20 August 2010
The question raised by this article for me "Is it actually independent?" if we require US permission to launch then the answer is no.
I keep getting conflicting information on this point and would like to have a definitive answer!
As for a deterrent, I see it as an insurance policy against nuclear attack or nuclear blackmail. Yes it can be seen as a status symbol but I would rather have the guarantee of security that I believe it provides. We cannot be sure what threats we may face in the decades to come. As a permanent UN SC member we are in a different position to other countries.
I am not too bothered about maintenance being in the US however it has to be operationally independent or it is seriously compromised. That includes the ability to launch and hit a target.
Graham - High Wycombe
20 August 2010
Yes Graham, the UK does not have to gain permission from washington before a launch. That was one of the agreements in the original deal, which I believe goes back to the Polaris missiles.
If the PM wanted to, he could very easily remove an entire country from the globe & not require any agreement or complicity from the US...
Laskovar - UK
21 August 2010
Certainly resources need to be focused on conventional military forces rather than nuclear weapons. The Defence Review is paving the way for big cuts in our military capability. If stories in the news are correct we will be losing surface fleet capability, facing big cuts in homeland air defences, and see a cut in the number of services personnel. It is far more important to retain these capabilities than nuclear weapons, because, unlike Trident, they play a day-to-day role in defence of the country against a wide range of threats.
Sean - London
23 August 2010
Well in thge realm of "raw hypocrisy" Mackie certainly seems highly qualified to comment! A mere ten years after realising he hated the organisation that paid his wages and after being so disillusioned that he rose to the rank of Air Commodore he storms out.
Mr Mackie is being deliberately disingenuous in his assertions.The fact that Aldermaston is part owned by an American company is irrelevant, BAE Systems owns vast swathes of the American defence industry...would he suggest that the US does not have an independent capability?
So what if the missile body is serviced by Lockheed in Georgia we rotate them one for one in a mixed pool an have possession of missiles at all times.
Most misleading is his statement regarding the satellites , and he must be aware of the truth of this. In order for Trident to be the hyper-accurate ICBM silo killer that it was designed to be (remember the fuss about it being a 'first strike' weapon), it does require satellite correction in orbit. However, it can also take a stellar navigation by aligning with constellations in orbit - less accurate but good enough. Remember this is a BALLISTIC missile. Also, if the world has got itself to the point where the UK is actually about to launch a nuclear strike things have gone badly wrong. Mr Mackie is seriously suggesting that against this background and in order to foil perfidious Albion, the US would blind its entire submarine based missile force, not a chance.
As for Rowan Williams, surely the prevention of another global conflict is a Cristian act? To quote a recent letter to the Times "you do not take out your guard-dog and shoot it just because you have not been burgled".
Richard - Edinburgh
27 August 2010
'Permission to launch' isn't merely a technical matter, but a political one.
If we were in a situation where the UK was to use Trident against the wishes of the US, you'd want to be able to have that option again in the months that followed.
As its not only positioning data, but atmospheric reports over the target, missile body maintenance and the creation of the targeting tapes that rely on the US, one can be sure the system would be hobbled within weeks/months by the withdrawal of this data.
Ben - London
15 September 2010
Well, what a strange man! I served in the RAF for 26 yrs and believed in my country and I also could see that the USSR was a real thret. Glad that the service paid for his kids private education. So sorry that a senior officer that I had faith in can be s..... oh forget it he's not wort it!
Mike Brundle - West Midlands
27 September 2010
I agree absolutely with Air Commodore Mackie and Field Marshal Lord Carver that we should get rid of Trident. But the Atom-Bomb has given us 65 years of peace - so we should retain it in other forms.
Tom Hawkins - West Berks./ex Fighter Command.
04 October 2010
I thought this pertinent, I was very unsure myself before I found it.
Andy Davis - UK
05 November 2010
Another mis-guided do-gooder, the world would be a wonderful place if it was WMD free, however it isn't and some of the people who have and others who are trying to obtain WMD (in particular Nuclear weapons) are not very nice and do not like us. The only thing that these countries understand is a big stick, we have a bloody big stick which does act as a detterent.
Rob Smith - Telford
19 November 2010
The independence of any American system cannot be guaranteed as the all important software is also American. Would anyone like to bet money that there is not a trapdoor in it that any UK scrutiny has failed to find. Certainly if I was the American DOD it would be there.
C.E.Taylor - Southam, Warwickshire
02 December 2010
CND and its leaders have always been interested in removing the ability of the western democracies to defend themselves from the likes of the USSR and nowadays any other bully thats out there.
If Hitler were around now they would be appeasing him every way they could.
At the end of the day they are cowards who believe that hiding away and pretending the world can't really have nasty people in it is the way to live. The irony being that their former leader, who was almost certainly an agent of the USSR, would have quite happily have grassed them all up and had them shot if the Soviets had succeeded.
Disarming Britain is all this tiny minority of people are about.
I wonder whilst he was still in the RAF if he felt it necessary to pass any information over to his friends in CND who would have then given it to the Soviets?
The membership of CND is very small they are able to command a lot of PR because they have friends in high places, like the odd Air Commodore in the RAF or editors of the BBC etc... and the PR makes the TV watching public think that it has far larger support. Bit like the animal rights loonies or the any of these other 'pressure' groups. There are people in CND who think they won the cold war!
Thats the mentality of these chimps. Mackies lies about the deterrent (the yanks do not have a dual key on it, on a very simplified level we would not have bought it if they did, it wasn't cheap and we build the warheads at the end of the day!!!!) do nothing apart from pander to CND's delusions and sadly help to recruit another generation of the aforementioned to their ranks.
Wonder what he'll say if (or god forbid when) Tel Aviv disappears!
Probably blame that on the Israelis for having a bomb in the first place!
I do believe he is still actually covered by the Offical Secrets Act, so I hope the authorities have a very good look at his career in the RAF and since. Maybe this load of self glorifying c***p he has written will shed some light on it? Like all of his kind he probably has a bit of a messiah complex and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he can't resist the chance to tell all his unfortunate readers how important he is... and was then too.
Alistair - London