Scotty
Topic Author
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Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 1:50 am

So you all thought that the Ark Royal was bound for the Gulf when she left Portsmouth on Saturday

Well she aint - 48 hours later she's arrived at an armaments depot in Scotland. In fact, she's gone to store up with not just any old armaments that she could have got anywhere at Devonport or Portsmouth. Oh no, she's gone to Glen Mallan near the Coulport depot, which is where Tony stores all his biggest and best nukes.

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/hi/news/5011828.html

seems like if the UN inspectors are looking for Weapons of mass destruction, then they know where to start.

S
 
AC320
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 2:15 am

Well should war occur, and Saddam uses chemical/biological weapons or other big baddies, the US, UK, and whomever else is involved should be prepared to "voice" their displeasure as quickly as possible.

Oh well, war kinda sucks
fuddle duddle
 
galaxy5
Posts: 1952
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 2:56 am

Good for them, better to be prepared for anything then to be caught with one pants down.
"damn, I didnt know prince could Ball like that" - Charlie Murphy
 
GDB
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RE: Britain's Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 3:16 am

I very seriously doubt if Ark Royal is picking up nukes.

Firstly, the ONLY nuclear weapons in the UK inventory for the past 7-8 years has been the warheads on the Trident missiles, they cannot be delivered any other way, you don't just strap a warhead designed to be carried by a submarine launched missile on to an aircraft.

In any case, the RN Sea Harriers had their nuclear capability removed at the end of the Cold War, and the RAF Harrier GR.7's never had the capability.
Before the WE-177 air dropped nuclear weapons were retired in the mid 90's, the RAF Tornado and Jaguar aircraft were the primary carrier aircraft.

Also, although Ark Royal was intended for a long planned exercise in the far east, it is clearly intended for the Gulf. This is because the usual airgroup of RN and RAF Harriers have not been embarked, or the Airborne Early Warning Sea King helicopters, which would be normal for the kind of general deployment on exercises.
Instead, Ark Royal is to be a Commando carrier, the UK's dedicated Commando Carrier, HMS Ocean, is also going to the Gulf, but Ark Royal will carry more Commandos, their equipment, and more Sea King HC.4 assault choppers, plus more of the commandos own Lynx's probably.

Also, Ark Royal has had a 5 year long refit, and it has the most modern and extensive command and and control system fitted to a UK warship, so it will be the H.Q. and flagship of the UK forces in the region.

There is a precedent for this, during the last Gulf War the French took the airgroup off one of their carriers, replacing them with Marines and assault choppers.
During the Afghanistan campaign, HMS Ocean was relieved by Ark Royal's sister ship, HMS Illustrious, again in the Commando Carrier role.

With overwhelming USN and USAF, plus RAF combat aircraft in the region, to ensure air superiority as well as weapons delivery, (the RAF's Harriers will be operating from land, at least at first), the best use of an asset like Ark Royal is in it's secondary Commando/assault helicopter role as well as a floating H.Q. If the Ark Royal was operating way out at sea, rather than in the Gulf, beyond land based air power, it would be a different matter.

Ark Royal carrying nukes? Sounds like CND propaganda, does their already minimal credibility no good at all.
Clearly the US has requested extensive Royal Marine participation from the UK.
 
eg777er
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 3:41 am

Tactical nukes for the commando's?  Big grin

Warheads for our shiny new Tomahawks?
 
GDB
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 3:46 am

The UK's Tomahawk missiles are conventional only, and are purely fired from the RN's Nuclear-POWERED submarines, one of which is part of this task force.
Would not be much use on a carrier would they?

 
eg777er
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 3:52 am

I'm really no expert here........but _how_ conventional. Is it a case of simply replacing warheads or do you have to use different systems/technology etc?
 
GDB
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 4:12 am

If an aircraft or missile and it's operators are not current on nuclear weapons, you don't just stick one on the delivery platform, even if you had them, which the UK does not.
There would be weight/balance issues, the storage and preparation of the warheads, modifications to the delivery system, to name a few. I doubt if Ark Royal, or any other UK warship apart from the Trident subs, have nuclear weapon storage facilities anymore.

In the case of the Ark Royal and her sister ships, this space is probably now used to support the expanded post Cold War armament of more Harriers and/or equipment for the Marines, the RN have squeezed as much as they can into these vessels, to make them more versatile post Cold War, (they were originally designed for operations against Soviet subs in the Cold War).

The WE-177 weapons, like all nukes, have a finite life.
As the WE-177s were at the end of this lifespan by the mid 90's, (they dated from the late 60's/early 70's), they were simply not replaced, but were dismantled.
So no more crews being trained to deliver them either, or ground crews to maintain, store and load them.

There was one other RN nuclear weapon during the Cold War, nuclear depth charges, again they were retired without replacement, in any case Saddam has no subs, and you would not drop one of them in the Gulf anyway!

Ark Royal stopped in Scotland to pick up munitions agreed, but Scotland is where a lot of Royal Marines happen to be based.

 
N79969
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 4:16 am

It's never smart to take a knife to a gunfight.
 
GDB
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 4:55 am

 
Scotty
Topic Author
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 5:43 am

GDB

I suspect you are correct and that the link I posted to the Evening Times (Glasgow's Evening newspaper) is a bit on the dramatic side. But bear in mind that the depot where the Ark is berthed is also where the Trident missiles are stored. I recall at the end of the Gulf War the MoD would not deny that Invincible had been running around the Gulf with tactical; nuclear warheads aboard.

None of the Scottish based Commando units (45 RM Condor) are activated for the Gulf yet - they are currently still in Afghanistan as far as I know.

Anyway, if anyone wants to see more pics of the Ark in Loch Long go to

http://www.scotships.co.uk

Scotty
 
eg777er
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 6:10 am

GDB, thanks for the informative answer, as always.

Personally, with parents and my 'home' in the Gulf, nukes floating around do not fill me with confidence........!
 
ryanb741
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 6:32 pm

Maybe Tony Blair is going to try and plant some WMD's in Iraq for the weapons inspectors to find......  Big grin
I used to think the brain is the most fascinating part of my body. But, hey, who is telling me that?
 
Guest

RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 6:41 pm

Does anyone think that Australia has nuclear weapons?

We certainly have the *right* and the capability to create them but I've always been led to believe that we do not have them.

One of my mates who works on contract for the Defence Forces *special areas* - has hinted that we may have a few up our sleeve?

Could this be true?

mb
 
Arsenal@LHR
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 9:34 pm

Well if third world countries like India, Pakistan and North Korea can build them, then ofcourse Australia can.
In Arsene we trust!!
 
G-KIRAN
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 10:45 pm

Does anyone think that Australia has nuclear weapons?
Seems rather reasonable,considering the fact that all the nuclear powers seem the be in the northern hemisphere and that Australia is a decent country. Techincally is quite easy to make a nuclear bomb.Any country with a nuclear power station should in theory be able to make weapons of mass destruction.However there are technical, financial and political hurdles to overcome.

The best option for Australia would be an SSBN. A SSBN cant be targeted by weapons such as the way bombs or tomahawks can target an ICBM site.It can only be taken out by another submarine and besides SSBNs on patrol if I am correct for the USN and RN have never been tracked and followed.

However the RAN does not operate nuclear vessals.SSBNs normally operate on patrols for around 3 months completly submerged in the deep from the moment the leave port to when the arrive back.In order to do this they need to be nuclear powered since diesal engines need an air supply and batteries dont last forever.The RAN can use an American powered reactor just like the British did for their first SSN HMS Dreadnought until the Trafalgar and Vanguard class.

I think a Vanguard class submarine costs around US$800 and Britains Trident D-5 missile suit which was purchesed from the US cost around a billion.That is a large amount considering that the Australian defence budget is around $5-10 billion.Also they have to develop their own warheads.Although the RN uses the US Trident D5, the warheads inside are British made.

With John Howard going on about how Australia should launch pre-empitive strikes in south east asia on terroists I dont think countries like Indonesia,Malaysia and Singapore would sit back and watch a nuclear power develop in their back yard.Heck,most of them were pissed off when Howard mentioned pre-empetive strikes.Also since Australia is trying to get closer links with ASEAN which if I am right has adpoted a no-nuclear policy,it would make things difficult.Also the Kiwis dont like nukes as well.They were kicked out of ANZUS for awhile after they banned US nuclear ships from entering NZ waters.And that includes all the US submarines,aircraft carriers and some surface ships since their all powered by nukes.


 
Arsenal@LHR
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Tue Jan 14, 2003 10:52 pm

Nukes are ultimately for self defence purposes, it guarantees a countries survival if the worst comes to the worst. Australia like other nations, has a right to make their own nukes and i wouldn't be suprised if AUS has one or two secret warheads.
In Arsene we trust!!
 
GDB
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Wed Jan 15, 2003 5:01 am

Tridents may be stored where Ark Royal is berthed, but it could not operate them in any way.
In 1991, the UK still had a substantial tactical nuke capability, not now though.
 
macyjet
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Thu Jan 16, 2003 7:39 am

Just a quick logical question, re: Australia's secret nukes. Isn't the current reason for having nukes as a deterent to other countries attacking you? They are practically useless if your enemies don't know you have them (I mean if you are like all civilised nations and don't plan on first strike) This is one of my suspisions anout Israel, they need to come out and decleare that they are a nuclear country and serve the deterence notice.

Long and short, I don't think the Aussies have nukes or are developing any.
 
GDB
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Why Ark Royal Really Went To Scotland

Sat Jan 18, 2003 4:21 am

HMS Ark Royal stopped off in Scotland as a few members of the RMT Union refused to handle trains carrying munitions from Scotland to the naval base at Portsmouth in the South of England.
This was a anti-war protest, nothing to do with nukes, though CND tried to link the two, (but you'll have heard a lot more from them if nukes were on those trains).

Now the dedicated Commando Carrier HMS Ocean has left Portsmouth;
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2664005.stm

More about HMS Ocean;
http://www.royal-navy.mod.uk/rn/index.php3?page=2000

And the units it and Ark Royal will be carrying, almost certainly to the Gulf to fight;
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2647243.stm

http://www.royal-navy.mod.uk/static/pages/1905.html
 
Scotty
Topic Author
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Sat Jan 18, 2003 7:24 am

Ark Royal left Scotland yesterday at 11am.

Now en route to the Bahamas for a three week R&R (not..)!!!

Scotty
 
eg777er
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Sat Jan 18, 2003 11:29 am

I was just a wee babe at the time, but my parents have fond memories (not...!) of very heavy munitions trains running past the back garden of the house across the road in 1982.

We're on the Reading-Guildford line, straight down to Southampton from the latter.
 
docpepz
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RE: Britains Sending Nukes To The Gulf

Sat Jan 18, 2003 1:43 pm

G-KIRAN

Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore had no problems with another nuclear power - India - developing in their backyard, so I don't think they would have any problems with Australia developing nuclear weapons.

No country in the short or medium term is ever going to THINK of invading Australia. Even then, I would think nuclear arms in the hands of Aussies is far better than nuclear arms in the hands of those governments in the subcontinent.

Also you may have noticed that only one South East Asian nation, Singapore, did not voice displeasure at Howard's "pre-emptive strike" comments. This is because Singapore's whole military doctrine is based upon the concept of "pre-emptive strikes". We will strike Malaysia or Indonesia before they strike us!

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