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JSPES, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Summer 2003 )
pp. 153-176

The UK's Aircraft Carriers and their Rationale

Matthew Mowthorpe

Under the Strategic Defence Review, the U.K. made the decision to acquire two larger, 50,000 tonnes, aircraft carriers. This article examines the United Kingdom's plans to replace its ageing fleet of aircraft carriers. The use of aircraft carriers during the international crises that have arisen since the end of the Cold War is surveyed, and the inherent flexibility that aircraft carriers provide both militarily and politically is noted. The UK's aircraft carrier program is compared with that of other nations which possess one or more aircraft carriers. The question of aircraft carrier vulnerability is also discussed.