If this is true, ministers have given inaccurate answers to Parliament. British generals may be claiming that safety tests are necessary on the existing stockpile, but the Government denies this, as the following quote in Hansard makes clear: 'Any future testing relates to the safety of future weapons systems' (Viscount Cranborne, October 1992).
With regard to Trident, Archie Hamilton, then Minister for the Armed Forces, put the matter beyond reasonable doubt last October: 'There are no implications for the Trident warhead system, the tests for which have been completed.' With regard to the free-fall bomb, the Government has talked about developing a replacement tactical warhead, while claiming that the existing system will remain serviceable well into the next century.
If the tests which the UK want are not related to future systems, then what inadequacies of our existing weapons have been hidden? If they are related to future systems, what new weapons are we developing, how much are they costing, and what are they for?
Dr Sean Howard
British American Security Information Council, Washington DCReuse content