The Save the RAF at any Cost Review (SRCR) overseen by the Boy Wonder and his hapless Defence Secretary Lame Fox has encountered reality, and - guess what? - reality has won.
The (imbecile on its face) decision to proceed with aircraftless carriers while destroying the capability to operate from them by axing existing carriers and all Harriers, was based on false RAF allegations that the Tornado could provide air cover for the fleet world-wide and that it must be kept in service to provide ground support in Afghanistan.
In fact the ONLY thing Tornado can do that Harrier cannot is to carry and launch the Storm Shadow cruise missile - which is the reason the missile was developed in the first place. Operations against Colonel Daffy in Libya have starkly contrasted the prompt and accurate response of Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from warships and the delayed and inaccurate performance of Storm Shadow.
Storm Shadow costs about £1.1 million a pop, to which one must add the per hour operating cost of £33,000 per Tornado carrying two of them plus the operating cost of air-to-air refueling tankers, and we're looking at about £1.5 million per missile fired.
Tomahawks cost £305,000 per, and the nuclear subs that launch it add no additional costs since operating expenses are the same whether they are on patrol or not. The Tomahawk also has a longer range, which leaves Tornado quivering on the very thin ice of close air support for ground troops, a task that even the RAF cannot argue would not be better performed by Harriers.
There is a certain grim satisfaction in recalling the fate of the 1981 Nott defence review based on much the same false RAF claims and abandoned after the Falklands War demonstrated the indispensable capability afforded by Harrier-equipped aircraft carriers.
Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.