Officials will argue that converting the carrier into a pared-down floating platform to ferry helicopters, troops and vehicles would save £1bn in construction costs, according to senior defence sources. Not buying the 69 Joint Strike Fighters as intended would save about £7bn. MoD officials and Navy top brass will also argue that the second carrier could be kept in port most of the time to save hundreds of millions in running costs.
So we should spend £1.5 billion on bulding an aircraft carrier without any aircraft which spends most of its time in port. I can see the attraction in the idea but it's not going to fly, is it?