Thursday, 9 May 2013

Falklands chief: Navy cuts will leave UK 'ripe for the taking'

Cuts to the Navy will leave Britain defenceless and ‘ripe for the taking’, the Falklands War veteran Sir Sandy Woodward has warned. In a rare intervention, Sir Sandy, who led the Naval task force that helped retake the Falkland Islands in 1982, said Britain would be left unable to defend its interests around the world unless cuts to the fleet are reversed. And he warned that Britain could even lose its permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council if it is seen to be unable to defend overseas territories like the Falklands.The warning came in a letter to the Commons defence committee, which is investigating Britain’s future defence needs. It is jointly signed by a number of other senior figures from the Falklands era, including Brigadier Julian Thompson, who led 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines during the conflict, and Admiral Sir Michael Layard, who commanded the requisitioned troop ship Atlantic Conveyor which was sunk by Exocet missiles.Calling for a change of course, they said defence cuts had already reduced Britain’s standing in the world, with potentially dangerous consequences for Britain’s trade and energy interests. They added: ‘It is evident that the UK is rapidly becoming a different nation by default and one less likely to be respected by friends and foes alike. ‘Our strategic reach has been severely curtailed because we will no longer be able to support the United States militarily in the key way which the UK has done for decades. ‘This might put in doubt our position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council if we become unable even to protect our own dependent territories.’ Sir Sandy singled out the ‘debacle’ surrounding the replacement of Britain’s aircraft carriers, which will leave the fleet with no operational capacity for a decade. Following a U-turn last year, ministers announced the new carriers Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales will be equipped with 12 jump jet F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, at a cost of £500 million each. But they will not be ready to fly until 2020, a decade after Harrier jump jets went out of service.Read More HERE

I have always said that these new Carriers magnificent as they look are white Elephants, lets hope they listen to Sir Sandy Woodward?