Scotland outlines defence plans in event of independence

Posted on 28 Nov 2013 by Tim Brown

The Scottish Government has revealed plans for the country’s national defence if the country votes to declare independence from the United Kingdom in September 2014.

As reported in Aviation Week, the Government outlined its plans in a 670-page white paper entitled ‘Scotland’s Future’, the Scottish National Party—which is leading the calls for independence—plans to give the British government until 2021 to dismantle the infrastructure in Scotland that supports the UK’s nuclear capability, as well as establish its own defenses with air, land and marine forces.

Referencing the UK’s Trident-based deterrent, the document states that billions of pounds have been “wasted on weapons that must never be used and, unless we act now, we risk wasting a further £100bn, over its lifetime, on a new nuclear weapons system.”

“This Scottish Government would make early agreement on the speediest safe removal of nuclear weapons a priority. This would be with a view to the removal of Trident within the first term of the Scottish Parliament following independence in 2016.” This statement, based on parliamentary rules, would give London until 2021 to move the nuclear deterrent from Faslane Naval Base on the Clyde.

“Westminster’s commitment to nuclear weapons leaves other aspects of our defense weakened,” the document adds, pointing to the U.K.’s lack of maritime patrol capability and the fact there are no navy surface ships based in Scottish waters.

“There is greater risk to safety and security in Scotland’s airspace and waters as a result,” the white paper adds.

The document states that if Scotland becomes independent, it would inherit a share of the U.K.’s defense assists, which would help it establish a defence force. According to the document, a 2007 UK Defense Ministry report estimated that the total value of its assets and investments was £93 billioin. The document states that based on population, Scotland’s share of those assets would be around £7.8bn. The Scottish government believes it could fund the country’s defense and security for £2.5 billion a year, with a focus on maritime capabilities including the rapid re-establishment of an airborne maritime patrol capability.

“A detailed specification of requirements will be developed as a priority, and final numbers of aircraft required will depend on this,” the white paper states.

Scotland’s total forces could reach 15,000 regular and 5,000 reserve personnel over the decade following independence, with the air force using 12 Eurofighter Typhoons, for quick reaction alert, and a tactical air transport squadron using six C-130J Hercules, the document claims. There also would be a helicopter squadron.