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Britain, France to share aircraft carriers - paper
August 30, 2010 / 11:45 PM / 7 years ago

Britain, France to share aircraft carriers - paper

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain and France are getting ready to unveil plans to share aircraft carriers amid pressure on the British military to cut costs, the Times reported on Tuesday.

<p>HMS Illustrious, a British aircraft carrier, passes London's financial district in Canary Wharf before docking at Greenwhich November 4, 2008. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs</p>

Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicholas Sarkozy were expected to announce the proposal at a November summit, the Times said, quoting an unidentified British naval source for its information.

No immediate comment was available from British officials on the report.

Earlier this month, a Defence Ministry source told Reuters that Britain might cancel one or both of its planned new aircraft carriers to cut costs, though there were no plans to scale back the country’s nuclear deterrent.

The proposal involving France would make it easier for Britain to scrap or downgrade one of the two replacement carriers under construction, the Times said.

The newspaper said the proposal would ensure that one of three ships -- one French and two British -- would always patrol the seas.

“Using each other’s carriers would require decisions to be made at the strategic level so that national aims on any given operation would be the same,” the naval source was quoted as saying.

The Defence Ministry is conducting a sweeping review of Britain’s future military needs and ways to provide capability more cheaply.

Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; editing by Ralph Gowling

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