SEA BREEZES AUGUST 2011 • VOL 85 • NO. 788
One of the most poignant photographs I have seen recently was of the light aircraft carrier HMS Invincible being torn to pieces in a Turkish shipbreaking yard.
The Invincible, along with its Harrier jets, played a famous role in Britain’s victory over Argentina in the Falkland Islands war of 1982. Less than three decades on, and as a result of the Government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, Britain is now without a carrier strike force and is unlikely to have one for the next ten years or so.
In the last few weeks, several senior officers have been highlighting the depletion of our armed forces, especially the Royal Navy. What a pity that these same men were unable to raise their voices and resist these cuts when they were first contemplated last year. At that time Sea Breezes roundly criticised the review as being driven purely by the motive of cutting cost – leaving this country, its trade routes and its interests around the world dangerously exposed. We also said that such a significant reduction in our naval strength – particularly the removal of a carrier strike force – was almost an open invitation to Argentina to once again make a play for the Falklands.
Incredibly, while making these savage cuts, the UK Government signed up to playing an active part in the war in Libya. With the lack of an aircraft carrier, our planes have been flying from bases in Italy. You really could not make it up. The cost of our Libyan involvement is so far conservatively estimated at around £300 million.
What a mess, and one which may well come back to splash over our good leader and his deputy who, within a year of taking office, have become responsible for accelerating Britain’s decline as a maritime power.
Captain Hamish A C Ross (Editor)