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Britain to make major changes in Royal Navy's surface fleet

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HMS Illustrious (left) will be withdrawn from service in 2014 and HMS Ocean will be retained to provide the landing platform helicopter capability for the longer term. Photo: Crown Copyright/MOD.

LONDON (BNS): The UK Ministry of Defence (UK MoD) will make changes to the Royal Navy's surface fleet, which includes the withdrawal from service of HMS Illustrious and the four remaining Type 22 frigates, announced Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

In a written ministerial statement to parliament Wednesday, Liam Fox said that HMS Illustrious will be withdrawn from service in 2014 and HMS Ocean will be retained to provide the landing platform helicopter capability for the longer term, as reported in a news release by the UK MoD.

Four frigates will also be withdrawn from service. These are the remaining Type 22s: HMS Chatham, Campbeltown, Cumberland and Cornwall.

Chatham will be withdrawn from service at the end of January 2011, Campbeltown and Cumberland will follow on 1 April, and Cornwall at the end of April.

HMS Ark Royal will be finally withdrawn from service at the end of this year.

The Bay Class amphibious support ship will be withdrawn from service in April 2011. The Auxiliary Oiler RFA Bayleaf and the Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessel RFA Fort George will also be withdrawn from service in April next year.

The government unveiled the plans in October as part of a sweeping defence review which also included proposals to scrap 17,000 service personnel from the army, navy and air force by 2015, according to media reports.

The Ministry of Defence is facing cuts to its budget of eight percent over the next five years.

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