There has been continued speculation that the government could cancel one or both of the planned Royal Navy aircraft carriers as part of the defence spending review. Do you think this would be a sensible move in the economic climate? Or would it jeopardise Britain’s entire shipbuilding industry?
Forget the economic climate - it's not a sensible move in the unstable and globally interlinked military/political climate. I'm a soldier: I know my brethren in the Royal Navy will move the world to save my life. We need our own carriers.
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If the government cancelled one or both it would appear to contradict its talk about rebalancing the economy away from the finance sector. I guess what it does with the aircraft carriers will provide an insight into how serious the coalition government is in achieving this aim.
Rob Jones, Solihull, West Midlands
It should be considered. If cancelled it should be demonstrated that the perceived threat can be satisfactorily controlled by other methods. The industry must adapt to the requirements of society and not the other way round.
Edward Tibenham, Waterside South, Lincoln
As £1bn has already been spent, and considering the number of people we have in conflict defending our shores around the world, we should continue with the aircraft carriers, build them in UK shipyards, and keep British tradesmen employed. And we should make more cuts to the welfare and benefits system to pay for them.
Tony Bielowiecki, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
Why do we need more ultra expensive army equipment? I can think of dozens of other investments that would offer better value for money like higher education and green manufacturing.
Jeremy Lambert, Coventry
Regardless of opinion of the military, the ‘more with less’ philosophy that predominates thinking will turn out to be a big mistake. We need to retain this expertise to avoid dependency on others to build our national defence.
Stuart Paterson, Epsom, Surrey
There’s no telling what the present government will cancel in the forthcoming spending review. Cancelling any engineering projects, be it new ships, new schools, new colleges, will adversely affect someone, somewhere.
Dr Stephen J Ball, Nottingham
A modern carrier capability is essential to conventional force projection, whether it be to serve the national interest, the international community or a humanitarian goal. Contrast this versatility with Trident, which serves only a single purpose, the supposed deterrence of aggression by conventional enemy. Most modern enemies are not of the conventional sort. I would applaud cooperation with France in this matter - cooperation to abandon the vanity of our respective nuclear weapons capability and the strengthening of our infinitely more versatile conventional forces.
Nick Weston, Peebles, Borders
The maintenance of a substantial skill base within shipbuilding and the electronic and mechanical systems engineering companies that will fit-out the ships should be viewed as a foundation for any ‘engineering resurgence’ that the last and current governments talk about. Once skills are dispersed or lost through redundancy and retirement, it will be hard to re-establish them. Is it going to be down to government rhetoric, yet again?
Bill Jones, Hockley, Essex
No, I do not think that this would be a sensible move, not only with regards to Britain’s shipbuilding industry but also with regards to its military and political standing within the world. It is also imperative for Britain PLC and British Engineering that we remain at the forefront of technology.
Jason Baylay, Stafford, Staffordshire
Cancelling the aircraft carriers would not only deal a severe blow to the shipbuilding industry, but also to the combat aircraft industry, among many others. However if cancelling a carrier is required to help bring the country out of recession, then that decision must be taken.
Ben Murray, Loughborough, Leicestershire
Two carriers is the absolute minimum we could have. If we've only got one carrier, all an aggressor has to do is wait until she's in for servicing. Losing the carriers would also very likely force cancellation of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. Hence, the aerospace industry would also take a big hit.
David West, Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire
Work has already started and 10,000 people are now gainfully employed producing what are sure to be two magnificent vessels. Their existence would enable us to take an airfield, together with all its necessary support anywhere in the world to do whatever needs to be done. Anyway, traditionally Britain doesn't scrap a project until it’s nearly finished.
Edward J Brophy, Barry, South Wales
As a maritime nation very reliant on shipping for both importing and exporting essential goods it must be incumbent upon any government that we maintain a core competence in ship building and repair, without which we will be at the mercy of other countries shipbuilding industries and exchange rates. Cancelling a planned ship build can appear to instantly save money – but perhaps next week it will be aircraft, military hardware or rail. In each case this must be carefully balanced against terminal decline off all traditional industry and making the country entirely dependent on imported equipment and services.
Cliff Perkins. Crawley, West Sussex
Existing aircraft carriers have effectively been designed for Cold War anti-submarine warfare and have limited space for short take-off and vertical landing fixed wing aircraft for engagement in today’s deployments. More up-to-date aircraft carriers are required in order to support the UK’s foreign policy.
Neil Chattle, Derby
I don't know how this decision may impact the UK shipbuilding industry, or how crucial the new aircraft carriers may be to our future military capability, but the staggering cost of the vessels seems hard to justify at the same time as severe public sector spending cuts.
Matthew Ward-Close, Plumtree Court, London
The use of military contracts to maintain skill levels in the UK should be considered as other major countries use” local made” as a commercial advantage over UK offerings.
Russ Currie, West Yorkshire
The government need to start thinking “outside of the box”. Cancelling the aircraft carriers will have a detrimental effect on the shipbuilding industry and the communities and families involved. Look at the recent BAE announcements… it’s not just 1000 job losses, many more people are affected.
Chris Tague , Derby
What shipbuilding industry would it jeopardise exactly? Aren't most ships built in China and Korea these days anyway? You've got what you voted for so stop whingeing and let's crack on with converting all our dock land areas into fancy apartments for bankers and advertising executives. Anyone for Pimms?
Barry Le' Febour, Worthing
I would hope the industry is not critically dependant on these two orders. If it is then it is more important to maintain capability than to save a few hundred millions. Also I think in this area, securing jobs is more important than the cost saving.
I would welcome any move away from spending on defence procurement. Supporting an industry (shipbuilding or any other) isn’t sufficient justification for spending our money on projecting military power, which is frequently abused by the politicians that wield it and invariably destructive. Let’s spend our money, and our creative energy as engineers or something more positive.
On the face of it the money spent on two aircraft carriers would be a good investment in keeping skilled British workers in a job. My main concern is how much of the price ticket finds its way down to the people in the DO’s and on the factory floors? How much get’s trousered by directors, lawyers, marketing types and other flunkies and parasites? We don’t need to subsidise that bunch of rogues.