Defence Review saves carrier – but costs Britain her task-force capability

HMS Ark Royal will be decommissioned immediately (photo courtesy of Royal Navy © Crown Copyright/MOD 2010)

As the Defence Review’s cuts hit home – the armed forces have been hit hard. It was thought one of the new carriers would be cancelled, but it now looks like it may be built – but sold after three years!

Last time Britain thought of selling a new carrier was April 1982. Then Argentina invaded the Falklands and the rest is history – the deal with Australia was shelved as HMS Invincible lived up to her name.

Critics say if the Falklands were invaded today – Britain couldn’t do a repeat performance. HMS Ark Royal is being decommissioned, and the entire fleet of 80 Harriers withdrawn – leaving Britain unable to mount another unsupported attack until the Joint Strike Fighter arrives in 2020. 

The new generation of nuclear submarines are postponed until at least 2028 – that’s four years after the Vanguard-class are to be scrapped. The cuts also mean finally cancelling Nimrod. No surprise – but where does this leave the British aircraft industry?

The army has also seen its Challenger 2 tanks cut by 40% and the decision on Trident has been put off for six years – or in other words until after the next election. Tories and Labour support a nuclear deterrent while the Liberals ask Does Britain need Trident?’

This means joint-operations may be the way forwards, but can Britain be part of a joint nuclear deterrent with the French? the country which back in 1982 supplied Argentina with Super Etendard strike aircraft – and the Exocet missiles which sank HMS Sheffield and Atlantic Conveyor.

Alan Riddoch

“I have been an automotive engineer for over ten years, and have both studied and worked in the UK, France and Germany.

I graduated in Mechanical Engineering before taking a Masters in Automobile Engineering and elected Chartered Engineer, European Engineer & Vice-Chairman of my local IMechE (automotive branch).

I have worked with many leading OEMs and first tier suppliers and in local journalism as both editor and journalist. I currently work in the automotive industry and write freelance.”

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