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Nuclear Weapons: USA

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN 24309, tabled on 3 March 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his Statement of 25 February 2020, Nuclear Update HCWS125, what steps he plans to take to ensure that close work with the US on new warhead development is compatible with UK obligations under article 1 of the 1970 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty not to transfer nuclear warheads or other nuclear explosive devices to any recipient whatsoever, directly or indirectly; and what recent estimate he has made of the (a) cost and (b) completion date of the proposed Trident warhead replacement programme.

Answered on

11 March 2020

As the Secretary of State for Defence stated in his Statement of 25 February 2020, Nuclear Deterrent (HCWS125) the Defence Nuclear Organisation and Atomic Weapons Establishment will deliver the UK's replacement warhead and we will continue to work closely with the US to ensure it remains compatible with the Trident strategic weapon system. This is consistent with our approach to our current warhead and we will continue to be fully compliant with our obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

As we have previously stated, the replacement warhead is not required until at least the late 2030s, and the programme to deliver it will be subject to the Government's major programme approvals and oversight. We are withholding specific information about cost and in-service dates for the purposes of safeguarding national security.