MoD spin on Trident missile launch failure branded 'Soviet'

Vanguard submarines
A fleet of four Vanguard submarines are the only means of launching Britain's nuclear deterrent
Charlie Peters

By Charlie Peters

Published: 21/02/2024

- 13:36

MoD said that HMS Vanguard and its crew had “proven fully capable”

The Ministry of Defence’s positive spin on a Trident missile launch failure has been branded as “very Soviet” by a former senior military officer.

Philip Ingram, a retired intelligence colonel, told GB News: “Without giving the context as to why the missile failed to ignite then it is very Soviet.”

Mr Ingram said it was akin to “maskirovka”, a term for Russian military deception during the reign of the USSR.

His comments come after the MoD said that HMS Vanguard and its crew had “proven fully capable” during their Demonstration and Shakedown Operation and the test had “reaffirmed the effectiveness of the UK's nuclear deterrent,” despite the embarrassing launch failure.

The MoD has released limited information about the launch, citing national security concerns, but Mr Ingram added: “The MoD needs to be proactive to regain confidence and stop being a laughing stock - it could give more detail without compromising nuclear secrets.”

The Sun reported that the gas tubes on HMS Vanguard propelled the Trident missile on, but the first of the missile’s three stages failed to fire, and so it simply “plopped” into the ocean just by the submarine.

The D5 missile - not equipped with a nuclear warhead, as is common on Demonstration and Shakedown Operation tests - was meant to land between Brazil and West Africa in the Atlantic Ocean.

The failed launch, which took place on Jan. 30 with Defence Secretary Grant Shapps and First Sea Lord Sir Ben Key on board, was the second failure in a row after HMS Vengeance suffered a telemetry incident in 2016.

On that occasion, the missile flew over the mainland United States and had to be detonated in air.

Concerns have been raised by military commentators that it took three news for the news of the failed launch to be released and regarding its cause.

Mr Ingram said: “But then the MoD doesn’t know how to do comms as their comms teams tend to be staff passed over for a career-enhancing role.”

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