UK Trident missile test launch 23 October 2012: Caroline Lucas asks about cost & informing other govts in advance

Array ( [0] => HofC Written Answers to Questions ) HofC Written Answers to Questions, Defence: Trident Missiles, 19 November 2012, Column 239W

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost was of the Trident missile test launch in the Atlantic ocean on 23 October 2012.

Mr Dunne: The test launch of a Trident missile in the Atlantic ocean on 23 October 2012 took place as part of the Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) for HMS Vigilant. The cost of the test launch cannot be disaggregated from the overall cost of the DASO.

A DASO is critical for demonstrating the effectiveness of the UK’s nuclear deterrent. It comprises a comprehensive series of system and sub-system tests, and provides a period of intensive training for the submarine’s crew. It evaluates the complete weapon system, including crew performance, and concludes with an unarmed Trident missile firing. The resultant data underwrites both UK and US system assurance. Following HMS Vigilant’s long overhaul period (refuel), the DASO was conducted as a routine operation before the submarine re-enters service. Prior to the test firing from HMS Vigilant, the most recent UK DASO was completed by HMS Victorious in 2009.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether it is his policy to inform other governments of Trident missile tests; whether any other governments were informed in advance of the test that took place on 23 October 2012; and if he will make a statement.

Mr Dunne: The UK is a signatory to The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation and is obliged to inform the 133 other signatories of ballistic missile and space-launch vehicle launches and test flights; this notification is carried out some days before the scheduled launch event. In addition, the UK issued direct, voluntary pre-launch notifications to Russia, China, France and Canada ahead of the launch.