Subjected to unprecedented austerity, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has had to undertake a Strategic Review (SDSR) in 2010 to compensate for cuts in its budget. The Review involved a reduction in the size of the Royal Navy and was a major turning point: fewer sailors, downgrading of equipment programs, and mainly early
withdrawal of ships, including the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. From March 11th 2011, the British Navy saw itself thus deprived of its fleet air arm, until the entry in service of the new aircraft carrier scheduled for 2020. Ironically, since then, the Royal Navy has been tapped more than ever. A week later, on March 19, the intervention
began in Libya, involving the sending of sixteen British ships to participate in the NATO Unified Protector international operation. With no aircraft carrier to establish a no-fly zone over Libya, the British honourably waged air action from forward bases in the Mediterranean, but this recalled the bitterness of a Royal Navy left without the
means of its ambitions by the SDSR.