Here’s a compelling read by Peter Hennessy and Richard Knight on the UK’s last line of defence – the nuclear-armed HMS Vanguard.
The weapons engineering officer then takes the trigger that will fire the missiles from a small safe above his console. It’s the handle of a Colt 45 pistol…
And then the weapons engineering officer squeezes the trigger to the most devastating weapon ever devised. It clicks softly.
‘One away,’ he says — and with that the missile would be gone. It cannot be destroyed inflight. It will travel too far, too fast for there to be any hope of interception. Once you hear that click, as one senior submariner told us, ‘you’re no more than 30 minutes from the end of the world’.
The Human Button, a show about all this will air on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday, December 2 at 8pm with a repeat on Sunday, December 7 at 5pm. Note, times are London times.
Meanwhile, in other Trident news from across the Atlantic, the US military is still pushing to have a prompt-global-strike system using their Trident missiles, albeit with conventional warheads. However, they’ve had to do a bit of wrangling “after Congress blocked plans to use conventionally armed Trident submarine-launched missiles armed with conventional warheads.”