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The American Bomb in BritainUs Air Forces' Strategic Presence, 1946-64$
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Ken Young

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719086755

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719086755.001.0001

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Defending the strategic force

Defending the strategic force

(p.151) 7 Defending the strategic force
The American Bomb in Britain

Ken Young

Manchester University Press

This chapter submits the defensibility of the British Isles to a detailed analysis, showing how throughout the period under review, early warning radar cover was inadequate to secure US bases against surprise attack. US commanders continuously urged greater investment in these defences, which had been accepted as a British responsibility. So too was fighter interceptor provision, but the RAF aircraft were outmoded and would be ineffective against the likely Soviet assault. American aircraft were provided to augment British defences but this provided little incentive to the British to invest. In the early post-war years, a greater emphasis was placed on trade with the Soviet Union than defence, leading to the provision of the latest jet engine technology to power Soviet fighter and light bomber aircraft, to the despair of US authorities. In the later period, the assumption of indefensibility led to a major policy shift from active defence to nuclear deterrence, a shift strongly disapproved by the US.

Keywords:   Early Warning, Fighter Defences, Mutual Aid, Nuclear Deterrence

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