The RN, Polaris, Chevaline and Poseidon

PMN1

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
4 June 2006
Messages
1,208
Reaction score
1,151
Anyone have any estimates on what moving to Poseidon would have cost compared to developing Chevaline and continuing to support Polaris by ourselves?
 
My memory is not hot on this any more but weren't the Polaris and Poseidon missiles of considerably different size? - in particular the diameter changed from 54in to 83in - or something along those lines.

This would have meant building 4 new submarines.

Even given the money spent all over the place on Chevaline it wouldn't come to the cost of even 1 new sub.
 
fredgell said:
My memory is not hot on this any more but weren't the Polaris and Poseidon missiles of considerably different size? - in particular the diameter changed from 54in to 83in - or something along those lines.

This would have meant building 4 new submarines.

Even given the money spent all over the place on Chevaline it wouldn't come to the cost of even 1 new sub.

Didn't seem to stop the USN backfitting it to existing SSBN's - they apparently just removed the liners in the tubes.

http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/m-73.html

The was made possible by a redesign of the shock-attenuation systems in the launch tubes, allowing the removal of the liner in the tube.
 
No - you must be right there. The trees in Sherwood Forrest were all supplied as part of the package from US - so presumably the same refits must have been possible and quite cheap. My mistake.
 
(memory, so...Your source is the HMSO History of Polaris Project, which is mainly on management/organisation).
USN moved up to Poseidon for range. In 1969 Wilson (you know, the "traitor") chose enhanced penetration, as the only target for RN's 1 SSBN on station at any one time was Moscow, behind its coming ABM belt, and accessible from our Polaris Arctic launch locations. Chevaline was a cheap penaid (but it ended up >£1Bn! and a decade! Go to Kemble and stare at it. Looming marvellous).
 
During the 1960s, one of the Polaris options examined by the United Kingdom was for a "mini Poseidon" which would have replaced the Polaris A3's three W58 Mark 2 RVs with six smaller W78 Mark 3 MIRVs used in the Poseidon SLBM. Ultimately, the "mini Poseidon" option was rejected in favor of the Chevaline penetration aids and decoys upgrade for the Royal Navy's Polaris SLBMs.

REFERENCES:

Jones, M. (2017). The Official History of the UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent: Volume II: The Labour Government and the Polaris Programme, 1964-1970. Taylor & Francis.

Stoddart, K. (2012). Losing an Empire and Finding a Role: Britain, the USA, NATO and Nuclear Weapons, 1964-70. Springer.
 
Back
Top Bottom