Britain to spend less on military hardware

May 15, 2012 at 1:57 AM
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LONDON, May 15 (UPI) -- Cuts in British military spending needed to balance the budget mean the country may have to curtail some ambitions, the head of the armed forces said Monday.

Gen. Sir David Richards, the chief of the defense staff, stood with Defense Secretary Philip Hammond as he announced the cuts, The Independent reported. Hammond said giving up on some planned spending, including unmanned drones, a third new aircraft carrier and six of 12 new destroyers, would allow the department to fill a $60 billion shortfall in its budget in a decade.

The Ministry of Defense also plans to cut the number of soldiers from 102,000 to 82,000 and to reduce the size of the Royal Air Force from 44,000 to 39,000.

Richards said the cutbacks will have an effect.

"It could be that some of the methods that we'd rather hoped or aspired to do in the future are no longer obtainable," Richards said.

Hammond said there had been a "woeful" lack of control in spending in the past and blamed the previous Labor government for digging a "black hole" under the military, the Mirror reported. Richards was more diplomatic, suggesting that politicians, officials and the military had "worked in a spirit of optimism rather than realism."

"We were all guilty to a degree," he added.

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