Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said that the UK could host US Medium Range Nuclear Missiles for the first time since the INF (Intermediate Nuclear Forces) Treaty in the 1990’s.
Prior to the INF Treaty the UK hosted US BGM Gryphon Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (GLCM’s) at RAF Greenham Common and RAF Molesworth. These Nuclear Cruise Missiles were designed as an immediate response to an Soviet attack on a NATO country and could be attacking Moscow in under 2 hours from launch.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, Mr Hammond said that Government could look at the placing of US missiles adding “We’ve got to send a clear signal to Russia that we will not allow them to transgress our red lines” He also recognised Russia’s increasing feeling of isolation adding “At the same time, we have to recognise that the Russians do have a sense of being surrounded and under attack, and we don’t want to make unnecessary provocations either.”
It is unclear what type of missiles would be based in the UK with all the GLCM’s being destroyed under the INF Treaty however a flight of US Missiles in the UK would be a very big deterrent to Putin and may even curb his current aggression towards Ukraine and growing mistrust of the west.
Sanction hit Russia is displaying ever increasing signs of returning to a cold war mentality with increased bomber flights around NATO countries as well as increased submarine activity.
The GLCM’s at Greenham and Molesworth saw protests in the 1980’s by groups that were anti-nuclear such as CND and the “Greenham Peace Women” who set up camps at both bases, which largely became more about feminism than cruise missiles, and attempted unsuccessfully to interfere with the operations and training of the GLCM Flights. These camps still existed nearly a decade after the missiles were removed under the INF treaty.
RAF Greenham Common has long since closed while Molesworth is the Joint Analysis Centre (JAC) for the USAF. The GAMA site’s (GLCM Alert and Maintenance Area) however still exist at both locations, with the Greenham site being privately owned by Flying A Services.