Admiral warns the world ‘not to underestimate’ HMS Queen Elizabeth

Former First Sea Lord Sir Jonathon Band
Former First Sea Lord Sir Jonathon Band
From left, Jacob Kennard, Gavin Moon, Ian Doyle and Sarah Talboys-Smith with Shanon Rees and Rodney Watson at the front
 at the Southsea Village in Palmerston Road Picture: Habibur Rahman

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AN ADMIRAL has warned the world not to ‘underestimate’ Britain’s two new aircraft carriers as he defended their £6.2bn price tag.

Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, the former head of the navy, said the Queen Elizabeth class of supercarriers signalled the UK was a ‘serious player’ in maritime defence.

He admitted that costs of the project had spiked due to demands of the defence budget during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But Sir Jonathon said: ‘You’re not a serious maritime player in the world unless you have aircraft carriers. Every serious navy has an aircraft carrier.

‘Some of them have them frankly as a little more than tokens. But when you have them this scale, this means business.

‘They is a very visible demonstration that Britain is into worldwide naval business. This is serious, don’t underestimate Britain.’

His comments come days after the 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived at her new home of Portsmouth.

When asked if the £6.2bn pricetag of the carriers was justifiable, Sir Jonathan said: ‘It absolutely is on the assumption that you want to be a serious defence player in the world.

‘It’s my football analogy: If you want to be in that top six, you have got to have Suarez, whether you spend £200m on Neymar I’m not sure I’d do that because that’s silly money. But you’re not down at Fratton Park, you’re further up the scale than that.’