Daily Telegraph – 8 July 2014
Even the Liberal Democrats, who endlessly promoted nuclear cruise missiles on Astute-class submarines as an alternative to Trident – a strategy mooted by Mark Campbell-Roddis (Letters, July 3) – have been forced to abandon this notion.
Such a system would be more expensive (because of the costs of designing new warheads and missiles) and less effective (because of the greater vulnerability of cruise). It would put the submarines at risk because the shorter range of cruise missiles would require the boats to patrol much closer inshore, and could even start World War Three by accident, should a conventionally-armed cruise missile launch be mistaken for a nuclear attack.
Meanwhile Yugo Kovach (Letters, July 4) is torn between denouncing Trident as a "financial albatross" and praising the French for manufacturing their own missile system. Yet this could only increase our costs if we followed suit. The purpose of our strategic minimum deterrent is to show any future enemy that our retaliatory capability in the event of an attack would not only be unbearable, but inescapable. The fact that Trident missiles are manufactured and tested in close co-operation with our American ally in no way limits our ability to respond independently, if our survival is at stake.
Dr JULIAN LEWIS MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA