After David Cameron’s recent visit a Bella reader wrote to Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Defence seeking reassurance…(click on the big yellow graphic for sanity)
A couple of weeks ago the PM told us we were at threat of nuclear attack by North Korea. Living in Glasgow, what is the procedure if they do launch, where do I go? How do the MOD protect us, can they shoot the missile down? How will I know we are under attack? if they do launch, Trident isn’t much use is it? Can trident shoot down a missile? What are we supposed to do. the South Koreans have patriot missiles, do we? Are they any good?
What are you doing to protect Glasgow?
Yours Faithfully and very concerned
24 April 2013
Mr. Jim Ewen
Dear Mr. Ewen,
Thank you for your email of 16 April 2013 to the Secretary of State for Defence. Your email has been passed on to me in the Ministry of Defence’s Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) Policy branch for reply as the points you raise in your letter fall under my area of responsibility.
You raise the issue of the recent article on the nuclear deterrent by the Prime Minister in the Daily Telegraph. I refer you to the comments made in the House of Commons on 23 April by the Foreign Secretary the Rt. Hon. William Hague:
“The Prime Minister said that North Korea claimed that it had missiles that could hit the whole of the United States, and if that was the case, of course, it could also hit the UK. I mentioned earlier that it has paraded, but not yet tested, a 12,000 km-range missile. Looking decades ahead, as we do with these decisions, we have to be aware of the great variety of potential threats to the UK. It is vital, therefore, that we retain the ultimate deterrent in this country.”
It remains the case that currently no state has both the intent to threaten our vital interests and the capability to do so with nuclear weapons.
The Trident ballistic missiles which are carried on our Vanguard class submarines are not used for the purposes of missile defence. In addition to the points made above as regards the nuclear threat, there is no immediate significant threat to the UK from ballistic missiles. However, the UK supports the development of a NATO ballistic missile defence capability, which will be made up of a range of radars and interceptor missiles contributed by individual NATO member states. This will include the capability to provide limited defence to all NATO European populations and territory.
I hope this letter has been helpful in explaining Government policy.