Britain unlikely to use new aircraft carriers in Falklands-style conflict, suggests UK's national security adviser

Britain unlikely to use new aircraft carriers in Falklands-style conflict, suggests UK's national security adviser

The UK’s national security adviser has cast doubt on whether the Government would send Britain’s new aircraft carriers into a one-on-one conflict with another country.

“It is projecting them as a British sovereign capability but one that will almost inevitably, I would actually say inevitably, be used in a context of allied operations of some kind if used in a contested environment.”

Britain  sent  two  aircraft  carriers -HMS  Hermes  and  HMS  Invincible -to  help  take  back  the Falkland Islands in 1982.

They were accompanied by an array of British destroyers, frigates and submarines.

Sir Mark’s comments are likely to spark questions about if and when the UK would embark

on a similar course of action in the future.

The two new aircraft carriers are the largest vessels ever built for the Royal Navy. The 65,000 ton HMS Queen Elizabeth cost £3.5bn to build and was officially commissioned in December last year.

It is currently undergoing sea trials with an aim of being fully operational in 2020 with flight trials for the UK’s new F-35B stealth jet due to take place later in the year.

Meanwhile, Sir Mark also used his appearance to urge the UK’s fellow members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) to meet a commitment to spend two per cent of GDP on defence.

He said such a move would help deter Russian aggression.

He said: “It is very important when we think about Russia that we don’t think about it in an entirely bilateral way.

“It is not just the UK up against Russia, itis Nato that is the lynchpin of our defence against Russia.”

He added: “If all of the other Nato countries achieved that two per cent target that would be the  equivalent  of  about  an  additional  $100billion  a  year  devoted  to  the  defence  by  the alliance.”

Earlier this year, Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, claimed that Russia could cause “thousands and thousands and thousands” of deaths  in  Britain  with  an  attackthat  would cripple the UK's infrastructure and energy supply.

Sir Mark told MPs that Russia remained the UK’s “primary strategic threat”. He said: “At the most basic level, particularly, as a nuclear state there is an existential threat and it is presented by in particular the Russian nuclear capability.”

 

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