So the Con-Dem govt is looking to put an axe to defence budget but the contract with BAe Systems that the last govt signed means that is actually cheaper to build both carriers than cancel both or one. However to save money, they have decided to scrap the Harriers immediately which are the only "fast" jet that can currently fly off the things. And it looks unlikely that the F35B will be ordered as it is very expensive, lacks performance and the in-service date gets being pushed back.
Only one will be usable
Fortunately the Americans have a new electromagnetic catapult design which is suitable for this ships and allows them to use normal carrier aircraft such as the US F/A-18 and French Rafale-N. However the first carrier, the Queen Elizabeth, will be built without this as it requires a redesign and it's too late in the build process, and will come into service in 2016 only able to carry helicopters. The Prince Of Wales will come into service in 2019 with the catapults and the plan is to mothball the useless Queen Elizabeth or sell it.
So to recap
At a cost of £5bn, we have no worthwhile carriers to 2019 at the earliest and no planes to fly off them.
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