LONDON, July 25 (Xinhua) -- British Defence Secretary
Des Browne announced on Wednesday that Britain will build two new aircraft
carriers for the Royal Navy in the next decade.
Making the announcement in the House of Commons,
Browne said the new carriers would "provide our front-line forces with the
modern, world class capabilities they will need over the coming decades."
"The carriers represent a step-change in our
capabilities, enabling us to deliver increased strategic effect and influence
around the world at a time and place of our choosing," he said.
The two aircraft carriers, at the cost of 3.9 billion
pounds (8billion U.S. dollars), will be named HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince
of Wales, the defence ministry said.
They will weigh 65,000 tons each, nearly three times
the size of the carriers now in the Royal fleet, the ministry said.
The ships are due to enter service in 2014 and 2016,
and all of the major work will be done in British shipyards, it said.
The new carriers, designed for at least 40 years of
service, will replace three carriers: HMS Invincible, launched in 1977, HMS
Illustrious (1978), and HMS Ark Royal (1981).
Browne said the work would support and create 10,000
jobs across the country, including those at the yards in Clyde, Rosyth,
Portsmouth and Barrow.