HC Deb 30 July 1984 vol 65 c49W
Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for Defence, in view of the Royal Navy's ability to refit and improve extensively its Polaris submarines, why he feels it necessary to proceed with the Trident programme.

Mr. Lee

Periodic refits of Polaris submarines throughout their operational lives are relatively short term measures to enable them to continue to perform as a viable unit of our strategic nuclear deterrent force against an ever-increasing Soviet threat. This procedure cannot, however, be used to extend the life of the Polaris fleet indefinitely. As open government document 80/23 made clear, there will be declining effectiveness and mounting costs and risks with the Polaris submarines as they reach the end of their useful lives in the mid 1990s. Similar considerations apply to the Polaris weapon system in the face of improvements in Soviet anti-ballistic missile defences.

The deployment of the Trident force in the mid-1990s with the improved capability of both the weapon system and the submarine as compared to that of the Polaris force will enable the United Kingdom to keep ahead of improving Soviet capabilities well into the next century.

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