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Speculation Alternative nuclear system for UK.

zen

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Assuming for a moment that the increased limit on nuclear devices does not mean an increase in SSBN or SLBM numbers and implies an alternative system is to fielded.....

Then what would be the logical options?

My own theory is a possible nuclear armed torpedo. Presumably aimed at tackling Kanyon large long range torpedos.
This might be an evolution of Spearfish.

Alternatives would be some form of cruise missile, Supersonic or Hypersonic delivery system.

I think it unlikely to be free fall bombs or depth charges.

However a more radical option might be different devices of either lower yield or higher yield than the SLBM type.
Lighter/smaller might aim at a more distributed effect. A potential anti-biological area system for example.

While heavier/larger might aim at more heavily armoured infrastructure.

Another option is leaveraging out of Orion, a shaped nuclear charge. Potentially able to punch through thicknesses impossible to penetrate with conventional solutions.
 

A Tentative Fleet Plan

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In the early SACEUR wanted Britain to replace it's Vulcan B2 and WE.177B combination with GLCMs with a domestically produced warhead.

SSNs armed with Cruise Missiles were one of the alternatives considered as part of the Duff Mason report, but we're ultimately rejected due to the poor survivability of cruise missiles compared to SLBMs.

Of course an SLBM like Trident is in itself, a Hypersonic weapon, although the fact that the third stage protrudes through the warhead bus precludes of larger reentry systems like Hypersonic Glide Vehicles. Perhaps a return to something like the originally preferred two-stage clear-deck Trident D5 design?
 

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Just for the fun of it: my beloved Black Archer, a keroxide two-stage missile. Because of the propellants ultra-high density that thing would be even smaller than a Black Arrow and could fit in some very unexpected platforms - trucks, rail carriage and their tunnels, plenty others...
 

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Perhaps SABRE might have a scaled use here.....?
RATTLERS seems dead, but a SABRE based missile is a potential option.

I doubt the subsonic cruise missile option makes sense unless we're talking about a far larger scale that can swamp defences. Many hundreds. Unless the nuclear armed Cruise Missiles are hidden amongst a very large swarm of conventional and EW cruise missiles......I just don't see us forking out for that.

However a TBM Perhaps mobile like ATACMS or PrSM would add a theatre capability. Freeing SSBNs from that mission.

While a nuclear torpedo could smash even hardened SSBN pens such as China have built......
 

uk 75

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I suspect the reason has more to do with relations with the new Biden administration and possible arms control negotiations in the future.
Given the problems at Aldermaston there wont be any increase in numbers for quite a while.
In theory the UK could use a WE177 style warhead for its Tomahawk and Storm Shadow weapons if NATO decided to counter Putin's theatre nuclear build up.
 

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Certainly Tomahawk might take such, a nuclear cleared version exists and production could be restarted. Cheaper than clearing it for s system ot intended for nuclear warheads.
Storm Shadow is not cleared for such in any form, and I think French focus is on ASMP and it's successor. There might be a synergy.....

UK75 if you could try to keep the politics and your negativity out of this it would be appreciated. This is the Theory and Speculation section. Not Politics.
 

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Storm Shadow is not cleared for such in any form, and I think French focus is on ASMP and it's successor.

The French have done at least some work in the recent past on a potential nuclear variant of the naval version of Storm Shadow, I believe.
 

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Problem with any SABRE weapon: it depends heavily on LH2 not much as fuel but as coolant. And LH2 density of 0.2 and -269°C liquid shape would make it an enormous PITA for military missiles (it is already a tedious PITA for the space program, but nothing beats its specific impulse to orbit there - so bite the bullet and shut up...)
 

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If you really wants a fast turbine engine (mach 4 - mach 6) a MIPCC J85 would be a good start. Alternatively: a SERJ (Super Charged Ejector Ramjet).

@RanulfC ??
 

Dilandu

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Well, the first question - what would you want to get? More deterrence? More tactical flexibility? Some balance of both?

Logically, a small kiloton-scale nuclear device, suited for installation in place of conventional warheads on existing missiles, would probably be a perfect solution. It would allow to significantly improve UK military warfighting capabilities, without the need to massively increase army or navy.
 

uk 75

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If you had avoided the snide remark above I would have left this thread to be another Brit wank.
But you didnt, so here goes with the negative stuff:
a nuclear tipped Spearfish?
The UK has so much great success in this sort of weapon. Good luck with that one.
a Cruise Missile?
So not a Tomahawk at all then.
Supersonic or Hypersonic delivery system?
BAe would be salivating at the prospect of millions of Pounds vanishing down this sinkhole.
a lower or higher yield nuclear device?
A new Chevaline for the 2020s. This should be worth watching.
A potent anti-biological area system?
Er are we going to nuke our way out of Covid.
A shaped nuclear charge?
Even more scope for AWRE and MOD to screw up.

Now you can moan about my negativity.
So long and thanks for the Falklands fish.
(Steve Bell's If would be a good antidote to some of the nonsense posted here)
 
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Zoo Tycoon

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Future Delivery System - Reliable, ultra low cost, very stealthy, immune from the latest ABM tech and in line with out sourcing policy.
 

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zen

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If you think that was snide.....you should get out more. ;)
 

zen

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Future Delivery System - Reliable, ultra low cost, very stealthy, immune from the latest ABM tech and in line with out sourcing policy.

I would not use the word reliable in any conversation about DHL......
"Sergey this man has package for us"
"Dmitry don't sign for it!!!!!!!"
"Say address is wrong and it's Moscow Kamtchatka"
:D
 

uk 75

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Given the current competence level of the UK Government (sorry Zen more politics) this could be dusted off.
Handy if we start having border problems or for defending our platoon in the Baltic States
 

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Simplest answer is a single RV mounted on a rocket aiming for tactical ranges.
It does strike me Trident for limited tactical use is both overkill and easily confused with a strategic first strike.
 

Dilandu

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It does strike me Trident for limited tactical use is both overkill and easily confused with a strategic first strike.

Yep. Not to mention, it's costly to launch a rather big, complex missile, if you need, say, to nuke the annoying enemy artillery positions.
 

A Tentative Fleet Plan

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I was under the impression that "Sub-strategic" Trident was intended to be used as a means of delivering a French-style "ultimate warning", not as an alternative to, for example, a WE.177 as means of destroying tactical targets in a nuclear war fighting role.
 

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There has been attempts by some in the current government and associated ministries to try to also shoehorn it into a pseudo-tactical role as a low cost alternative to developing and deploying new tactical nukes. :rolleyes:
 

uk 75

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The problem for NATO is that Russia has re-established an escalatory ladder of nuclear weapons of considerable effectiveness. It also seems willing to go as far as it can up the ladder.
The US retains some B61 freefall nuclear bombs in Europe. That is the only NATO rung before going to US or UK Trident subs.
The "tactical" Trident option goes back to the days of Saddam Hussein when it was thought it might be necessary to respond to Iraqi use of WMD.
The trap for NATO is that deploying any kind of new nuclear weapons in Europe will be exploited by Putin and the continuing strong anti-nuclear lobby especially in Germany.
Non-military options for the West range from collapsing the international payment system within Russia and other financial measures to full scale cyber warfare against the regime.
 

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There has been attempts by some in the current government and associated ministries to try to also shoehorn it into a pseudo-tactical role as a low cost alternative to developing and deploying new tactical nukes. :rolleyes:
Low cost.......firing a Trident with a single RV for a target that might be less than 1,000nm away......
 

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As for System supplier....there is MBDA, they are producing ASMPA. So it's not impossible.

BAE Systems doesn't have to be involved.
 

uk 75

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The substitution of land based missiles in Europe (Redstone, Jupiter and Thor) by Polaris started in the early 60s.
The sole remaining weapon on European soil was the original Pershing 1 used by US and W Germany.
The Sovs worried the Germans and other non nuclear Europeans by deploying SS20s (even though existing Scuds and Scaleboards in E Germany could already nuke W Germany) . So we got cruise and Pershing in Europe (aimed at more or less the same targets as US Polaris assigned to SACEUR).
Using a single small warhead Trident instead of a Pershing/Cruise successor to zap the Iskander pens in Kaliningrad avoids having the hassle of land based weapons in Germany or Poland.
 

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Assuming that is where such a limited system would be deployed?

When part and parcel of this expansion seems connected to other powers and other regions.....
 

uk 75

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Assuming that is where such a limited system would be deployed?

When part and parcel of this expansion seems connected to other powers and other regions.....
You are not seriously suggesting that any nation in Asia would agree to British land based nuclear weapons on their territory.
The US is more than adequately equipped with nuclear weapons.
In the worst case a Royal Navy Trident submarine could take on targets in China. Not quite sure how even our bungling politicians would get us into that one.
 

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A single or limited number of tactical systems used are clearly not a strategic first strike, unless part of a package including such strategic systems.
Frankly, depending on the range, flight profile and political circumstances. Other nuclear armed states are less likely to trigger WWIII if there is a local use that doesn't even reach detection by the large OTHR systems such states employ.
 
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RanulfC

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If you really wants a fast turbine engine (mach 4 - mach 6) a MIPCC J85 would be a good start. Alternatively: a SERJ (Super Charged Ejector Ramjet).

@RanulfC ??

MIPCC pretty much lets you double the 'standard' Mach number of the base engines compressor face, (so about Mach 4 for the J85 or the F100 for example) which are speeds you'd want to change over to a ramjet anyway. (And contrary to popular belief sub-sonic compression ramjets work quite well up to speeds around Mach 8-ish, and if you use MIPCC that can likely go up to Mach-10... the 'airframe' on the other hand... :) )

The "near-flight-weight" H2O2 based SERJ was rated to around Mach 4, (as it was aimed at military application anyway) while the LH2 version was going to be hitting speeds in excess of Mach 6, (depended on your source :) ) as a 'cruise' speed. Again your airframe was the major limitation and it's not exactly cost-effective in an 'expendable' mode as a whole but given the 'mission' requirements maybe not so bad.

Randy
 
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