The ‘most important’ day of the year for Britain’s nuclear deterrent

The UK’s nuclear deterrence remains at “the most important” level it has been since at least 1945, the Royal Navy said on Wednesday.

The Royal Navy has spent years trying to assess the strategic threats to Britain’s deterrent, but the “most important day of all” was in the middle of the Cold War, Rear Admiral James McPherson, chief of the Royal Naval Weapons Centre, said in a statement.

The first anniversary of the nuclear weapons crisis of 1987 has seen a string of events in the defence industry that have put pressure on the government to decide on new weapons systems.

The Trident nuclear deterrent, which includes the Trident II and Trident III submarines, was due to be handed over to the UK on 1 January, but was delayed until after the general election in May.

Since then, a number of threats have come from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), including the threat of a North Korean missile attack.

The submarine fleet has also been dogged by problems, with several submersibles reported to have broken down in recent years.

The latest was the loss of the submarine HMS Tireless, which was towed by the submersible HMAS Argyll in December 2015, which led to a search of the sea.