Select Committee on Defence First Special Report


Memorandum from the Ministry of Defence concerning HMS Vengeance—Trident D5 Missile Firing (11 September 2000)

  The fourth of the Royal Navy's Vanguard Class Trident submarines, HMS Vengeance, is shortly to undertake a single Trident D5 missile test firing on the United States' Eastern Test Range off the coast of Florida. This firing, the culmination of her Trident Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO), is currently scheduled for 21 September 2000.

  On completion of her DASO, HMS Vengeance will sail to the US Navy's Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic at Kings Bay, Georgia, to load unarmed Trident missiles as part of the preparations for her entry into operational service early next year.

  You will wish to note that under the terms of the voluntary early warning initiative agreed in 1998, we are providing advance notification to Russia, on an in confidence basis, of the missile firing five days before the event. We are also informing France as a close nuclear ally.

  I should be grateful for this notification to be treated as restricted until after the event.

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