Two new aircraft carriers are being built by Great Britain. They cost so much now, and with the Sea Harriers/Harriers being retired just as these new ships get launched - The Royal Navy is looking into maybe leasing its Navy planes from the United States.
Another option is that the US Marines will be invited to operate from the British ships in joint operations.
Quoting the article, A senior military source said: 'The U.S. Marines have the aircraft. Their aircraft would fly from the British carriers. Or we could borrow some from them.
'The Treasury are happy to pay for the carriers but there's an issue over the cost of the aircraft.' end quote.
British Defence Secretary Liam Fox has decided to give up Great Britian's ability to "go it alone." Major capabilities that let Britain fight wars alone, and rely on American support in future conflicts instead. For example, rely on US AWACS instead of a home grown aerial surveillance (i.e. Nimrod class aircraft).
Added to that, Chancellor George Osborne has asked the British Ministry of Defense to find budget savings of 10-20 percent in the future. That means downgraded aircraft/helicopters.
As for the Harriers, this bit comes at the end of the article: The last Sea Harriers operated by the Fleet Air Arm were withdrawn from service in 2006, leaving Navy and RAF pilots using the GR9 ground attack variant of the aircraft.
There are 45 Harriers left, but the jet is due to go out of service by 2018 to be replaced by a variant of the U.S.-made Joint Strike Fighter. end quote.
1. Daily Mail. August 25, 2010. "Britain forced to borrow U.S. jets to fly from our NEW aircraft carriers as cutbacks bite" by Tim Shipman (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1305880/UK-borrow-US-jets-fly-NEW-aircraft-carriers-cutbacks-bite.html).
2. image from Daily Mail (May 20, 2008).