In his defence review, the Prime Minister will announce that the HMS Ark Royal will be scrapped within months, along with the Harrier jump jet force, in order to fund the building of two new aircraft carriers, which will not be able to operate jet fighters for at least a decade.
The Defence Secretary Liam Fox told Today presenter James Naughtie that it made sense to get rid of carriers that could not be used with other countries' aircraft:
"The design of the carriers we had would not have allowed the American navy to land on our carriers nor the French navy.
"Now it seems to me that if it's a Strategic Defence Review you need to be looking not to the end of the decade but to the 35 to 40 years of life of the carriers and to have interoperability with our allies seems to me to be to me a priority in that period if we're to have effective alliances."
He added that the review sought to combine budgetary discipline with a strategic overview which looks far ahead.
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