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Whither Britannia: UK Navy to be Downsized to 25 Ships

The Navy is set to be reduced to the smallest size in its history after admirals yesterday offered drastic reductions in the fleet in order to save two new aircraft carriers from defence cuts.

Under the plans, the number of warships would be cut by almost half to just 25, with frigates, destroyers, submarines, minesweepers and all amphibious craft scrapped.

Even if built, the new carriers could sail without any British aircraft to fly from them after admirals “mortgaged everything” to persuade ministers not to abandon the £5.2 billion programme. The ships could also be delayed for years and redesigned to save money, defence sources have disclosed.

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