PS: Sorry you've no women on board. One of the warheads is full of whisky and porn."
"In the world of nuclear missiles, it is the Savile Row suit, the Rolls Royce Corniche, the Chateau Lafite 1945. It is the nuclear missile Harrods would sell you."
The one that's in dock for service and repair, yes. But the others could be at sea anywhere in the world, in an unknown location.
> Would all four, if armed, be able to do much damage back?
Each sub can carry 16 x Trident D5 ballistic missiles, with a range of 6,000 mi. Each missile carries multiple warheads, each with much higher yields than those used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So certainly the potential to do lots of damage.
The US has a similar setup with their Ohio-class submarines, though I don't believe they carry such letters or equivalent.
For a "last resort" use like this, counterforce (i.e. attacking the enemy's military) is probably pointless. I imagine you'd go for cities if you wanted to cause as much hurt as possible.
A single 100kt warhead detonated over, for example, Manhattan would devastate Manhattan and significantly damage surrounding areas. Deaths would probably be in the millions. Add in a few more scattered around intelligently and that's the entire metro region wrecked. If we figure four is enough to do NYC in decently, that means one of these submarines could wreck twelve cities that way. More (up to 48) if you just wanted to smash the core areas. Or you can mix and match.
If it was targeted at the US (don't ask me why), imagine DC, NYC, LA, Chicago, all completely flattened, along with a bunch more. Most of the population of the country as a whole would survive, but the country itself would be pretty thoroughly wrecked.
(In case anyone is wondering what the difference is, a cruise missile is basically a suicidal unmanned drone that flies like an airplane, while an ICBM is a rocket that goes into space and then falls back down on its target after burning its fuel.)
Whether these are in the form of sealed handwritten letters from the President, I don't know.
To get some idea of the likely outcome of a nuclear war for the UK I can suggest watching Threads:
One interesting thing about Threads is that it is based on a rather optimistic attack scenario based on an exercise called Square Leg:
As a "Yes" voter I'm hoping we'll be able to send them back to England, preferably somewhere on the south coast.
And I am sure that some of the depressed areas of southern England woudl welcome these jobs with open arms - theres already suspicion that English dock workers where made redundant to protect Scottish jobs.
The MOD itself says that a total of only 520 civilian jobs would be lost if Trident was moved - and only 310 of those are definitely locals:
And finally, don't you think some things are more important than money and jobs?
I really liked Charlie Stross's account of how he changed his views on an "independent" nuclear deterrent:
Personally, I changed my mind from being a reluctant supporter for the need for nuclear weapons while wandering round, of all places, Auschwitz-Birkenau, our guide made a comment about how although Auschwitz-Birkenau remains the very worst that we have achieved as as species a lot of countries, including the UK, calmly contemplate the use of weapons that would have far worse results. From that day I have felt very strongly about trying to remove nuclear weapons from my country and independence seems the most viable route to achieving that goal.
No. The idea of ballistic missile submarines like this (and those also operated by the US, France and Russia) is that they should be impossible to find when on patrol.
A US missile submarine also collided with a Russian attack submarine in 1992:
'Hervé Morin, France's Minister of Defence, said that they "face an extremely simple technological problem, which is that these submarines are not detectable".'
...and I think that's pretty clear when you read my comment. Are you choosing to misunderstand?
Letters of Last Resort are/were written in the context of the policy of Mutual Assured Destruction (M.A.D.) which was predicated on the premise that if you wiped me out, my retaliation would wipe you out. My comment was made with that in mind.
Getting tech knowledge right is something that doesn't transfer well between interviews and real work, so having them code and work under real-life conditions is a preferable procedure anyway. Like I said, I might be biased, but the best predictor for good work is, you know, good work ;) So in a shop that follows this philosophy, the interview becomes more of a first stage to determine if it makes sense to do one or more test work days.
^ That would be a really annoying shift of gears in an interview, particularly if the sudden open ended question seemed to have no relevance to the gig being interviewed for.
At least I would probably be pretty annoyed and give really ridiculous answers/possibilities. But having interviewed people myself, I tend to grade my interest in a job by how the interview is given, and will cut the line if I think the person in charge of interviewing doesn't know what they are interviewing for/why they are asking the questions they are asking.
This might be an 'exception that proves the rule'.
By saying there is no wrong answer (in this case), you are illustrating that you have otherwise been strict on wrong answers. This is either going to be concerning, or a sudden change of pace which is difficult to manage.
On a more serious note, there has been talk of the UK sharing aircraft carriers with France, so it isn't a completely daft idea (although certain sections of the UK public would probably prefer to attack France as a last resort - presumably aiming to miss the holiday homes, vineyards and ski resorts).
(As far as I can tell it is speculation that they would place themselves under French command)
Off the top of my head, I think the idea was that, if the PM was out and about, he would make use of an RAC phone box (just like the police had TARDIS-like phone boxes, so did the breakdown rescue organisations) to issue instructions. A typically British, cobbled-together solution to some otherwise complex requirement.
A great book:
26 May 1983 minutes on discussing the last resort procedures: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/details/C1...
Able Archer on 8-9 November 1983: https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intellig...