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Britain's defences are at risk if the war in Libya drags on for another three months, the head of the Royal Navy warned last night. First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope said the Fleet will only be able to fight for 90 days more before it has to make serious cuts in firepower elsewhere. He said warships patrolling ‘home waters’ around the British Isles may have to be diverted to the Mediterranean to shore up Britain’s faltering war effort. In an unprecedented attack, Sir Mark also made it clear that the decision to axe the Harrier jump jet and Britain’s last aircraft carrier has undermined the war effort against Colonel Gaddafi. He said it would have been far cheaper and more effective militarily to fly from HMS Ark Royal, rather than launching air attacks from bases in Italy. Sir Mark said the loss of the combination that won the Falklands War has had a ‘corrosive’ effect on morale. Embarrassingly for ministers, Admiral Stanhope believes the Navy is almost stretched to its limit even though it has only four warships involved in the Libyan conflict. These are the destroyer HMS Liverpool, the mine clearance vessel HMS Bangor, a Trafalgar class submarine and the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean off the coast. HMS Cumberland, which played a key role evacuating scores of Britons from Libya, recently returned to Britain to be decommissioned on June 23 because of cuts to the defence budget. Read more: www.dailymail.co.uk...