October 19, 2010, 4:00 PM — Don't complain about your project getting cut; the British have to finish building two aircraft carriers despite having no attack jets to base on them once they become operational five years from now. Facing a 38-billion-pound shortfall in the defense budget created by the previous government, current British officials decided to retire its one existing carrier, and cut off funding for operation of Harrier Jump Jets altogether, and tried to stop construction of the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, due to go into service in 2016 and 2019, respectively.
The British Navy tried to lease some American F-18 fighters, and is still participating in development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is being developed in the U.S. and is scheduled to be available in 2020. Until then the U.K. will have no combat jets capable of landing on a carrier.
The HMS Queen Elizabeth will be used primarily for humanitarian missions from 2016 until the Prince of Wales is completed in 2019, and will then be put into mothballs, along with the HMS Ark Royal, the country's only other operational aircraft carrier, which has just been retired to save costs. It is possible the Queen Elizabeth will be sold, rather than mothballed, when the Prince of Wales comes into service.
Together the two ships, which have been under development for a decade, are estimated to cost between 5 billion and 6 billion pounds.
This is why we get sign-off from the CFO before project launch, people!