Lawmakers Demand Answers After UK Suffers Embarrassing Misfire

( – A test launch of the Trident II D5 missile from the UK’s submarine HMS Vanguard last month ended in embarrassing failure, raising questions about the reliability of the UK’s nuclear deterrent. The incident, attended by Defense Secretary Grant Shapps, saw the missile fall into the Atlantic Ocean after its first-stage boosters failed to ignite.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) downplayed the incident, attributing it to an “event-specific anomaly” and insisting that it wouldn’t affect the broader Trident system’s reliability. However, this explanation failed to satisfy critics who highlighted the second consecutive failure of a Trident test launch in eight years.

In 2016, a similar test went awry when the missile veered off course, heading towards the US before being destroyed. This latest failure, occurring after a £500 million refit of the Vanguard, adds to the growing concerns about the effectiveness of Britain’s nuclear deterrent program.

John Healey, Shadow Defense Secretary for the opposition Labour Party, demanded government assurances. He stated that reports of the Trident test failure were worrying. He emphasized the need for Defense Secretary Shapps to convince Parliament that the test had no impact on the effectiveness of the British deterrent.

NIS (Nuclear Information Service) Director David Cullen emphasized the significance of the latest failure, highlighting that it marks the second consecutive incident. He pointed out that these failures come despite recent life extension efforts for the Trident missiles, suggesting they should have improved reliability compared to 2016. Cullen also raised concerns about the fundamental purpose of the expensive nuclear program, stating that its primary objective is to operate flawlessly under the Prime Minister’s command. He argued that any doubts regarding its operational effectiveness undermine the program’s core mission.

Independent sources reported that the dummy missile, propelled initially by compressed gas, simply “plunged back into the ocean” after the first-stage boosters failed to ignite.

While emphasizing the Vanguard’s overall operational capability, the MoD’s response lacked transparency. The refusal to elaborate on the anomaly’s nature fuels speculation and fuels concerns about the safety and reliability of these weapons.

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