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Fewer jets, one carrier seen in UK defense review


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The Ministry of Defense (MoD) source said fewer new Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) would be ordered and a 10.5 billion pound ($16.4 billion) deal for air tankers was under scrutiny, part of measures to cut Britain's record budget deficit and restructure the military under a strategic review.

The defense budget, worth 36.9 billion pounds this year, is almost certain to escape the worst-case scenario of cuts of up to 20 percent in the next four years, two defense sources said. One said the MoD was planning for a 10 percent spending squeeze.

However, the MoD source said Britain had assured Washington that Trident, the UK's submarine-based nuclear missile system, would be renewed, which will cost up to 20 billion pounds.

Britain had initially ordered 138 JSF aircraft, built by U.S. manufacturer Lockheed Martin (LMT.N), and media reports have speculated that figure could be halved.

"They will be less than currently planned," the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity, without giving a revised figure for the order.
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