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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 April, 2003, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Warning on subs work
HMS Turbulent in Plymouth Sound
All the navy's Trafalgar class subs are based at Devonport
A defence analyst has warned that reported cuts in the Royal Navy's fleet of attack submarines would hit refurbishment work at Devonport naval base.

A government white paper will call for cuts to the fleet, according to the Sunday Times.

Radical reforms will also see a higher tech military, with less fire power.

Previously planned orders of ships, planes and tanks would be cut back to devote more resources to communications equipment.

The Sunday Times says that under the proposals the Royal Navy would have to scrap two or three of its 12 attack submarines.

Future threats

The cuts would come in addition to plans already announced to decommission two of the fleet's submarines.

All seven of the Royal Navy's Trafalgar class submarines are based at Devonport in Plymouth.

Mike Critchley, editor of Warship World, said: "Any cuts in the fleet reduces the amount of work in the dockyards.

"Devonport relies quite heavily on refurbishment of nuclear subs, so you can expect a loss of work."

He added: "Submarines are in existence to fulfil a role for the navy, not to provide work for the dockyards."

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman confirmed that the ministry was working on a white paper on military reform due later this year, but declined to comment on specific details.

She said: "This white paper will look at future threats, future investment in armed forces."

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