British Consider Larger Carrier
As predicted in these pages, the report of the British Defense Review, issued in mid-July, reoriented British policy from its former European emphasis to one on power projection abroad. The paper thus called for the construction of a class of new aircraft carriers, substantially larger than the current Invincible class. Larger carriers would demand many more aircraft. That in turn might well lengthen the production runs of British naval aircraft, to the point where Royal Navy orders ultimately might be comparable to those for the Royal Air Force. In that case the Royal Navy would gain extremely important political leverage, because the economic impact of its high-technology programs would be at least as great as that of the RAF's. At present, with few carrier aircraft, the disparity is enormous. Thus it was possible for the British government to see the Eurofighter, which the RAF badly wants, not as the white elephant it is, but as the key to a viable European aerospace industry. If the Royal Navy held a comparable key, the situation might be quite different—not to mention far less harmful to the British taxpayer.