike Richards

      Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

      It's BAE, so I'd go with Late, Very Late, Broken and Cancelled

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

        Wanting, Wishful, Wobbly and Whodesignedthisthing?

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

        I'd be surprised if they were waterproof.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

          If we go to war with Russia, China, or anyone else with modern armed forces, they won't be waterproof for long. These days, it's actually very hard indeed to distinguish between a state-of-the-art aircraft carrier and a missile practice target. Now you see it, now you don't.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

      None of the V's for Vendetta?

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

        Personally I'd call the subs Revenge, Reprisal, Retaliation & Retribution. The names fit perfectly with what they are designed for, but alas those names are probably too politically incorrect these days.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

          Peter2,

          We've already had Revenge and Vengeance, out of the 8 SSBN's we've built. But the Navy are traditionalists, and so prefer to re-use names, rather than make up new ones.

          I think we had a WWII destroyer called Spiteful, which might suit if we're going for an S class. Otherwise there were a bunch of ships named from Greek/Roman myths, so we could go for Nemesis.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

      Veni, vidi, vamoose?

      :)

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

        Nice try, but sorry - that quotation still has a rather bitter taste.

    7. itzman
      Coat

      Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

      Nukey McNukeface?

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

        "Successor" just feels like its been given 5 minutes thought. Pretty short sighted.

        ...like calling an OS "New Technology" or something....

    8. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

      Jackie Fisher's weirder intellectual offspring met with a similar reception from the Fleet when they were commissioned during WW1. HMS Courageous and HMS Glorious were immediately and universally known as "HMS Outrageous" and "HMS Uproarious".

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

        "Jackie Fisher's weirder intellectual offspring met with a similar reception from the Fleet when they were commissioned during WW1. HMS Courageous and HMS Glorious were immediately and universally known as "HMS Outrageous" and "HMS Uproarious"."

        And the similar "light battle cruiser" HMS Furious became HMS Spurious in the same way

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance

          When the Navy were testing the German Walther cycle subs in the 50s - using high test peroxide as an oxidser for diesel (yippee!) - they were called HMS Explorer and Excalibur.

          Or Exploder and Excruicator.

          Apparently they generated so much smoke when you could finally get the buggers to start (or fizz), that they once didn't notice a fire becuase the crew had got used to it.

  3. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Fire!

    Fire I say!

    Sorry Sir, Windoze for Warships is doing an unscheduled update. It says we can launch in two hours (Microsnot time)

    Sorry again Sir! It says the the update doesn't support the drivers for the legacy "Torpedo Tube 1" or "Ballistic Missile- Trident" devices ... do I accept or cancel?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fire!

      >> "Windoze for Warships is doing an unscheduled update"

      Which even in the unlikely event they were internet connected is pretty rarely. Almost all Windows updates are scheduled on a monthly basis with advance notification.

      Just imagine if they tried to use say Linux with auto update enabled - updates would be an on-going unscheduled nightware!

      1. MrXavia
        Linux

        Re: Fire!

        surely they should be using an OS they have access to all the source code for? so their OWN linux distro sounds like a good idea, then updates are implemented only during downtime....

        I certainly would not rely on windows for any military hardware..

        Linux isn't perfect, Linux isn't the most user friendly, and Linux doesn't have the software support that Windows does, BUT Linux is open source, meaning a geek on the boat can have the source code available to everything if needed, meaning the bugs can be fixed without relying on any third party... and meaning you have full control over the systems...

        Windows and osx should never interface with the military systems, and IF allowed at all should only be on personal devices...

        1. james 68

          Re: Fire!

          "Linux doesn't have the software support that Windows does"

          That really shouldn't matter as the only software which should be running on those systems should be what was written to run the boat and maybe open or libre office for writing reports. The fact that Johnny Submariner can't load and run his favorite malware should be seen as a good thing.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fire!

          "surely they should be using an OS they have access to all the source code for? "

          They are. Windows. Source code is available...

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fire!

          BUT Linux is open source, meaning a geek on the boat can have the source code available to everything if needed, meaning the bugs can be fixed without relying on any third party... and meaning you have full control over the systems...

          Allow me to slow down your enthusiasm a bit: it also means someone with less than charitable intent has all the tools available to cause havoc. It's a mistake often found on production systems exposed to the Internet: one breach and you're dead (in this case that could be quite literally so). You also don't want your resident geek to see if he/she can find any undocumented features of the missile APIs, which is the sort of thing a bored geek may very well attempt to do :).

          Not that I'm a fan of Microsoft, but even the Linux approach will need serious controls. As for the MS troll who was blabbing about the need for plenty Linux upgrades: I have not seen many MUST INSTALL NOW in the many years I've been using Linux so there is plenty latitude there, as opposed to Microsoft updates which fix major problems with every batch that comes down the pipe. As far as I can tell from the updates alone, Microsoft seems to mainly write security problems which only seem to have any usable features by mere accident.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Fire!

            " I have not seen many MUST INSTALL NOW in the many years I've been using Linux so there is plenty latitude there"

            Pfft - I have - there are loads like that for Linux - for instance various critical kernel holes and things like holes in SSH. Linux generally requires far more patching than Windows. The only major advantage I could cite for Linux patching is that you require far fewer reboots. However mission critical systems are generally clustered and can handle nodes being rebooted without impact so it's not of much consequence...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fire!

        "Almost all Windows updates are scheduled on a monthly basis with advance notification."

        But what happens if the download speed is over a secure serial link using ULF at about 1 bit a second?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fire!

          "But what happens if the download speed is over a secure serial link using ULF at about 1 bit a second?"

          It's still less of an issue for Windows than Linux. For instance SUSE Server 10 - now over 4,000 patches released!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Fire!

            It's still less of an issue for Windows than Linux. For instance SUSE Server 10 - now over 4,000 patches released!

            Ah, it's you again. I see you learned from your last attempt not to actually quote any sources as I demonstrated the rather large gap between your fiction and the reality then, using your own facts.

            Now go back to Microsoft and tell them the FUD needs recharging. It's not even funny anymore.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fire!

          But what happens if the download speed is over a secure serial link using ULF at about 1 bit a second?

          Ah, but that's what we have overlooked: Microsoft has added an extra layer of protection! By fully saturating even the biggest Internet pipe with the sheer size and volume of their security patches downstream and slurped data upstream, there is effectively no bandwidth left to hack anything. Think of it as a DDoS on the hackers. It's actually very clever. Really, it's deliberate. Honestly.

          /sarcasm

        3. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Fire!

          "But what happens if the download speed is over a secure serial link using ULF at about 1 bit a second?"

          Ah! So THAT'S what has been happening with my Windows Updates the past year or so.

          Thanks. I never realised I was in a submarine...

  4. Nick Kew Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    A ploy to retake Scotland?

    This is a spectacularly expensive stunt just to wind Corbyn up. They must be more worried about him than anyone admits!

    But what if it backfires and ends up making him look like a statesman? Aha, got it! This is aimed at Scotland. Antagonise them sufficiently and maybe enough of them will vote Corbyn to weaken the SNP!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A ploy to retake Scotland?

      "got it! This is aimed at Scotland. Antagonise them sufficiently "

      But this is surely aimed at those Scots not yet on disability benefit that rely on the jobs it provides?

    2. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: A ploy to retake Scotland?

      "This is a spectacularly expensive stunt just to wind Corbyn up. They must be more worried about him than anyone admits!

      But what if it backfires and ends up making him look like a statesman? Aha, got it! This is aimed at Scotland. Antagonise them sufficiently and maybe enough of them will vote Corbyn to weaken the SNP!"

      There have certainly been worse ideas by those trying to weaken the SNP, but that isn't saying much. Corbyn might have sound anti-nuclear-weapon principles, but the same can hardly be said of the parliamentary/union bits of Labour Party - any Scot who is thinking of using their vote primarily to get rid of nuclear weapons, and is vaguely familiar with Labour/SNP policies, will probably never choose Labour.

      (Although, it's an open question as to what actually would improve Labour's fortunes in Scotland - it's not even clear that with 1 (out of 59) Westminster MP and 23 (out of 129) MSPs they've hit bottom yet.)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: just to wind Corbyn up ...

      ... we could call the second one HMS Corbyn?

  5. Lotaresco

    Oops

    (and yes, including a modded version of Windows for Warships*)

    UNREFERENCED ASTERISK REDO FROM START

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Oops

      Who is this Redo from Start?

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Oops

        Out of Cheese Error!

        1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Oops

          "Miss Lovelace, there is this gentleman here ..."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oops - Who is this Redo from Start?

        We never find out, but as I recall Ponder was pretty worried about him.

    2. WraithCadmus

      Re: Oops

      You see, Ada wouldn't have let him post the article with that in.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Oops

        You Ada make that pun didn't you...

    3. Lotaresco
      Facepalm

      Re: Oops

      Someone downvoted a Smart Arse One Liner (SAOL)? Seriously? Somewhere out there, there's a life that someone needs to run fast and catch up with.

  6. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Elephant in the room

    They're going to spend £100 billion+ on nuclear submarines.

    Haven't the government already noticed that they can't afford the present budget? And if they go ahead with their planned national economic suicide we won't be able to afford a box of plasters, never mind an NHS.

    Please could they prioritise sensibly? We have a growing population, who are living (and paying taxes) longer. That means a big priority is to increase NHS funding in line with natural increases in demand ( and probably increased cost of new technology). Piss £100 billion up the wall and we'll all have died of MRSA long before we can be protected from the attacks of the Rwandan Popular Front for Global Liberation (or whoever the threat is in 2050)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Elephant in the room

      Sorry, but NATO stipulates you spend 2% on toys for the boys.

      We then flog arms we make to dodgy nations, who then kick off using those weapons we sold them, thus justifying the 2% spend.

      Keeping people out of trouble and alive doesn't produce the required sales.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Elephant in the room

      My money is on the Rwandan People's Front for Global Liberation.

      1. M7S

        Re: Elephant in the room

        Are they the ones sitting some way from the Popular Front of Rwanda?

        Splitters!

    3. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Elephant in the room

      'They're going to spend £100 billion+ on nuclear submarines.'

      'Piss £100 billion up the wall and we'll all have died of MRSA long before we can be protected from the attacks of the Rwandan Popular Front for Global Liberation'

      So less than one years NHS budget (currently ~£10B a month) over several decades. I can't really see it making a dent on the MRSA rate.

    4. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Elephant in the room

      They're going to spend £40 billion on these subs. The budget I believe is only £32bn, but with a contingency of another £8bn - which of course they're bound to spend.

      But this is defence procurement, so the numbers are worked out in really weird ways - such that this might be a "lifetime" cost i.e. £10bn per boat but that includes servicing and one major upgrade of the computers/sonars mid-life.

      Obviously it doesn't include running costs, which is 2 crews per boat and lots of food. Plus upgrades to shore facilities and the like.

      There's another cost to come, which is unknown. We're upgrading the boats for 2030, and then I believe they plan to upgrade/redesign the Trident missiles sometime in the 2030s - so that work will start in the 2020s. And then there'll probably be another warhead redesign too - to put in more decoys to fool interceptor missiles.

      But anyone who comes out with a number is probably spinning/lying. Especially some of the campaigners who come out with £200bn numbers. Plus big numbers are a lot smaller when spread over the 30-40 year cost of the program. So what we know is that we're paying about a billion a year over the lifetime of the boats in equipment costs (the boats) - plus whatever it costs to crew, dock and provision them. Which I'd imagine is considerably less. Then in a few years time they'll look at re-design costs for the missiles and warheads - which I guess will be more bills in the billions.

      £100 billion looks high to me, as you'd expect the boats to be the biggest cost. I can't imagine that the Trident missile needs to get all that much better - so you'd expect a more incremental re-design. And more than a few billion on the warheads seems a bit steep. There are lots of costs to add in, like maritime patrol aircraft, patrol ships and hunter-killer subs that spend part of their time protecting the boats - plus satellite coms and a share of the overheads of the MOD. So you can probably build any figure you want. A bit like doing Google's tax accounts...

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Elephant in the room

        "They're going to spend £40 billion on these subs. The budget I believe is only £32bn, but with a contingency of another £8bn - which of course they're bound to spend".

        So probably about £250 billion, if a true accounting is ever rendered. Which it probably won't be, even if they need to "crash" an "airliner" into the relevant government office to destroy the records.

    5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Elephant in the room

      Maggy's used to love quoting Helmudt Schmidt that: "USSR is Upper Volta(*) with missiles".

      Just UK will be Liberia with missiles.

      Or more likely Argentina - servicing the debt to build the new aircraft carriers, their aircraft wings, their escorts _AND_ the Trident replacement as well as the necessary support for that is pretty much guaranteed to bankrupt the country.

    6. Suricou Raven

      Re: Elephant in the room

      No matter how the economy runs or how much public services cost, there is *always* money for more military spending. Somehow.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: Elephant in the room

        'there is *always* money for more military spending'

        Which is why defence spending has been falling as a percentage of GDP for the last 50 years or so. It has virtually never been a lower proportion of government spending than it is now and is similarly about the bottom of the range in terms of GDP percentage. FIgures here for the hard of thinking http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/past_spending

    7. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Elephant in the room

      Anyone familiar with Oscar Wilde's plays should know that when you are so deep in debt you can never pay it off, the one thing to do is KEEP SPENDING! Offer cash just once, and every tradesman in town will descend on you insisting on payment. The trick is to keep behaving like a billionaire and hope something will turn up. At worst, you get a few more months or years of living it up before the old pistol-to-the-temple moment.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to keep us safe...

    Strange really that only those countries with nuclear weapons have this fear of being attacked by nuclear weapons.

    Most of the world gets by quite happily without nukes and have no fear of being attacked. So stop sucking up to the yanks and stop antagonising everyone else and we won't need them.

    1. james 68

      Re: How to keep us safe...

      Tell that to the Japanese, I'm sure they'll be chuffed to find that out.

      From actually living here I can tell you that a great many Japanese are bloody terrified of nuclear weapons and actively cringe when any large low flying military (or defense force if it's Japanese) aircraft is flying within sight.

      70 years since WW2 ended and they still get scared shitless because they worry about being bombed. Even when you try telling them that it's only a transport or a Coast Guard plane they don't relax one bit.

      Oh and Japan? Zero nukes.

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: How to keep us safe...

        I think you'll find that the Japanese' mistake was starting a war with the USA.

    2. MrXavia

      Re: How to keep us safe...

      I think you'll find that those without nukes mostly rely on those with nukes for the MAD protection.

      And those whome don't have nukes and are not friendly with the western nations that do, try to build their own...

      Although I don't see why we can't just build more attack subs and arm them with nuclear tipped cruise missiles, well apart from the fact we don't have any nuclear tipped cruise missiles... So we should develop some....

      1. Nik 2

        Re: How to keep us safe...

        "Although I don't see why we can't just build more attack subs and arm them with nuclear tipped cruise missiles, well apart from the fact we don't have any nuclear tipped cruise missiles... So we should develop some...."

        There are lots of reasons why we don't use cruise missiles for the nuclear deterrence, mostly to do with shorter range and lower survivability. Others may know better, but I think that the missiles we do have are capable of being modified to carry nukes without too much difficulty.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: How to keep us safe...

      Tell that to the Arabs too... and explain to them how Fucktard D. Eisenhower didn't really totally fuck up their part of the world by, amongst other cataclysmic stupidity, giving the things to Israel. They, for example, (quite reasonably) "have this fear of being attacked by nuclear weapons." ...and are doing something about it. Can you guess what?

      Thank you Fucktard D. Eisenhower.

      Sending MAUD to the yanks (who promptly rebranded it "Manhattan" for obvious propaganda reasons), rather tthan somewhere civilised like CA or AU, is probably the single stoopidest blunder the world has ever seen. So I suppose Churchill's ultimately to blame really.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: How to keep us safe...

        Didn't the Israelis develop their own nukes, with the help of science, good spying and a French nuclear reactor?

        1. Julz Bronze badge
          Mushroom

          Re: How to keep us safe...

          One of the main problems with nuclear tipped cruise missiles is that it paints a confusing picture to the enemies your trying to deter in a MAD sort of way. If all you have is nuclear SLBMs and they detect SLBM launch, they know what is coming. Conversely, if there is no launch, then there is no possibility of a nuclear attack. However, if you have conventional and nuclear armed cruise missiles (a probability unless you throw away all conventional cruise missiles) and they see a bunch of cruise missiles coming their way (or worse, vaguely towards them) and they don't know whether they are nuclear tipped or not, they have to respond as if they are nuclear tipped and the world is a darker place.

    4. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: How to keep us safe...

      I'm sure Ukraine are dead glad they gave up their nukes. That's turned out fine for them hasn't it?

      As for cruise missiles, we could do it. There is/was a US nuclear version of the Tomahawk - but that's been withdrawn as part of the 90s nuclear treaties. I don't know whether they've kept any in storage, and just don't deploy them. Our hunter-killer subs carry Tomahawk - and of course we could build a bigger attack sub to fill full of cruise missiles, as they're useful in operations like Libya - and then equip that with some nuclear ones. From memory it's got a range of over 1,000 miles.

      Or we could build one specially, we've got decent missile tech nowadays. Or an air-launched cruise missile. Or both.

      I just happen to be reading Peter Hennessey's history of the Royal Navy submarine service at the moment. So I know that when they ordered Polaris, the other options were an air-launched cruise missile and a submarine launched one. They worked out it needed 4 subs to carry Polaris, with one always at sea - or 7 subs with cruise missiles - which could be used for other stuff as well. And even that was a worry, as if you're using them, then they're much more detectable - so ideally you'd need more. Which is why they decided on Polaris.

      For every 4 subs/ships you own, you expect one to be in long term refit and at least one other to have broken down or be undergoing more minor maintenance. Which leaves one for training/spare and one you're actually using.

      That was also before anti-air missiles were capable of shooting down other missiles. So you'd need a lot more cruise nukes. Long range ones are slow, they're just small aeroplanes after all, but you need range as you're firing from the sea. That makes them much more detectable.

      Air launched is easier, but then you need to get your aircraft within range of wherever you need to shoot at. And that means forward bases, then fighters to protect those and jammers and tankers. And you're still going to get many of those cruise missiles shot down.

      Obviously you could use carrier based planes, but then we'd need several more carriers. And escorst to protect them.

      So basically anything other than ballistic missiles means we'd need to seriously expand either the navy or RAF. And that would cost much more than 4 subs.

      Then you get to the cheaper option of having your ballistic missiles on land, as opposed to at sea. Land based ones are much more vulnerable to a surprise attack - whereas an at sea deterrent has historically been much harder to deal with. And can return fire after the UK has effectively been destroyed.

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Yes, truly a pity

        the Ukrainians weren't in a position to nuke the shit out of Crimea and/or start WW3.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Yes, truly a pity

          I think Russia might have thought a lot harder about attacking a nuclear armed neighbour - whereas their actual decision to invade seems to have been rather quick and casual. I seem to remember that Putin said in an interview that he decided on the invasion of Crimea only the day before, and events were moving to fast for it to have been planned - although I'm sure they had contingency plans. Obviously the use of troops in Eastern Ukraine was over a longer period, and so must have been a more considered decision.

          Whether Ukraine would have thought it worthwhile going nuclear is another matter.

          NATO's Cold War plans were a lot more graduated. Since we didn't have the forces to deal with the 35 divisions that the Soviets kept in East Germany, plus their reinforcements, the plan was to use tactical nukes on battlefield targets. This would have been river bridgeheads and large targets of opportunity. But not fixed targets near population centres, as that was regarded as more of a strategic attack, likely to receive a larger response. This would of course make the tightrope even narrower, assuming the nukes even helped NATO to hold the Warsaw Pact at bay. In which case NATO's doctrine called for the strategic nuclear forces to act as a deterrent "shield" for the cities - while everyone merrily nuked away to their hearts' content on the battlefield.

          As I understand it, we now know that Soviet doctrine didn't really buy this difference between tactical and strategic use of nukes - which could have had WWIII turning into armageddon pretty quickly. But then the nuclear uncertainty may well be the reason that the Soviets never tried their luck, despite having an overwhelming conventional advantage. It's impossible to prove the counter-factual.

          1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

            Re: Yes, truly a pity

            "I seem to remember that Putin said in an interview that he decided on the invasion of Crimea only the day before"

            Final decision may have happened on the last moment. But troop deployments to Black Sea region started two months before. Elite troops from Kaliningrad and Pskov were first to relocate.

            Which does not necessarily indicate an intent to invade - it may have been a form of contingency planning, guarding against possible insurgencies. But still.

          2. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: Yes, truly a pity

            Russia didn't "attack" anyone. Quite the contrary, in fact. When the extremely violent and bloody illegal coup d'etat in Kiev installed a strongly anti-Russian junta (nominated by the US government, as Ms Nuland was kind enough to tell the world), the people of Crimea begged Russia to take them back. The Russian soldiers who kept the peace during the referendum were already there, as they had been since 1991 (not the same soldiers, of course) under the terms of the lease treaty.

            In case you had forgotten, Crimea has been part of Russia since 1893 - before the USA became a nation. And it was never legally transferred to the Ukrainian state.

            1. x 7

              Re: Yes, truly a pity

              " Crimea has been part of Russia since 1893 - before the USA became a nation. "

              I don't know a lot about American history, but 1893 sounds a bit wrong..............

  8. Nik 2
    Mushroom

    Defence Correspondent :-(

    Are you Lewis Page in disguise?

    El Reg readers may want a little more than deliberate inaccuracy and thinly disguised contempt for the (largely military) teams who procure complex kit and the engineers who design it. Sadly, it seems we will never find out.

    Icon of the Day: How could it be anything else?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    ... "including a modded version of Windows for Warships"

    Does that include a version of Minesweeper?

    I'll get my coat

  10. gv

    Ada

    As part of my course in Software Engineering, I had to learn Ada and deliver some code written in it. I might still have the book somewhere.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Ada

      I'd like to read something about Ada in The Register. She was a lovely lady when I knew her.

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        You don't want to go messing about with Ada

        I've heard her father was bad and mad as well.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You don't want to go messing about with Ada

          Certainly his wife said "He is a very bad, very good man"

  11. Alister Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Given their recent record

    The new submarines will not be able to submerge, without an "optional" upgrade, and the missile tubes will be built the wrong size for the proposed armament.

  12. Doc Ock

    When North Korea can build an A-bomb perhaps we shouldn't be too hasty is getting rid of our own as you never know who could build one next.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      NK HAVE built an A-Bomb, what we are worried about is the ability to lob it it into South Korea or Japan, then later the US.

      1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

        @Lost all faith... But what makes you think that nuclear devastation will deter Kim from doing anything? NK is a strong counter-argument to the MAD doctrine.

    2. Alister Silver badge

      When North Korea can build an A-bomb perhaps we shouldn't be too hasty is getting rid of our own as you never know who could build one next.

      Whilst you can figuratively wave you nuclear submarine at a nation-state to act as a deterrent*, and just about get away with it, the biggest threats these days seem to come from terrorist groups who are not necessarily affiliated with a single nation. In that scenario, what use is a nuclear deterrent?

      * Would any Western nation really be prepared to Nuke North Korea? the collateral damage would probably spill over into South Korea and other friendly nations... (all bets are off if Trump comes to power)

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Terrorists aren't the biggest threat, just the most likely.

        I believe if you do the actuarial calculation you're more likely to be killed by a meteorite strike than in a plane crash. Both are very unlikely, the meteorite much more so of course, but a big one might kill all 7 billion of us, whereas plane crashes only kill a few hundred.

        I admit that sometimes it might feel like there are 7 billion other people in cattle class with you, but we haven't built any planes big enough to do that yet. Let alone the security scanners, luggage carousels and giftshops to cope, if we did...

        So terrorism and the nuclear deterrent are not relevant to each other. The nuclear deterrent is there because we're worried about Russia. And France. Don't forget France...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          They haven't gone and laid siege to Trehowel farm again, have they? Bloody frogs.

      2. Vic

        the biggest threats these days seem to come from terrorist groups who are not necessarily affiliated with a single nation

        They really don't.

        The actual damage caused by terrorist groups is actually very small when you add it up - even the atrocities at the World Trade Centre in 2001 aren't significant when you compare them to the other ways we have of killing ourselves that don't get a mention on the news.

        The reasons we see more column inches about terrorism than other more effective ways of getting killed are left as an exercise to the reader.

        Vic.

  13. ijustwantaneasylife

    ADA is used all over the place...

    https://www.seas.gwu.edu/~mfeldman/ada-project-summary.html

  14. JasonLaw

    <obligatory bring back Lewis Page post>

    whatevs

    1. Doc Ock

      Re: <obligatory bring back Lewis Page post>

      What did happen to Lewis Page, anyone know why he left ?

      1. M7S

        Re: <obligatory bring back Lewis Page post>

        From the January entry on his occasional blog www.lewispage.co.uk

        "I'm not legally allowed to discuss the reasons behind my departure."

        1. Doc Ock

          Re: <obligatory bring back Lewis Page post>

          Oh I see, a fight over who was getting the last jaffacake at tea break in the office. Perhaps Andrew lost out (no surprise there given Lewis's background) so Lewis lost out on his job. Bunfight at the OK Regrooms.

          Ta for the info.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: <obligatory bring back Lewis Page post>

        "What did happen to Lewis Page, anyone know why he left ?"

        I hear he was worried that the El Reg offices might be under 10 metres of water in a few years time due to global warming...

        1. Doc Ock

          Re: <obligatory bring back Lewis Page post>

          @AC, the reg offices are in Southport* in which case they are more likely to be under 10m of pensioners in a few years.

          * A place by the sea in the NW of England where OAPs retire to play bingo and live out their remaining days listening to Vera Lynn records.

    2. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: <obligatory bring back Lewis Page post>

      Was he that tough guy in "The Professionals"?

  15. Velv Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "We cannot know what new dangers we might face in the 2030s, 2040s and 2050s so we are acting now to replace them."

    While it may be true that we cannot fully foresee what dangers we will face, in the grand scheme of things it is unlikely any threat will come from a group/territory/country that one can retaliate against using wholesale nuclear destruction.

    And these are strictly a weapon of retaliation, we would never launch them pre-emptively?

    The need for this type of defence is diminishing, the UK no longer NEEDS it as a defence. The days of countries invading other countries is largely behind us, and we have international collaboration such as the UN and NATO to deter such acts (I agree there are pockets of backwards people's who are still a tiny risk in their region). It is a political tool, a dick swinging exercise, one that increasingly highlights the swinger as an arsehole and not someone due any respect.

    1. james 68

      Ahem, Russia.....Crimean peninsula.... Crazy bastard with many, many nukes. Your argument is broken.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Crazy bastard with many, many nukes."

        Trump hasn't won the election, yet...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Trump hasn't won the election, yet..."

          Putin has. And Bush did.

      2. Velv Silver badge

        Crimea and Easter Ukraine were part of the Russian Empire (18th Century) and the current borders are the result of the break up of the Soviet Union, not the borders of Ukraine prior to the formation of the USSR, so this remains a local border dispute.

        It is NOT the same "invasion" as the potential for Russia to invade the UK as a distinct entity with clear boundaries as it is an island.

      3. Archtech Silver badge

        Ahem... naive guy who believes the mainstream media and the government.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > The days of countries invading other countries is largely behind us, and we have international collaboration such as the UN and NATO to deter such acts

      You mean like Russia invading Ukraine? And how NATO did nothing to prevent it?

    3. Putters

      Sir Humphrey said it far better than I could

      Sir Humphrey: With Trident we could obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe.

      Jim Hacker: I don't want to obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe.

      Sir Humphrey: It's a deterrent.

      Jim Hacker: It's a bluff. I probably wouldn't use it.

      Sir Humphrey: Yes, but they don't know that you probably wouldn't.

      Jim Hacker: They probably do.

      Sir Humphrey: Yes, they probably know that you probably wouldn't. But they can't certainly know.

      Jim Hacker: They probably certainly know that I probably wouldn't.

      Sir Humphrey: Yes, but even though they probably certainly know that you probably wouldn't, they don't certainly know that, although you probably wouldn't, there is no probability that you certainly would.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Sir Humphrey said it far better than I could

        And it doesn't really matter what the PM of the day thinks, because if the deterrent launch decision needed to be made, the PM of the day would be a shadow of their former self.

        Burned into the remaining wall of Number 10.

        The sub captains decide whether to nuke. If Radio 4 Longwave goes off air then pop goes the weasel.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Sir Humphrey said it far better than I could

          " If Radio 4 Longwave goes off air then pop goes the weasel".

          So all our lives depend on the competence of whatever BBC techies remain, and the durability of whatever equipment the BBC Board of Governors has seen fit to purchase with whatever miserable pittance was left over after paying all their "remuneration packages".

          Oh shit.

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Sir Humphrey said it far better than I could

            We're doomed.

            Actually the guys and gals in BBC engineering are pretty damn good, and have rather a lot of the right kit and people needed to keep the Longwave and FM stations on the air.

            The DAB stuff is a different matter...

          2. Lotaresco
            Unhappy

            Re: Sir Humphrey said it far better than I could

            "So all our lives depend on the competence of whatever BBC techies remain, and the durability of whatever equipment the BBC Board of Governors has seen fit to purchase with whatever miserable pittance was left over after paying all their "remuneration packages"."

            A few years ago I recall panic at the BBC because it was realised that the high power (I think it was 2.5kW) valves used for the long wave transmitters were made from Unobtanium and when the stores were used up they were gone. We are, or were, one brown-coated clipboard carrying warehouseman from nuclear Armageddon.

  16. Lord Snooty

    So this is where Boris' '£350m a week' is going then...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    err ...

    Doc Ock / M7S :

    "I'm not legally allowed to discuss the reasons behind my departure."

    "We cannot know what new dangers we might face in the 2030s, 2040s and 2050s "

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ... replacement by the late 2020s. ... just under 15 years to build the four new submarines ...

    So, the military do have time machines...

  19. philthane

    "... cannot know what new dangers we might face in the 2030s, 2040s and 2050s."

    But can anyone really think of any situation that would be improved by the UK firing off a few missiles? Given that, how can anyone believe they have deterrent effect? Even the maddest meglomaniac will realise that the UK won't use them and be grateful that we spent so much money on them we can't wage a conventional battlefield war.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Oh no, no, no....remember our wonderful new PM has said she's more than happy to press the button and end the world.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Kim Jong Un would rather not die

      That's what they're for.

      They're to make sure that nuclear-armed states don't use their nukes.

      I do not doubt that North Korea would lob their nukes into South Korea if they thought they'd get away with it.

      There are other states that are less batshit crazy, yet they are also kept at least partly in check by the existence of the nuclear deterrent.

      As time goes by and countries become more economically linked the need will reduce, but any country that withdraws or is excluded from world trade groups is a clear danger.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Kim Jong Un would rather not die

        Yup. It's crazy in itself, straining the limits of ethics and morals - but nuclear deterrent actually works. Maybe because it's mainly directed at, well, crazy people. Because guys like Stalin, the Kims, etc don't want do die. They want to live forever. And if you can assure them that you will get them personally, they won't push you over the edge.

        In a sick way, nukes are somehow democratic weapons - there is no " safe behind lines" anymore.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Kim Jong Un would rather not die

          Oh yeah - those "bad guys" again. There does seem to be a copious supply of hot and cold running villains these days, doesn't there? (But never in the ranks of our own supernaturally virtuous governments). All of them - in their turn - amazingly like Hitler. Or maybe that's easier to believe than to try to understand human nature.

          "If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being".

          - Alexandr Solzhenitsyn (“The Gulag Archipelago”)

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Kim Jong Un would rather not die

            Well our Government is also run by nutters, including several apparent xenophobes.

            So it's a good job that Putin has his nukes as well, as they keep our crazies in check.

            That's the "mutual" part.

            Balancing is easy if everyone holds everyone else up there. It gets risky if somebody starts shoving - or lets go...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “Comparable in size to the Vanguard class submarines, the next generation of nuclear deterrent submarine is widely considered to be one of the world's most complex engineering challenges,” preened a BAE press release.

    And we have all seen how competently they handle this type of thing. I by no means underestimate the sheer bloody difficulty of this kind of work, but I have little faith that any of the target delivery dates will be met - within 5 or more years. After all our very expensive Type 45s are hardly fault free (do they ever go to sea?) and costs unmanageable. Now this is probably a combination of significant engineering problems and changing requirements, but still.......

  21. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Joke

    Successor class

    So called because it Sucks?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the Brexit money isn't going into the health system, but into new nuclear submarines. There won't be a refferendum. The 51% of Brits just have to accept that they've been conned ( or "kepft safe").

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      You do know that the "Brexit money" doesn't exist and never did?

      We'll save Nigel Farage's salary, but that's pretty much it.

  23. Jason Hindle

    Why does something we've done before have to be so challenging?

    The post is required, and must contain letters.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Why does something we've done before have to be so challenging?

      Since we did it last time, we have systematically dismantled nearly all the facilities capable of doing this, and sacked all the workforce with the experience necessary.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Why does something we've done before have to be so challenging?

        Nope. The workforce spent the intervening period building the last of the T class boats, and then the Astute class ones. Obviously they're smaller, but it's the same tech, and they share the same reactors, and so I'd guess machinery and controls/sonars/computers/aircon etc.

  24. Dan Wilkie

    Um, I hate to say it. It's not a nuclear bomb submarine...

    Planes drop bombs, submarines launch missiles.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      How do you know it's not a flying submarine?

      I seem to recall the US call them boomers, but the RN call them bombers.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Outsource!

    So how is it we can't build civilian nuclear plant but we can build military reactors? If Chinese kit is good enough for the rest of us and the PM is happy with the security implications, why can't we get these new subs from South East Asia? Bet they'd come in on time and half the price.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Outsource!

      There is an exisiting Rolls Royce reactor design for submarines - which has been in constant development since the 1950s. The Polaris boats used the same one that had been used in HMS Valiant. I've no idea whether the modern ones are an evolution or totally different, although the new ones no longer require refueling. However we've just build a bunch of Astute class subs, so I assume they'll bung the same reactor in as used in those.

      The problem is this is only a small reactor - and so we would need a totally brand new design for large-scale power generation. I believe as the French are building a new design in Finland, with a second of the class in France, it was decided to take some risk out of the equation by going for that, instead of a brand new design. Which obviously Rolls Royce wouldn't do unless the government subsidised them to do the design, as they've not got any commercial reason to do it otherwise. That may have been the best option, or not. Or they may not have been interested.

  26. BongoJoe
    Mushroom

    PPI for the future

    Since we've hived off current electricity production to the French, the transit systems to the French (again) and to the Germans, the water to about everyone with a cheque book, the future power production to the Chinese; why not go for the full sweep and see if we can get the Russians to build Trident for us?

    icon (just because) ---->

  27. x 7

    think about it

    Trump vs Putin.

    Which of the two mad twats is the more trigger happy? Which is more likely to push the first strike button?

    1. james 68

      Is there really a difference? Seems like Trump is in Putin's pocket so he'll only launch when Putin gives the OK. (That'd be the back pocket BTW, easier access to jam his nose up the oligarchs ass).

      Ohh those lovely, lovely downvotes..... I just know they're a comin.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh my god!!!

      think about it

      Trump vs Putin.

      Which of the two mad twats is the more trigger happy? Which is more likely to push the first strike button?

      Conjures up a mental image of two 5 year old kids poised with anticipation whilst playing the card game "snap"

    3. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      putin vs trump

      C'mon, you can't contrast those two, other than no-one really knows how much money either of them have :)

      Trump will talk a lot about how much he'd win the fight, because of his winning mentality. Putin wins a fight, then a few months later goes on TV and announces that there may have a been a small altercation.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Oh No!!!!!!

    to quote from this article

    "This leaves just under 15 years to build the four new submarines, packed with the very latest in stealth and nuclear propulsion technology (and yes, including a modded version of Windows for Warships*), commission them, and get them into frontline service."

    Microsoft running a nuclear arsenal!

    It takes the acronym B.S.O.D to a whole new scary level doesn't it!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ada?

    It's not clear from the article, if SMCS-NG is written in Ada also.

    Windows [OS] runs Ada [language]

  30. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    Offshore technology and capital

    At least the contract did not get awarded to a consortium of French and Chinese companies backed by their respective governments

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " I pay tribute to all those"

    How about a bonus instead?

  32. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    No British Steel for the pressure hulls

    However, the flagship project of the Government’s defence policy has been rocked after it was revealed that French group Industeel will supply steel for the new submarines' "pressure hulls", the outer part of the 15,900 tonne vessels, which will each carry 16 nuclear missiles.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/05/french-contract-for-britains-new-fleet-of-nuclear-submarines-bet/

  33. ianp5

    Defence of the Realm

    I support keeping a nuclear capability but I wish we would beef up our conventional forces first so there is less chance of needing to use nuclear. If anyone actually pushes the button in Europe it's going to be game over for 99% of the population.

    It takes just as long to build a strong conventional capability. As someone else said it's more than just weapons but I "hope" we have a sufficiently strong agricultural industry to support the population, after all we are probably eating several times the amount we need, so the fact we import a lot doesn't mean everyone would starve without the imports..

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