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By Lawrence Freedman
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Additional resources for Britain and Nuclear Weapons
3 million, coming out at 6 per cent higher in real terms at & 1 62 million. In consequence the whole programme cost 1 3 per cent less than anticipated (although the original estimates were very much guesswork)3 as well as arriving on schedule, a most unusual phenomenon. THE FIFTH SUBMARINE In January 1965 the Government confirmed the decision to go ahead with the programme. There was, however, to be one change. Instead of five boats there were to be four. As we shall see, this had important consequences and in retrospect appears as an example of false economy.
An assessment of the implications of Poseidon was circulating within the Ministry of Defence in 1966 before the American decision to authorise full development in November. Although those responsible for the Polaris fleet were enamoured of the idea of replacement by Poseidon,as a means of keeping up with, and deriving the benefits of, the latest technology, in practice the American move had come at least 5 years too early. The Americans were to use Poseidon to replace their singlewarhead Polaris A- I and A-2 missiles - not the multiple-warhead A-3.
There was concern in Whitehall that in future SALT discussions the United States might accept clauses limiting its freedom to transfer whole weapons systems or relevant technologies to allies. During the SALT I negotiations the Americans had to be warned off this, at least as far as offensive weapons were concerned. Their NATO allies let the matter pass in the ABM Treaty because they had little interest themselves in the relevant technology. Article IX of the SALT Treaty limiting ABMs, signed in Moscow in May 1972, included a restrictive non-transfer clause.