The Daily Telegraph

The huge cost of unusable Navy hardware


sir – Defending the Royal Navy’s decision to go ahead with the purchase of £3 billion aircraft carriers, Admiral Lord West (Letters, July 21) tells us that “Britain remains a world power”.

It is this rather inflated, jingoistic view of Britain that enables the Armed Forces to ask the taxpayer to fund extremely expensive white elephants that are ideal for fighting the last war.

I am in no doubt that the new aircraft carriers will never be used in the sort of major global conflict for which they are designed, any more than we will ever release a Trident nuclear missile.

Colonel Mark Rayner (retd)

Eastbourne, East Sussex

sir – In attempting to dismiss the utility of the new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers, James Cowan (Letters, July 17) makes comparison­s that rather undermine his own point.

The French carrier Charles de Gaulle is notorious for being plagued by technical problems. It may be nuclear-powered, but reactor maintenanc­e and refuelling mean it must also spend far more time in port than other ships, leaving it unavailabl­e for extended periods.

The US Navy also has its own problems. USS Gerald R Ford is barely functional. The ship cost $13 billion, but as late as December 2019 a report from the Pentagon’s director of operationa­l test and evaluation was still condemning the poor reliabilit­y of its much-vaunted Electromag­netic Aircraft Launch System.

The ski ramp on the Queen Elizabeth carriers may be low-tech, but it actually works.

Robert Frazer

Salford, Lancashire

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