Trident test failure has ‘no implications’ for nuclear deterrent: Shapps

Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

LONDON: The Government retains “absolute confidence” in the UK’s nuclear deterrent despite reports of a Trident missile test failure, the Defence Secretary has said.

Grant Shapps said the “anomaly” occurred during an exercise involving the ballistic missile submarine HMS Vanguard, but confirmed it had “no implications” for the UK’s ability to deploy nuclear weapons.

In a written statement to Parliament, Mr Shapps said: “On January 30 2024, HMS Vanguardand her crew conducted their most recent test operation.“The test reaffirmed the effectiveness of the UK’s nuclear deterrent, in which the Government has absolute confidence. The submarine and crew were successfully certified and will rejoin the operational cycle as planned.

“On this occasion, an anomaly did occur, but it was event specific and there are no implications for the reliability of the wider Trident missile systems and stockpiles. Nor are there any implications for our ability to fire our nuclear weapons, should the circumstances arise in which we need to do so.

“The Trident missile system remains the most reliable weapons system in the world, having successfully completed more than 190 tests.

“The Government has absolute confidence that the UK’s deterrent remains effective, dependable and formidable.” He also reiterated the UK’s commitment to its nuclear deterrent, saying the UK’s “resolve and capability” to deploy nuclear weapons if necessary “remains beyond doubt”. Mr Shapps was on-board the 150-metre vessel at the time of the incident, a spokesman for the Defence Secretary confirmed, which occurred at the end of a “demonstration and shakedown operation” following extensive maintenance work. The Ministry of Defence has declined to provide further details on national security grounds.