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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Cuts damage UK's military capability, former defence chiefs warn

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Feb 25, IRNA -- Defence cuts, announced by the government, undermines the UK’s Navy ability to protect the Army or Royal Marines on amphibious operations, former military chiefs have warned Prime Minister David Cameron.

In a private letter to Cameron, ten retired Army and Navy chiefs call for an urgent re-think of last October's defence review, which they say has serious flaws.

In particular, the letter leaked the Daily Telegraph warns that the scrapping of Britain’s only aircraft carrier, the Ark Royal, and its fleet of Harrier jets have 'profound consequences' that 'strike at the heart of our Defence structure'.

Last month, six former defence chiefs warned that the government’s decision to destroy nine new MRA4 Nimrod surveillance aircraft to save money is “perverse” and could cause serious long-term damage to the country’s interests.

The latest warning from a former head of the Armed Forces, as well as six retired admirals and three generals, is that amphibious operations can no longer be attempted against 'even a lightly armed aggressor' without 'considerable risk' to the safety of soldiers,

The cuts, which saw 7.5 per cent slashed from the annual £37 billion defence budget, were ordered as part of a series of measures by government to address the country’s record deficit.

Adding his voice to the concern, shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said on Thursday that the defence review already looked 'out of date' and that many of it had been 'shaken over the past month' following the eruption of protests across Arab countries.

The growing controversy over the scale of the cuts has been underlined in light of the chaos enveloping the Middle East and the crisis in Libya, where hundreds of Britons have been trapped for several days.

The cuts, which include a 17,000 reduction in the armed forces together with 25,000 civilian jobs at the Ministry of Defence, have previously criticised as Britain will be no longer able to mount the kind of military operations conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to analysts, it will also be impossible to deploy the kind of carrier taskforce sent to liberate the Falklands Islands in the war against Argentina in 1982.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30265189

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