Britain to increase nuclear warhead stockpile by more than 40% as global threats increase

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Britain will increase its stockpile of nuclear warheads by more than 40% to ensure its security in a riskier global environment and in the face of new technological threats, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.

The country had previously reduced its stocks of nuclear weapons, and in 2010 the government set a cap of 180 warheads for the period mid-2020. Johnson removed the previous limit and said that number will now increase to a maximum of 260.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the National Express depot in Coventry, central England, on Monday March 15, 2021.
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the National Express depot in Coventry, central England, on Monday March 15, 2021.
(Steve Parsons / Pool via AP)

In its review of security and defense, Britain said it was exposed to the risks of nuclear-weapon states, emerging nuclear states and state-sponsored nuclear terrorism, and that its deterrence nuclear was necessary to guarantee its security and that of its allies.

“Some states are currently significantly increasing and diversifying their nuclear arsenals,” the government said. “Increasing global competition, challenges to international order and the proliferation of potentially disruptive technologies all pose a threat to strategic stability.”

The move was criticized by The Elders, a group of former global policymakers campaigning for peace.

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“While the UK cites increased security threats to justify this move, the appropriate response to these challenges should be to work multilaterally to strengthen international arms control agreements and reduce – not increase – the number of ‘existing nuclear weapons,’ said Mary Robinson. , president of the group.

Asked about politics in parliament, Johnson said Britain remains committed to global nuclear weapons reduction.

Britain has also said it plans to replace its current nuclear warhead with a new one that could operate over the lifespan of four new submarines under construction and due to enter service in the early 2030s.

He will work with the United States to ensure the new warhead remains compatible with the Trident.

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With its current submarines, Britain has said it will stick to its current policy of always having one of its four nuclear deterrent submarines on continuous patrol.

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