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  • Nimrods, Boomers, Gurkhas and PR
    Posted by Bill Sweetman 10:24 AM on Aug 31, 2010

    Nobody outside the UK defense review process is sure, as yet, about the outcome of the dispute over the funding of Britain's nuclear deterrent, based on the Trident missile. The deterrent has always been funded outside the defense budget, but now the Treasury wants to hand the bill back to the MoD - which has a massive impact on other procurement programs. Industry organization ADS has appealed to the government for an early announcement.

    The Guardian, meanwhile, reports that the Ghurkas - the British Army's unique brigade of Nepalese troops - could be sacrificed if the MoD has to take over funding of Trident. This is most likely defense minister Liam Fox's version of the Washington Monument game: floating a small but unpopular cut in order to generate public pressure for more funding.

    Also related to the deterrent issue is the future of the RAF's Nimrod anti-submarine warfare force - currently grounded because of the early retirement of the Nimrod MR2 in March 2010 and delays to the new MRA4 - which has also been reported to be on the chopping block.

    To nobody's surprise, the leaks continue around this issue as well, once again in the Daily Telegraph. Last week, the Telegraph reported that a modified Russian Akula submarine had been detected stalking one of the RN's SSBNs as it left its base in Scotland and proceeded to its patrol area in the North Atlantic.

    What this has to do with the Nimrods is that one of their primary missions has always been to stop the Russian navy from doing exactly that, by shadowing the SSBN at a distance and searching the ocean around it. Read more on the estimable PPrune forum here.

    Tags: ar99, uk, defense-review, Trident

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