RUSI JournalVolume 157Issue 6members only

The United Kingdom's Future Carriers: What Are They Good For?


The UK government's decision to revert to the F-35B Lightning II variant for its new aircraft carriers may have the positive (if unintended) outcome of enforcing a re-think in strategy.

As a result of the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review and emerging geopolitical considerations, the UK’s armed forces will look a lot like those envisaged by the 1998 Strategic Defence Review – with a return to an expeditionary, primarily maritime-based strategy. As such, the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, despite a chaotic procurement programme and the reversion to the F-35B Lightning II variant, are likely to prove valuable instruments of state power – not

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WRITTEN BY

Christopher Parry CBE

Senior Associate Fellow

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