Royal Navy's £6.2bn aircraft carriers prove UK isn't shying away from global security role, admiral says

BRITAIN is no shrinking violet when it comes to global defence, a former head of the Royal Navy has insisted.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 5:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th December 2019, 7:34 pm

Admiral Lord Alan West has defended the UK’s military prowess amid renewed fears over a manpower crisis.

The former First Sea Lord insisted Britain still had a seat at the top table, following the commissioning of the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, this week.

Last month the carrier joined her sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, in Portsmouth for the first time.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth as she passed HMS Prince of Wales Picture: Habibur Rahman

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‘This shows Britain takes its role as a permanent member of the security council seriously,’ he said. ‘We expect to deploy forces around the world and we haven’t withdrawn into ourselves and changed as a nation.

‘Around the world, people in the Far East want us to be involved and know that we’re a force for good and a stabilising influence.’

Last month, fears were sparked the military was battling a manpower crisis, after some 15,120 troops quit in the past 12 months.

Admiral Lord Alan West, former First Sea Lord.

Despite prominent national recruitment drives to fill in the gaps left by those retiring, the full trained strength of the military has dipped 2.2 per cent, from 135,360 in October 2018 to 132,340 a year later.