THE Royal Navy must operate both of its new aircraft carriers to preserve relations with the US and NATO, an American think-tank has warned.
A report published by the influential Atlantic Council urges the government to put both of the Portsmouth-based warships into service in 2020.
The current plan, outlined in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, is to mothball the first carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth when the second ship HMS Prince of Wales enters service in 2020.
But last week’s decision to buy jump jet F-35B jets for the navy paves the way for a U-turn on that decision in 2015.
The ‘Anchoring the alliance’ report by R Nicholas Burns, a former US ambassador to the UK, calls on Britain to either operate both of the 65,000-tonne carriers or allow NATO or the US Navy to use one.