02:58 GMT29 October 2020
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    The UK government has absolute confidence in the country’s nuclear deterrent, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said Monday following reports of a Trident submarine-launched fleet ballistic missile veering off course in June.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – On Sunday, the Sunday Times newspaper reported that there was a malfunction of the launch of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile near the coast of Florida.

    "I can assure the house that the capability and the effectiveness of the United Kingdom’s independent nuclear deterrent is not in doubt. The government has absolute confidence in our deterrent," Fallon said speaking in the House of Commons.

    Earlier in the day, a Downing Street spokesperson confirmed that UK Prime Minister Theresa May was briefed on June's failed Trident nuclear missile system test after assuming office and before the July 19 House of Commons vote to approve the renewal of the nuclear weapons system. On Sunday, May refused to state whether she was aware of the test prior to the July vote. Labour and Scottish National Party (SNP) opposition on Monday demanded the government to give a full explanation on the Trident missile test failure issue.

    The submarine suffered a propulsion malfunction in 2011 and only resumed trials in January last year. The UK Defense Ministry later stated the problem was not nuclear-related.

    Trident is a nuclear missile system which is used by UK submarines since 1990s. In June 2016, one of the missiles went in a wrong direction towards the United States a few weeks before the UK parliament voted in favor of a long-debated modernization of Trident system. The system has been criticized over its cost. The total estimated cost is 167 billion pounds ($244 billion) over the 32-year lifespan of the system, between 2028 and 2060, according to the International Monetary Fund. Conservative supporters of the Trident renewal point out that over 30,000 jobs are dependent on the Trident fleet.


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