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 HMS Ark Royal is being decommissioned, and the entire fleet of 80 Harriers withdrawn – leaving Britain unable to mount another unsupported attack until the Joint Strike Fighter arrives in 2020.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?’