Royal Navy aircraft carriers issued with stern warning over funding

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The National Audit Office has issued concerns that projections will not be met without proper funding.

Each aircraft carrier will cost most £3 billion.

NAO suggested the carriers were missing key components to warrant backing including aircraft and support ships.

The Ministry of Defence is confident they can meet the target of an “initial operating capability” for the carriers by the end of the year.

However, NAO revealed the target’s “tight.”

It is unknown if the first of the ships will be ready in time for 2028 when the only existing operational one is due to be taken out of service.

The NAO also revealed in a report that the Ministry of Defence is yet to provide funding for the required amount of Lightning II fighter jets to maintain the reach the capacity for the carrier’s operating life.

Each carrier has been built to last 50 years.

Concerns have also been raised as it is believed the Navy had just one supply ship.

The smaller ships maintain food and ammunition supply during operations.

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As a symbol of global reach and military power, aircraft carriers are expensive to build and operate.

The UK is one of the few countries with the capacity to do both.

The UK defence has injected funds into the two gigantic Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers.

However, the carriers need an array of smaller ships for protection, refuelling and supplies.


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They need aircraft for logistics, airborne early warning and to implement strikes.

Maintenance costs are expensive, however, the Ministry of Defence is unclear of the overall costs.

All the elements of Carrier strike are set to control a significant part of the defence budget.

Labour MP, Meg Hillier, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, which accesses the work of the NAO.

Miss Hillier revealed the Ministry of Defence is yet to back their aspirational aims.

She said: “The Ministry of Defence has lofty ambitions for the carriers but hasn’t put its money where its mouth is,

“Worryingly, it still doesn’t know the full cost of supporting and operating Carrier Strike.”

However, despite criticism, the Ministry of Defence believes the Carrier Strike group are on target to achieve their aims.

An MoD spokesperson said: “Carrier Strike is a complex challenge, which relies on a mix of capabilities and platforms.

“We remain committed to investing in this capability, which demonstrates the UK’s global role.

“Despite the disruptions of Covid-19, the Carrier Strike Group is on track for its first operational deployment.”

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