A failed test of the Trident nuclear deterrent was kept in secret by UK government, weeks prior to a crucial House of Commons vote on the future of the submarine-launched missile system.
There was serious malfunction in the Trident II D5 missile that caused failure after being launched from a British submarine off the coast of Florida in June, The Sunday Times reported, citing a senior naval official as saying.
Prime Minister Theresa May refused to say whether she knew about the reported malfunction of an unarmed missile when she urged MPs to support updating the Trident nuclear system.
The cause of the failure is top secret but the source suggested the missile may have veered off in the wrong direction towards the United States.
The government and the military were under panic as the first test of nuclear deterrent in four years ended with disastrous failure, the Times quoted a source as saying.
Finally Downing Street decided to conceal the failed test. If the information was revealed to public, they knew how damaging it would be to the credibility of nuclear deterrent, the source added.
The malfunction occured just weeks before the House of Commons was asked on July 18 to approve the replacement of the ageing submarines that carry Britain’s nuclear arsenal.
May took office shortly before the vote and appealed to lawmakers to approve the 41 billion (47 billion euro, $50.7 billion) project.
In a BBC interview on Sunday, she sidestepped questions about whether she knew about the malfunction when she made her statement to MPs.
“What we were talking about is whether or not we should renew Trident,” she said.
“I have absolute faith in our Trident missiles,” she continued, adding that tests take place “regularly”.
"It was a pretty catastrophic error for a missile to go in the wrong direction."Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a opponent of nuclear weapons, said.
The Royal Navy conducted a routine test launch of an unarmed missile last June from HMS Vengeance, one of Britain’s four nuclear-armed submarines, A government spokesman confirmed.
It was “part of an operation which is designed to certify the submarine and its crew”, he said.
“Vengeance and her crew were successfully tested and certified, allowing Vengeance to return into service. We have absolute confidence in our independent nuclear deterrent,” he said.
Britain is one of only three nuclear-armed NATO nations, along with the United States and France.
Lockheed Martin has selected a new generation of the Thales Searchwater radar and Cerberus mission system to be fitted to existing Merlin Mk2s helicopters for delivering Royal Navy with an airborne surveillance and control capability (ASaC). Lockheed Martin acts as the Ministry of Defences prime contractor for the Merlin helicopter
The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has negotiated a £410 million contract that will provide in-service support for the UKs Atlas A400M aircraft. The A400M is the latest addition to the RAFs tactical airlifter capability and can carry up to 37 tonnes of payload over a range of 2,000 nautical miles
The UK Ministry of Defense has grounded six Boeing E-3D Sentry Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) aircraft after it discovered electrical problems during a routine technical inspection. The aircraft were found to have an unspecified issue with some electrical wiring and cabin conditioning systems during a recent routine technical inspection
Rheinmetall and Airbus Defence & Space have supplied the Cargo Hold Trainer Enhanced (CHT-E) for the A400M transport plane to the Royal Air Force on October 20 at a formal handover ceremony. This training system is located in the National Training Centre at the Royal Air Force station in Brize Norton, the company announced today
Lockheed Martin Space Systems is being awarded $522,324,985 modification to exercise options for Trident II (D5) submarine-launched ballistic missile production and deployed system support. Work is expected to be completed Sept
Lockheed Martin Space Systems is being awarded $418,653,874 modification to a previously awarded un-priced letter contract for new procurement of Trident II (D5) missile production, D5 life extension production, and D5 deployed systems support. The maximum dollar value of the modification, including the base items and all option items if exercised, is $1,122,936,777
Lockheed Martin is being awarded $51 million modification to a previously awarded contract for Trident II (D5) submarine-launched fleet ballistic missile (FBM) production and deployed system support. The work is expected to be completed by Sept
Lockheed Martin won a contract worth almost $80 million to provide technical services for the Trident II submarine-launched strategic nuclear missiles navigation system. "Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, Mitchel Field, New York, is being awarded a $79,884,066… contract to provide technical and program management support services associated with the Trident II (D5) Shipboard Systems Integration (SSI)," the Defense Department said in a press release on Wednesday
ATK Launch Systems has received a $48.2 million Missile Defense Agency contract to provide technical support for rocket motors including for the Trident I (C4) and the Orion spacecraft
All seven attack submarines of the Royal Navy are currently non-operational. None of the submarines are available as they are either undergoing maintenance or repairs,
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