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Nuclear Weapons

Volume 982: debated on Wednesday 16 April 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what authority is required for the use of nuclear weapons by Royal Navy helicopters and Nimrod maritime patrol aircaft; and what measures have been undertaken to avoid their use by accident, mistake or disobedience.

The authority of the United Kingdom Government is required before United Kingdom nuclear weapons are used by Royal Navy helicopters, and of both the United Kingdom and United States Governments before United States nuclear weapons are used by Nimrod aircraft. Most stringent measures are taken to ensure that nuclear weapons can never be used without proper authorisation at the highest level, but I am not prepared to give details.