'We have 24/7, 365, nuclear deterrent!' Tobias Ellwood hits back at doom-mongers questioning missile misfire

'We have 24/7, 365, nuclear deterrent!' Tobias Ellwood hits back at doom-mongers questioning missile misfire
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 21/02/2024

- 14:53

The failure of a Trident launch from the submarine HMS Vanguard last month was caused by test equipment strapped to the missile, according to Tobias Ellwood MP.

The former chair of the Commons Defence Select Committee told GB News: “It's important that we do this testing in case we have a need to use them in anger. It’s worth pointing out that our nuclear deterrent is the backbone of our defence posture and its ability to prevent coercion or deter aggression, and also helping protect our NATO allies is all the more important given where our world is going…

“I've done some investigations here. I understand it was some equipment that was actually attached to the missile itself that prevented the firing of the rocket system after the missile had left the submarine.”

In a discussion with Andrew Pierce and Bev Turner, he continued: “As a drill, what the sailors went through, the actual protocols and so forth which were followed to gear up to the firing, all went according to plan but the actual rocket didn't fire because of the testing equipment.

“Now of course were this to be fired in anger you wouldn't have that testing equipment strapped on to the missile itself and therefore, yes, of course, this is embarrassing. We don't like to see this happen.”

He added: “I'm not so concerned that we are without our nuclear deterrent or in any way. I don't think it's going to be helpful to put some blame - clearly there is fault with the equipment that was designed to monitor the testing that took place.

“But the bigger news is that a submarine HMS Vanguard, which has been out of the water for many, many years because of upgrades and so forth is now back in the water.

“This was part of about 190 tests that that submarine had to go through to get the green light, the tick in the box to be able to go to sea for operations.

“It's good to see it back as part of our four boats programme, allowing us to make sure we have that 24/7, 365, nuclear deterrent.”


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