Fylingdales could be in frontline of new nuclear arms race

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From: David Webb, Chairman, Yorkshire CND, Grove Lane, Leeds.

I READ your article on RAF Fylingdales with interest (Yorkshire Post, February 4). While there may well be a useful role for Fylingdales to detect and track space debris and dangerous objects, this is a public relations face for the radar and not the reason why the US paid to have it built in the first place.

The early warning and tracking radar was originally part of the United States nuclear deterrent which was built during the Cold War to detect a missile attack from Russia and enable a full-scale nuclear response to be launched.

The Russians were doing the same and the idea developed that this “mutually assured destruction” situation would prevent either side from launching a nuclear first strike.

The world has just about survived on this knife-edge ever since, despite a number of close calls through human or technical errors. It remains the situation that a signal from RAF Fylingdales could be responsible for launching a US or UK nuclear strike that would kill millions of civilians – this is not a passive role.

In addition, RAF Fylingdales now also forms part of the US missile defence system which is causing a huge imbalance to this knife-edge.

If a missile intercept system were ever to work then this would give the US a huge advantage – they could launch a first strike without having to worry about any retaliation.

So now RAF Fylingdales can be seen as possibly being part of a US nuclear strike force which the UK has no control over.

Russia are so concerned by this imbalance that they are threatening to pull out of the newly-signed treaty to reduce missile numbers and are talking of developing more – the start of a new nuclear arms race looks almost certain.

The idea that “terrorist states” might be targeting Britain is also somewhat misleading – there is no evidence for this whatsoever. Neither Iran nor North Korea possess a missile capable of reaching the UK and anyway, why would they want to?

Surely, we should be asking the question – why is the Government still wanting to participate in this ridiculously expensive and dangerous game?

Instead of forging ahead with plans to replace the UK Trident system at a cost of £75bn, why not cancel it altogether, help to relieve international tension and spend the money on something much more sensible – like the Health Service or education?