Defence of Britain should be a priority
Sir, - I can only manage one cheer for the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth which started sea trials this week.
While the Royal Navy’s largest-ever ship is undoubtedly an impressive achievement of British engineering, there is much to be concerned about.
Unlike previous British aircraft carriers which were equipped with British-made aircraft, the Queen Elizabeth will carry the hideously expensive American F35B Lightning II.
Leaving aside questions over its performance, this fact will give the US an implicit veto on how we use these aircraft.
A further problem of buying major foreign weapon systems is that we tend to fall behind other countries technologically with unfortunate consequences for our industry and economy. Aircraft carriers do not operate in isolation but require support ships for protection.
The Royal Navy is down to six guidedmissile destroyers and 13 frigates.
Allowing for other naval commitments and ships that are undergoing refits, we lack sufficient support ships to allow one, let alone two British carriers to operate independently; nor can we afford to incur losses in combat.
We have skimped on defence for far too long. The time has come to greatly increase defence spending both to ensure that the Royal Navy has sufficient ships and to develop new weapon systems of our own. Otto Inglis. 6 Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh.
The new aircraft carrier departs the Forth to embark on sea trials.