Navy may buy French jets for new aircraft carrier

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THE Royal Navy may have to buy French fighter jets for Britain’s new aircraft carriers amid growing doubts over the Joint Strike Fighter project (JSF), it has been reported.

Admiral Sir Trevor Soar has said there is ‘mounting concern’ in the MoD about escalating costs and delays to the US-built JSF programme.

In a speech he made to the ADS Maritime Interest Group, which was reported by The Times, Admiral Soar warned that £300bn US defence spending cuts could jeopardise the JSF deal.

He was quoted as saying Britain might do better to invest in an ‘interim aircraft capability’ and named two cheaper alternatives – the American-built F18 Super Hornet or the French Dassault Rafale jet.

The carrier is due to be ready in 2019 but Britain might not acquire the 138 JSF jets until a decade later, Admiral Soar said.

Britain has already spent almost £2bn on the JSF project.

The MoD declined to comment on the report.