Putin’s ‘not stupid’ – Britain’s nukes will STILL keep him in check despite Trident 2 blunders, ex-Navy chief insists

Putin’s ‘not stupid’ – Britain’s nukes will STILL keep him in check despite Trident 2 blunders, ex-Navy chief insists

VLADIMIR Putin is “not stupid” and will know that Britain’s nuclear deterrent still works despite two failed Trident 2 missile launches, an ex-Navy chief told The Sun.

Former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West said the failed Trident launches were, “embarrassing” but he insisted the doomsday missiles would work in the event of World War Three.

ReutersLord West said the Russian leader would know Britain’s missiles would work despite the unsuccessful launches[/caption]

APOn Tuesday a Trident missile misfired and crashed into the sea[/caption]

PALord West admitted he was initially “very worried” but is now certain the system works[/caption]

He said: “Putin might be bloodthirsty and nasty, but he is not stupid and he knows a bit about submarines, he knows we haven’t got a problem.

“It is just just embarrassing. Of course, it is embarrassing.”

The Sun revealed that a Trident 2 D5 missile suffered a dramatic misfire and crashed into the ocean yards away from HMS Vanguard, the Royal Navy submarine that fired it.

It was the second failed launch since 2016 when HMS Vengeance fired a missile that veered off course and self-destructed.

It sparked fears the failed tests could embolden Russia if Moscow believed the deterrent – the cornerstone of Britain’s defence – didn’t work.

The last time Trident missile was successfully fired from a Royal Navy submarine was over 11 years ago.

Admiral Lord West told The Sun he was “very worried initially” after the misfire on Jan 30.

He added: “A lot of people were.

“But we have done the checking through and there is no doubt the system works.

“We now know what caused the problem. It was to do with the test-firing not a proper firing.

“They will be working hard to solve it.”

He said Trident 2 missiles were so reliable that Russia hadn’t even bothered to send a spy ship to watch the launch on Jan 30.

He said: “The Russians always used to put an intelligence gathering ship to monitor these firings, but because the Trident works so well, they didn’t even bother to do it.

“They know it works.

“Live active missiles with warheads, we know will work and let’s hope we never have to use them.

“They will go the full 7,000 miles and put their warheads on the targets with devastating accuracy, so we are not worried about that.”

Lord West said the crew of HMS Vanguard were also “gloomy” after the test went wrong.

But he insisted morale was now “very high” that they had worked out what went wrong.

He said the boat and the crew had passed all their tests with flying colours in the drills which cemented the return of HMS Vanguard into active service after a seven-year £500 million refit.

He said: “The Americans were amazed at how good the Vanguard’s crew were. They said it was one of the best crews to go through the test range.”

The MoD confirmed an “anomaly occurred” but insisted the nuclear deterrent remains “effective”.

A spokesperson told The Sun:  “HMS Vanguard and her crew have been proven fully capable of operating the UK’s Continuous At-Sea Deterrent, passing all tests during a recent demonstration and shakedown operation (DASO) – a routine test to confirm that the submarine can return to service following deep maintenance work.

“The test has reaffirmed the effectiveness of the UK’s nuclear deterrent, in which we have absolute confidence.

“During the test, an anomaly occurred. As a matter of national security, we cannot provide further information on this, however we are confident that the anomaly was event-specific, and therefore there are no implications for the reliability of the wider Trident missile systems and stockpile. The UK’s nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective.”

The missile makers Lockheed Martin say Trident 2 missiles have been successfully test-fired a “record” 191 times since 1989.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps and First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Ben Key were both onboard the submarine, HMS Vanguard for drills on Jan 30.

The 60-ton Trident 2 missile blasted out of the submarine’s launch tubes in a cloud of compressed gas as planned.

But its first-stage rocket boosters failed to ignite and it splashed back into the Atlantic.

A source said: “It left the submarine but it just went plop, right next to them.”

Handout – GettyThe MoD confirmed an “anomaly occurred” when launching the Trident 2 during an exercise off Florida[/caption]

ReutersIn 2016, the HMS Vengeance fired a missile that veered off course and self-destructed[/caption]

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