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Britain's navy is no longer equipped to fight a major war because of years of underfunding and cutbacks, a newspaper said Sunday, quoting what it described as a leaked Ministry of Defense report.
The Sunday Telegraph said the navy would have to struggle even to repeat its role in the Iraq war and is "far more vulnerable to unexpected shocks" because of its "under-resourced" fleet of "aging and operationally defective ships."
The paper said the report was ordered by Defense Secretary Des Browne and concludes: "The current material state of the fleet is not good; the Royal Navy would be challenged to mount a medium-scale operation in accordance with current policy against a technologically capable adversary."
Asked about the report on Saturday night, the Ministry of Defense said it always declines to comment about "leaked documents."
But it said it issued a statement saying: "The government values the Royal Navy greatly," has invested billions of pounds (dollars/euros) in new ships and submarines, and ordered two new aircraft carriers "which will be state of the art technology and allow us to project force around the globe."
The ministry said the new ships will be far more capable than their predecessors.
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