The need to save money on the Royal Navy led to a decision to bring forward the decommissioning of the remaining aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal by four years to make it immediate. Another vessel, HMS Ocean carries helicopters and can ferry and, if necessary, launch and land the Harrier VSTOL jets. However, the review includes the scrapping of these fixed wing aircraft to concentrate on two other aircraft types.
The Labour government had ordered two new aircraft carriers - it must be said in order to maintain jobs and their popularity in traditional Labour voting areas. The contract they signed meant that it would be more expensive to cancel the purchase than to go ahead and build them. (Note that the first of these Queen Elizabeth class carriers was originally due to enter service in 2014 as Ark Royal was scrapped but this had already slipped by two years.)
Since the introduction of the Harrier, British carriers have used a VSTOL technique to launch and land the aircraft. The ships have a distinctive "ski jump" take off system and shorter short landing decks to reduce the overall size. These techniques dispense with the catapult launch and restraining wire or arrestor landing (CATOBAR) equipment used on US and other carriers. It does however mean that a more expensive and less versatile variant of the new Lightning aircraft would be needed whereas the US and French navies intend using the cheaper and more versatile carrier variant.
One of the features of the overall review is the realization (admission) that it is highly unlikely that the UK will be involved alone in an armed conflict. Much more emphasis is being put on mutual co-operation within Nato and the EU, especially with the USA and France. The ideal therefore is that all three nation's assets could be interoperable however whereas the STOVL variant of the planes to be brought by the British could land on US or French carriers, the reverse would not be the case. The UK will now adopt the carrier variant of the aircraft and install the CATOBAR system on the second of the carriers, HMS Prince of Wales. The irony will be that for a couple of years it will be available for French and American planes to use but not British ones. The first of the carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth will be used as a helicopter carrier and then more or less mothballed.
With the extreme unlikelihood that Soviet tanks will roll across the north German plains, the British Army on the Rhine - ie the Cold War relic - will be withdrawn and the troops stationed there brought back to the UK. This also signals the end of the need for the numbers of battle tanks envisaged, with more emphasis place on the sort of armored troop carriers the UK currently lacks in Afghanistan.
The review also has some ideas which US defense policy makers could well take on board. The greatest threats are not seen as an overt conventional attack by another nation (although a nuclear deterrent is still in the mix) Much more likely and immediate threats are seen to be terrorist attacks - from either "Al Qaeda" or dissident Irish Republicans - and cyber attacks on economic or strategic targets like power grids. You may recall two such attacks are known to have taken place - a Russian one on the banking system in Estonia and an Israel attack on the Iranian nuclear industry computing system.
To counter these, more money is being put into intelligence and cyber security but more emphasis is being placed on the use of overseas development aid to stabilize failing or potentially failing countries.