Nuclear missile stalemate with France after submarine dispute | United Kingdom

Nuclear missile stalemate with France after submarine dispute | United Kingdom

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace was due to meet with his French counterpart Florence Parly to discuss “concerns” about the practice. But it was postponed after the announcement of the Aukus defense alliance between Australia, the UK and the US, which saw Paris lose a £ 47bn deal to build submarines for Australia. Unlike Britain, France uses submarines and planes for its nuclear deterrent and regularly holds three-stage training “scrambles” called Banco, Poker and Excalibur.

Banco involves sending planes belonging to the French Strategic Air Forces to bases where they are armed with missiles.
They don’t take off. Adhering to strict nuclear protocols, crews remain vigilant in their cockpits for several hours before the missiles are unloaded and return to their bases, where they undergo a full-scale debriefing.

Until recently, France used dummy warheads for exercises, but that has reportedly changed in recent months in an effort to make them as realistic as possible. The frequency of Banco tests has also increased.

“How France deploys its nuclear deterrent is up to France,” a Whitehall source said. “But there are concerns on this side of the Channel about the use of real warheads. It was to be discussed in the meeting, which took place afterponted due to the namecement. “

France was enraged by the Aukus deal, which it saw as a betrayal. The postponement of Wallace’s meeting was only an indication of Paris’ anger.
Last week the French signed a pact with Greece, which will see it sell frigates and jets to his ally.

It will be see also France “fully supporting” the Greek territorial claims on Cyprus which are contested by Turkey, a NATO member, and which have been the source of growing tensions in recent months. This could further worsen the divisions between the interests of the EU and those of NATO, and prove to be a headache for Great Britain, one of the guarantors of peace in a divided Cyprus.

A source from Whitehall said: ‘We are waiting for more clarity on what this Defense Pact could mean in practice, but as it stands it is possible that it affects the balance in Cyprus. “


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