The Times inaccurately reports that Britain has been ‘secretly’ developing a more destructive nuclear warhead.
There is no Trident upgrade taking place in secret. The UK currently fields the Trident Mark 4 warhead as part of the Trident Strategic Weapons System. The Mark 4A Arming, Fuzing and Firing system is a non-nuclear component being introduced into the UK Trident warhead to replace a similar component which is becoming obsolete. This is not a new warhead and does not change the destructive power of the weapon.
Our position is below.
“The government is committed to maintaining minimum continuous at sea deterrence to deter the most extreme threats to the UK and to protect our vital interests; a decision on replacing the warhead will be taken when necessary.”
As stated in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, work continues to determine the optimum life of the UK's existing nuclear warhead stockpile and the range of replacement options. A replacement warhead is not required until at least the late 2030s, possibly later.
Given lead times, however, a decision on replacing the warhead may be required in this Parliament or early in the next. The Government will inform Parliament of its intended approach in due course.