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Volume 449: debated on Monday 24 July 2006

16. To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how long it takes to target Trident missiles when at sea. (87200)

All the United Kingdom’s Trident missiles have been de-targeted since 1994. The missiles can be targeted in sufficient time to meet any foreseeable requirement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many civil servants listed are working on Trident and nuclear weapons policy, broken down by grade. (86696)

[holding answer 20 July 2006]: There are nine full-time civil servants in the Ministry of Defence working on Trident and nuclear weapons policy: 1 x Senior Civil Servant, 3 x Band B1s, 2 x Band B2s, 2 x Band Cs and 1 x Band E. They consult and engage others, as necessary.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason a discussion of a replacement for the Trident nuclear system was not included in the section on future capabilities of his Department's Annual Report and Accounts for 2005-06, HC 1394. (86924)

The Annual Report and Accounts 2005-06 is a retrospective document accounting for the Department's use of the resources Parliament authorised for Defence against the performance baseline in the Departmental Plan 2005-09 reflecting the outcome of the 2004 Spending Review.

As we said in paragraph 18 of the report, work has now started to prepare for decisions on the future of the UK's nuclear deterrent beyond the planned life of the current system. The section of the Annual Report and Accounts on future capabilities deals with major equipment projects which have passed the Main Gate investment approval point. It did not deal with any replacement of Trident, as no decisions on that have yet been taken in detail or principle, and hence there was and still is no project in that respect.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research work has been carried out to improve the (a) reliability, (b) performance, (c) longevity and (d) safety of the UK’s Trident nuclear warhead. (87169)

Since the introduction into service of the current Trident warhead in 1994, no research has been undertaken to improve its performance. Work continues, however, under the stockpile stewardship programme at AWE to underwrite the continued reliability, longevity, and safety of our Trident warheads.