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November 13, 2010

Save Ark Royal and her Harriers

On November 10th a letter from two former first sea lords and other retired officers was published in the Times. It argued the decision to scrap 80 Harrier jump jets and the carrier Ark Royal is “dangerous” and that reversing the decision is “in the overriding national interest” (via Quotulatiousness).

Francis Tusa of Defence Analysis, a newsletter, reckons that retiring the much more maintenance-heavy Tornados instead of the Harriers would have saved £4 billion-5 billion, while keeping Ark Royal going would cost only about £120m a year. He adds that getting out of the strike-carrier business for ten years means that critical skills will be lost. Others, including the letter’s authors, fear that the “carrier gap” will mean Britain loses the ability to carry out autonomous expeditionary missions. Among other things, that would, they say, leave the Falkland Islands (and their valuable oilfields) vulnerable to attack.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at November 13, 2010 10:23 AM