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Some of Our Aircraft Are Missing?

 
Sir, [Yorkshire Post]
Michael Portillo, on the BBC’s This Week, in conversation with Andrew Neil and Alistair Darling, ref the decision to mothball Harrier aircraft for two huge, forthcoming £4bn aircraft carriers, sagely suggested, albeit with (only slight) tongue-in-cheek, that, given that such ships in the modern theatre of war are now vulnerable white elephants open to missile attack, it would be better to launch/lose aircraft carriers without aircraft on them, than with.

I wonder if your readers, like me, were left wondering what naval experts or indeed linguists might call an aircraft carrier which doesn't carry aircraft?

In Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, an alfalfa farmer is encouraged, for a tidy subsidy by the US Govt, NOT to grow alfalfa. In the clever satire, he becomes far more successful at NOT growing such compared to whenever he did grow the crop, and leaps from his bed each day with the excited prospect of not growing alfalfa. He is able to happily retire, for years having not grown alfalfa.

In the spirit of Heller, perhaps youngsters in the future might be able to look forward to telling their grandchildren that they were the captains of Not-Aircraft-Carriers, or whatever such nonce things might be named, in the defence of this dwindling realm? Perhaps Airfix might even put one into production - or not as the case may be?

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