Britain’s nuke subs lie idle as Navy runs out of sailors
BRITAIN’S nuclear missile system is in danger of becoming a £2BILLION-A-YEAR white elephant – because the Royal Navy has not got enough sailors to crew its submarines.
Trident subs carrying nuclear weapons may have to stay in port as a result of staff shortages, internal Submarines Service documents reveal.
That would mean Britain would be a SITTING DUCK in case of surprise attack by nuclear-armed enemy states such as Russia or China.
Our tied-up fleet would also be useless if Britain needed to give an uppity rogue state such as Iran a plutonium-based clip around the ear.
The Ministry of Defence’s official risk register says engineer numbers will also be down by 15 per cent within three years, causing even more problems for the British fleet.
One in seven weapons officer posts ranked at lieutenant will also be vacant in the coming years, meaning there may not be enough people to fire weapons.
The Royal Navy is desperately trying to bolster its numbers of ‘experienced’ mid-level staff on its six attack submarines and four large Vanguard boats that carry our Trident nuclear weapons.
The document states: “There is a risk that the Royal Navy will not have sufficient suitably qualified and experienced personnel to be able to support the manning requirement of the submarine fleet.
“Inability to recruit, retain and develop sufficient qualified personnel will result in an inability to support the Defence Nuclear Programme”.
There are currently 5,000 Navy submariners, but at the moment some vessels are going out for tours with only 85 per cent of its staff capacity filled.
Former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West called the situation “worrying” and said that the Navy must have procedures in place to cope with any staff shortages.
He said: “There’s no doubt that recruiting and keeping highly qualified nuclear engineers has been tough. Nuclear engineers have also become highly sought-after by the civil industry as this country has not trained enough.”