The Ministry of Defence have rejected claims made by various news outlets carrying stories about a report from Chatham House, arguing manning levels have been cut to the point that Britain risks not being able to crew the new supercarriers that are currently being fitted out and assembled.
The Royal Navy is planning to recruit up to 1,000 personnel from countries including the US, Canada and Australia to fill gaps in critical specialist engineering jobs in the next decade.
Each carrier will have a total crew of 679, increasing to the full complement of 1,600 when the air elements are embarked.
The MoD said in a statement:
“In making investment choices, the MOD takes account of all the requirements that come together to deliver military capability. These include training, infrastructure, logistics and of course people.The manpower requirement of these new capabilities is fully understood. We would not buy equipment if we did not plan to have the people to operate it. We are currently carrying out a strategic defence and security review which will consider all aspects of the capabilities that we need now and in the future.”
Britain has currently committed to spend 2% of its national income on defence, raising the Ministry of Defence’s budget by 0.5% every year until 2020.