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  • Britain, France Plan to Share Aircraft Carriers

    Published on September 1, 2010

    Britain and France are preparing to reveal unprecedented plans to share the use of their aircraft carriers in a bid to cut military spending, according to a report released by the Times on Tuesday.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are expected to outline the proposal in a November summit, which will lead to British and French flagships working together and protecting the interests of both countries.

    The arrangement, expected to come into force soon after the announcement, would ensure that one of three ships – one French, two British – was always on duty patrolling the sea with each other remaining under its domestic command.

    The move would make it easier for Britain to scrap or downgrade one of the two replacement carriers which are already under construction at a cost of 5.2 billion pounds (about 7.8 billion U.S. dollars).

    British Defense Secretary Liam Fox meet his French counterpart on Friday, having repeatedly visited Paris for discussions.

    A government source said, “Liam has made it clear that we want more cooperation as we have to face up to the world we are living in. The advantage is that if we are going to have one carrier, then at least we can project our power on the sea even if we go down to a single carrier.”

    But a navy source said 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.