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‘Hallowed out’: UK left red-faced after faulty warship pulls out of historic NATO drill

Britain’s flagship £3.5bn aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth pulled off major NATO drill due to mechanical fault (file photo)

A faulty British Navy flagship has pulled out of NATO military drills at the last minute due to a mechanical fault, as lawmakers warn the UK’s "hollowed out army is unfit for war."

British media reports said on Sunday that the UK’s £3.5 billion HMS Queen Elizabeth was stopped from taking part in a major NATO operation due to a mechanical fault.

The vessel broke down as it was heading to carry out exercises with the US Navy, Royal Canadian Navy and the US Marine Corps.

The Royal Navy is now sending the recently repaired HMS Prince of Wales to join up with other states’ vessels for a drill in Middle Eastern waters.

The departure of the aircraft carrier to lead the largest NATO exercise since the Cold War was canceled after an “issue” with a propeller shaft was spotted during final checks.

Announcing the latest problem, the Royal Navy posted on X: “Routine pre-sailing checks yesterday identified an issue with a coupling on HMS Queen Elizabeth starboard propeller shaft. As such, the ship will not sail on Sunday.

“HMS Prince of Wales will take her place on NATO duties and will set sail for exercise Steadfast Defender as soon as possible.”


UK’s ‘hollowed out army unfit for war’

The setback came as ministers were warned Britain is not sufficiently prepared to fight an all-out war due to stockpile shortages and an armed forces recruitment crisis

The House of Commons defense committee said the military is “consistently overstretched”, with the “unrelenting pressure” on personnel exacerbating the crisis in recruitment and retention which is seeing more people leaving the armed forces than joining.

The cross-party group of MPs said the UK’s military has been “hollowed out”, leaving Britain unprepared for war at a time of worsening global instability.

Readiness “is essential to effective deterrence to our adversaries” at a time of heightened geopolitical instability, they said.

The latest developments could affect the ability of the Royal Navy to deploy an anti-Yemen aircraft carrier to the Red Sea.

Yemeni armed forces have vowed a response to the US and British airstrikes on the country, saying it will continue to target Israeli-linked ships in solidarity with the Palestinians.

The latest round of American and British airstrikes on Yemen has drawn strong condemnations in the region.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani noted that the attacks aim to give Israel some breathing space amid its war crimes against Palestinians. Kan’ani added that the international community has a responsibility to hold the US and the UK to account.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, warned that the attacks would plunge the region into further turmoil. And the Islamic Jihad movement holds the US responsible for the repercussions of its attacks on Yemen.


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