If the recommendations of a UK defense review are implemented, Britain will have the same capacity to launch aircraft from ships as Nelson did, which is to say, none at all, prior to 2019 when new aircraft carriers come into service.
Defence review: HMS Ark Royal to be scrapped
The aircraft carrier Ark Royal, the Navy’s flagship, will be scrapped early in the government’s defence review. The UK’s Harrier jump jets will be axed, the money saved going towards the cost of two new aircraft carriers. It means that, until at least 2019, Britain will not have the ability to launch fighter jets at sea.
Unveiling the defence review at about 1530 BST, Mr Cameron is expected to announce:
- The Ark Royal, launched in 1985, will be decommissioned almost immediately, rather than in 2014, as previously planned
- The construction of two new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will go ahead, as it would cost more to cancel the projects than proceed with them
- The navy will lose 4,000 personnel and its surface fleet will be cut from 24 to 19
- Some squadrons of RAF Tornado jets will be saved – although some air force bases will close
- The Army will have to cut up to 7,000 or so personnel over the next five years, and lose 100 tanks and heavy artillery
- The Ministry of Defence itself will face substantial cuts to its civilian staff
- The Nimrod MRA4 reconnaissance plane is to be cancelled, the BBC understands
Thanks to Alaric Bond for passing the article along.