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ScrapTrident


New warhead for UK Trident ?

A Freedom of Information dispute between Scottish CND and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revealed that a senior official indicated in June 2007
that the MoD were planning to acquire a nuclear warhead and missile system as part of their plan to replace Trident.

gould statement

 

A Freedom of Information dispute between Scottish CND and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revealed that a senior official indicated in June 2007 that the MoD were planning to acquire a nuclear warhead and missile system as part of their plan to replace Trident.

On 29 June 2007 the MoD held a "Future Deterrent Industry Day" at Abbey Wood in Bristol.  Over 200 industry representatives heard a series of presentations from senior officials. Scottish CND requested copies of these presentations and received substantially redacted documents on October 2007. We then asked for an internal review of the decision to redact the documents. This review continued until July 2007. In their response to the review the MoD upheld almost all of the redactions, however they did release a small, but significant change to one speech by David Gould, Chief Operating Officer at Defence Equipment and Support. Mr Gould was the senior official in the agency which oversees all major military procurement projects.

The redacted version of his speech included the following statement:

Gould statement complete

 

The full version said:

Gould statement complete

In their covering letter the Freedom of Information Department at the MoD said that the phrase used by Mr Gould was a mistake and was wrong.  But making a mistake was not considered an appropriate reason to redact the document and so the full version had been released.

However Mr Gould was in a senior position with oversight of the entire Trident replacement programme.  He was speaking at the event in place of Defence Minister Lord Drayson who had been unable to attend. It is likely that the statement did reflect his view, whether or not it was a formal statement of policy.

This disclosure was reported on the front page of the Guardian 25th July which pointed out that the White Paper in December 2006 had indicted that replacing the warhead would cost £3 billion and that the Government had told Parliament that no decision had been taken on whether to replace the warhead.

It is worth noting that Mr Gould also suggested that the missile would be replaced. A series of discussions between US and British officials over the new US missile system, the Underwater Launched Missile System (ULMS), also indicate that the overall British plan extends to replacing the missiles in due course.

 

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