UK to buy more F-35 jets, boost anti-terror budget: Osborne

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 22, 2015 5:58 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain plans to increase the number of fighter jets it can launch from aircraft carriers and boost anti-terrorism spending, finance minister George Osborne said on Sunday.

The government is due to set out a new five-year defense strategy on Monday and a broader budget plan on Wednesday.

"We are going to step up the aircraft carrier punch of the United Kingdom. We are going to make sure that when these aircraft carriers are available they are going to have planes that can fly from them in force," Osborne told BBC television.

"By 2023, we will be able to have 24 of these jets, some of the most powerful in the world, the F-35, on the decks of these carriers."

Osborne denied his overall focus on cutting public spending might hurt Britain's attempts to prevent attacks like the ones seen in Paris earlier this month, saying spending on anti-terrorism defenses would be increased by almost a third.

"We will make sure that Britain is properly defended against the terrorist threat," he said. "Precisely because we are making difficult decisions in other parts of our budget, we can give our military more kit, we can increase our counter-terrorism budget by 30 percent."

(Writing by William Schomberg, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)