NEWPORT, Wales, Sept 5 (Reuters) – British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday that an aircraft carrier currently being built – the second of two new such warships – would be brought into service, ending speculation about its future.
“This will ensure that we will always have one carrier available, 100 percent of the time,” Cameron said in a speech at a NATO summit in Wales.
The fate of the carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, was not due to be decided until a defence spending review in the second half of next year after a general election, and defence experts had said it could be mothballed or sold.
In Scotland two months ago, Queen Elizabeth officially named the first carrier after her, the biggest warship Britain has ever built, as part of a 6.2 billion pound ($10.12 billion) project to build a new generation of aircraft carriers.
Analysts say the bill for the pair built by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance – a consortium including British engineering companies BAE Systems and Babcock, and the UK division of France’s Thales – is good value in comparison to the U.S., which spent an estimated $12.9 billion on its own new carrier.
Britain has cut defence spending by around 8 percent over the last four years as part of government efforts to reduce a huge budget deficit, (Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)
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