Go to STV News

Cyber security for Trident nuclear weapons to be upgraded

The MoD to invest in improvements to security of Trident submarines, which are based at Faslane.

By STV News

Published 30 Mar 2016.

Cyber security for the UK's arsenal of nuclear weapons at Faslane is to be upgraded to counter attacks from hackers.

It is understood the US-built Trident missile system will be given increased protection from threats posed by rogue nations such as North Korea and terrorists groups including so-called Islamic State.

The UK's Trident nuclear submarines are stationed at Faslane naval base on the Clyde in Helensburgh, Argyll.

The Ministry of Defence is planning to spend nearly £2bn on cyber security over the coming five years, including a scheme to improve the safety of Trident nuclear warheads in partnership with the US Navy.

The US military is said to be poised to award a contract to British defence contractor BAE Systems to develop Trident's cyber protection.

John Daniels, a spokesman for the US Navy's Strategic Systems Programme, told Bloomberg: "Now that cyber has become even more important in our national security, there will be even more requirements.

"In our modern era, cyber-security threats are a legitimate concern."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said on Wednesday: "The deterrent remains safe and secure. We take our responsibility to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent extremely seriously and continually assess the security of the whole deterrent programme and its operational effectiveness, including against threats from cyber."

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon previously said the Government had a "moral responsibility" to protect the UK, as he highlighted signs that Russia was increasing its nuclear capabilities.

Around 225 nuclear warheads are thought to make up Britain's nuclear submarine-based nuclear deterrent.

Up to 12 can be mounted on each Trident missile, of which there are believed to be around 40 in service. The US Navy helps BAE to maintain the Trident system, which is based on a 40-year-old design.

Last year former Labour defence secretary Lord Browne warned that UK nuclear weapons could "be rendered obsolete by hackers" and called for risk assessment.

Advertisment