AN “embarrassing” nuclear missile test launch represents wider issues with the UK Government’s defence spending and strategy, the SNP have said.

The test firing of a Trident missile from a Royal Navy submarine has failed for the second consecutive time.

This time the test was launched from HMS Vanguard off the east coast of the United States.

According to The Sun, the missile’s booster rockets failed and it landed in the sea close to the launch site. 

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It was meant to have flown several thousand miles before landing in the Atlantic between Brazil and west Africa.

Both Defence Secretary Grant Shapps and the head of the Navy were on board when it fired the unarmed test missile in January.

The previous test from a UK submarine in 2016 also ended in failure after the missile veered off course.

Martin Docherty-Hughes, the SNP’s defence spokesperson, said the failure to test launch the missile, combined with the “immorality” of the weapons, shows why the Tories have been wrong to prioritise spending on weapons of mass destruction instead of investing in “conventional” military capabilities.

It’s expected the cost of renewing the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons systems will exceed £80 billion, something the SNP has suggested is unjustifiable when millions are struggling to pay energy bills and keep up with mortgage payments.

Docherty-Hughes said: “This was a seriously expensive failure, and one that is symptomatic of the UK Government’s wider defence spending and strategy.

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“The financial burden imposed by Trident renewal is enormous and is coming at a great cost to our conventional military capabilities and ability to focus money on other priorities like supporting households through a cost of living crisis.

“This is the second failed test in a row of weapons that are costing us tens of billions - an embarrassing and scandalous fact that should serve as a wake-up call to the UK Government.

"It speaks volumes of the Tory government's spending priorities that it is intent on increasing its collection of weapons of mass destruction - which will sit and gather dust unless the UK has plans to indiscriminately wipe out entire populations - rather than address the serious challenges in both our conventional capabilities and the inequalities in our society that have been further exposed by over a decade of Tory rule.”

Last month, The National revealed major concerns about the safety of Britain’s nuclear fleet.

The HMS Vanguard, which recently finished an extensive and overdue refit at the Devonport naval base in Plymouth, was predicted in a report from the Defence Select Committee in 2007 to have been retired in 2022, accounting for life extension.

HMS Victorious entered the dock last summer for a similar refit, and in the same report was expected to retire this year with life extension.

Former top government adviser Dominic Cummings sparked interest in the state of the fleet when he revealed he had attempted to secure assurances the Government would address the “horror show” of the arsenal in return for his help in Rishi Sunak’s election campaign. He was refused and the deal failed to materialise.

But concerns have since been raised that the retirement dates of nuclear submarines are repeatedly being pushed back, with questions being asked about the safety of the vessels.