Once seen, a nuclear warhead convoy is easily recognisable and unlike anything else on the roads. There is a multiplicity of escort vehicles, often spread out over several miles, and travelling at up to 55mph. A warhead convoy contains:
- Warhead load carriers (enormous, plain dark green trucks)
- Ministry of Defence Police escort vehicles
- Military support vehicles to deal with accidents or breakdowns
The warhead carriers are 44 tons, seven axle, articulated dark green trucks made by Foden. These trucks are known as TCHD’s, short for Truck Cargo Heavy Duty. Apart from the Marines’ vehicles, the convoy is garaged and maintained at Aldermaston.
Minibuses and Outriders*, Spare tractor and Military land rover
3 to 5 Trident warhead load carriers
Military land rovers, Fire engine, Minibuses and outriders*
Mobile workshop, Breakdown truck, Police car and Support coach
Usual Convoy Configuration
- There could be a number of motorcycle outriders who will change position throughout the convoy (*these outriders do not normally accompany the Convoy along motorways).
- Minibuses carrying the escort personnel will be in front and behind. An advance minibus may travel several miles ahead.
- There are usually between 3 and 5 warhead carriers. Military land rovers travel immediately in front and behind the carriers. The Spare tractor will be in front of them and the fire engine will follow, sometimes at a distance.
- The three support vehicles of Mobile Workshop & trailer, Breakdown Truck, and Support Coach travel some distance behind the main convoy. If the carriers are held up then these vehicles will wait several miles behind.
- All vehicles travel with lights on even in daytime. Each vehicle has a single green light at the top of the cab on the drivers side.